There’s a reason why three out of four women admitted to shopping at dollar stores more than they used to, according to a recent survey.
According to Consumer Reports, many everyday household items cost significantly less at a dollar store than they do at the grocery store, pharmacy or a big box store.
Dollar stores (the biggest ones include Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree) have classed themselves up in the last few years. They’ve become much cleaner, and often sell brand name products for up to 28 percent less than they go for at supermarkets.
That said, not everything at dollar stores (where 77 percent of items cost more than $1) is a deal.
Consumer Reports sent mystery shoppers to 100 dollar stores across the country to check prices on 38 everyday products. They then compared those prices with Target, Walmart and some supermarkets.
Here’s what they learned:
Buy aluminum foil at the dollar store.
Dollar stores sell foil for 3 cents per square foot, compared to 8 cents per square foot at one grocery store.
Buy wrapping paper and gift bags at the dollar store.
Spend your money on the gift, not what it comes in. At dollar stores, gift-wrap costs 2 cents per square foot. At one grocery store, it costs 17 cents per square foot. The second best deal on wrapping paper can be found at Target, which sells pretty packaging for 5 to 17 cents per square foot.
Buy cotton balls at the dollar store.
No need to ball up toilet paper to remove your makeup and nail polish. You can buy the real deal at dollar stores for one cent per pad.
Save on tons of private label dollar store goods
Think you save a lot on Target and Walmart’s private label food and cleaning supplies? You’ll save even more on the dollar store brands of breakfast foods, cleaners, and juices. At Target, the Up and Up brand can save you up to 15 percent compared to national brands. But dollar store brands will save you up to 29 percent.
Don’t buy coffee or Tide at the dollar store.
Consumer Reports discovered Maxwell House coffee cost $1.17 more at one dollar store than it did at Walmart. Tide cost $2.34 more.
Don’t buy off-brand vitamins or electrical supplies at the dollar store.
While Consumer Reports found that these items cost less at the dollar store, they had concerns about their safety and effectiveness.
Finally, pay attention to packaging size.
Not everything at the dollar store is cheaper. One trick stores use is to sell popular items in smaller packages than you may find elsewhere. This keeps the price down, but you may not realize you’re getting less product than you realize.
At my local Family Dollar, I buy Pampers Diapers for $3.10 less than they go for at Target. What deals have you scored at the dollar store?