I decided to conduct a personal investigation into the question “Do I save money when I shop at the ‘Dollar Store’?” I was actually surprised with some of my findings. I’ll admit that I was personally expecting to find no savings at all. In most cases, they were comparable to regular stores or slightly cheaper.
The biggest savings I found was on the generic label product. Most often, these items are much cheaper than the generic labeled items at our favorite stores. For instance, I found a 50 count of generic Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and 50 count generic Advil (Ibuprophen) for $1.00 at the dollar store and most retail stores sell these same items for about $2.00 ($1.97 and $1.74 respectively at Target).
Generic window cleaner – 33 oz. for $1.00 at the dollar store and the 32 oz. generic at Target was $1.99 and about the same elsewhere.
300 count generic Qtips for $1.00 at the dollar store and 500 generic Qtips for $2.59 at Target (and similar price at other department stores).
A big shocker for me was on the tiny bag of generic sugar – 2lbs for $1.00 at the dollar store and 4lbs at our favorite stores for $2.29 – $2.49… I would be better off buying two bags at the dollar store!
I also found a great deal on generic Equal (Aspartame) in a 50 pkt box for $1.00 and generic Sweet & Low (Saccharin) in a 100 pkt box for $1.00 which other stores can’t even come close to in price.
Next, I decided to take on the brand names. I figured I could uncover a conspiracy at the dollar store with these. After all, we’ve seen those miniaturized packages of our favorite products at the dollar store, but are they cheaper? Let’s check:
1 lb of Meow Mix is $1.00 or 3.5lbs Meow Mix for $3.79 – $3.99 elsewhere. Cheaper to buy 4 bags at the dollar store.
3.5 oz Colgate for $1.00 or 6 oz Colgate for $2.44 at Target (that’s $.29 per oz at dollar store or $.41 per oz at Target) Cheaper at the dollar store.
7.5 oz Softsoap liquid hand soap for $1.00 at the dollar store or $1.39 – $1.49 elsewhere for the exact same thing. Cheaper to buy at the dollar store.
5 pack multipak of Extra gum for $1.00 at the dollar store or 8 pack multipak elsewhere for $1.79-$1.99 (the dollar store averages 20 cents per pack and other stores average a little higher) Cheaper to buy at the dollar store.
Tiny 30 oz bottle of Purex laundry detergent for $1.00 or 100 oz bottle elsewhere for $3.29 – $3.49 To my surprise, it’s almost the same (3.3 cents per oz at the dollar store to 3.3 – 3.5 cents per oz elsewhere – but sometimes slightly cheaper at the dollar store)
How about the dollar-sized boxes of Little Debbie Snack Cakes? 10 Cosmic Brownies, 10 Swiss Cake Rolls, or 9 Oatmeal Cream Pies for $1.00 and elsewhere we find 12 Cosmic Brownies, 12 Swiss Cake Rolls, or 12 Oatmeal Cream Pies for $1.25… Surprisingly cheaper by a little bit at the dollar store!
I finally gave in at the end and realized that for the most part, things are truly cheaper or sometimes comparably-priced at the dollar store. I expected to reveal that we’ve been wasting our money there but if you shop wisely, you may be better off buying multiple small containers of your favorite products at the dollar store. My recommendation: buy a small calculator (perhaps at the dollar store) and keep it with you to figure the price per ounce/pound of your favorite products and compare. Ultimately you may discover that you can save yourself hundreds of dollars per year by purchasing some of your groceries at the dollar store.