I wouldn’t have said that a few months ago. I’d associated dollar stores with the cramped dusty ones near my house, including the one where our safety pro and I found unsafe toys and expired meds a few years back. Those stores are fun to poke around, but I never thought of them as a viable place to do much of my everyday shopping. But my opinion totally changed when I hit a Dollar General about an hour away. The store was bright and clean and organized—a real pleasure to shop. I snapped up some bubble bath, rubbing alcohol, toilet paper, cereal, laundry detergent, and a bunch of other stuff I needed—all in a lot less time than I would have spent at the supermarket. Plus, the prices seemed right. A few items were $1 and the others seemed like a good deal.
Now I’m sure I got a good deal. For our story “Dollar store deals” in the September issue, on newsstands now, we sent our secret shoppers out to price a typical grocery list of everyday items. Of the 38 items we priced, Dollar General had the lowest prices on five, and both Dollar General and Family Dollar were a close second on many others. The best deals of all? Dollar stores’ store brands. We saved as much as 38 percent over national brands, with an average savings of 29 percent, even more than you’ll save on private-label items at Walmart and Target.
In our story, we also reported on what’s new at the dollar stores and came up with five big surprises. And we asked women what they like to buy at dollar stores and what they typically avoid, as well as how often they shopped there. What did they like to buy? Paper or plastic goods such as napkins, cups, and flatware; cleaning supplies; party supplies such as balloons, favors, and tablecloths; toiletries such as soap and toothpaste; and storage products.
Seventy-six percent said they’d shopped at a dollar store in the past year. Have you? If you haven’t, our story may just make you feel like you’re missing out!