About Dollar StoresThe five largest dollar stores are Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Fred's Super Dollar and 99 Cents Only. All are franchises and most of the items sold are wholesale remnants. Because the inventory is mainly made up of remnants, shoppers will see items they would not expect to find at a dollar store.
What about Quality?Many products are the same products you will find at other stores. Even cleaning products can be trendy and when the trend is over and there are still products left to distribute, companies negotiate prices with the dollar stores. An example would be the orange-scented cleaners which were popular three years ago. The trend died out, the dollar stores bought the inventory, and the savings were passed on to shoppers.
What are the Best Buys at Dollar Stores?
- Cleaning Products
Most dollar stores carry brand-name and off-brand cleaning products. Brand-name products are usually priced about 60 - 70 percent less than supermarket prices. The ingredients in most off-brands are the same as what is in the brand- name, but just slightly more diluted. Consumers may notice the scent not lasting as long or liquid products seem a bit runnier, but for basic cleaning, off-brand, even if diluted, will do the job.
Dollar stores carry a huge assortment of snacks, many that are the same as what you find at your local grocery store. Seasonal candy is always stocked, such as Halloween candy and holiday peppermints. Potato chips and crackers are generally priced about 50 percent less than supermarkets and candy runs about 35 to 50 percent less.
Movie-theater candy is often on 2-for promotions (example 2 for $1.00), so before you go to your next movie, stop by the dollar store and stock up. You'll save bundles.
- Bath and Beauty
The biggest savings you will find in bath and beauty is on shampoo. According to Consumer Reports, spending money on expensive shampoos does not improve hair any better than cheap store-brand shampoos. The only noticeable difference is in how the more expensive shampoos smell richer than cheap brands.
A good way to save money is by buying the less expensive shampoos and spend money on a good conditioner. Conditioners vary more in ingredients and the difference of using salon conditioners versus the dollar store conditioners is noticeable on hair.
- Bath Products
If your children enjoy taking bubble baths, the dollar store brands will do the trick and the savings is substantial. This can also be a good area to go gift shopping for preteens who like to pamper themselves with scented soaps, bath oils, bath sponges and body powders.
- Gift Wrap
Shoppers can expect to find a large assortment of gift bags, wrap, ribbons, bows and packaging at a fraction of the cost. The quality is as good as what can be found at Wal-Mart.
- Scrapbooking Supplies
Scrapbooking made a comeback a few years back and many who enjoy the hobby can spend a bunch on the supplies. The dollar stores offer scrapbooking packages, binders, stickers and paper assortment at a cost that is substantially less than you will find at some of the more popular arts and crafts stores.
Dollar stores carry a large assortment of containers from plastic bins, fabric-lined baskets, food storage and glass jars and bottles for up to 70 percent less than other stores.
A favorite around the holiday seasons are the glass containers which can be hand painted, or decorated with a pretty bow then filled with candies, pastas, homemade cookies, or any other gift item which fits in a jar. The containers usually sell for $1.00 or less on 2-for sales, depending on the size.
- Kitchen Gadgets and Tools
Stocking your kitchen with handy tools and gadgets can be expensive, but the dollar store has many handy products at a fraction of the cost. Big spoons, everyday serving utensils, spatulas, timers, eggcups, measuring cups and spoons, egg slicers, graters in all sizes and can openers are just some of the inexpensive gadgets and kitchen tools you can pick up for next to nothing at the dollar stores.
- Children's Books
Shoppers can find a large assortment of children's books including big books, coloring and picture books, and books for different reading levels for $1.00.
- School Supplies
The dollar stores stock up on school supplies and offer all the paper, pencils, binders, textbook covers and organizers anyone needs to get their children well stocked for school.