Family Dollar Stores: What to look for and what to avoid

The good and the bad

More and more people are turning to the Dollar Stores to save some cash. I admit, I make several stops a month there myself! There are some things you should keep in mind before making purchases at any of these stores.

There are some Steals and Deals to be had, but there are also things that could affect your health, and your overall budget. I do not rely on rumors, as there are many that come across concerning the Dollar type stores. I check Snopes and do other research as well.

This guide is to help steer you toward the truly thrifty and economical, and away from the bad buys

Realize where you are

I don't think many people go into the Dollar Stores expecting to find high end items. What people may not realize, however, is that it is not the same as shopping in the "dollar isle" of your local market. Grocery Stores are held to standards for food and products that the Dollar Stores are not. That is the most important thing to keep in mind when shopping.

Name Brand food and sundries; You're safe here. "All Detergent" is the same no matter where you buy it. If it carries the name brand you trust, buy it!

Tips on the "off Brands":

  • Some things, like bleach, are the same whether they carry a name brand or not. They have the same ingredient.
  • Toothpaste "name brand" or not may not be safe! Dollar stores often buy their products from Countries that do not have U.S. standards. For example, many of the off brand toothpastes do not have enough floride, and in some cases, too much!
  • Clothes, in general, will wear much faster. Do not expect these clothes to last any length of time.
  • Diapers: Just like in a store, there are good and bad. Try a Dollar Store brand once, and if it works for you, stay with it!
  • Shoes: Actually a good buy for younger kids who go through shoes quickly and are growing anyway. When my kids were younger, I got their summer shoes here.
  • Paper goods: Paper plates serve their purpose. Paper products are generally a good deal at the dollar stores.
  • Food: Buyer beware! Be sure to check the dates on the foods at the discount stores. For some things, like pastas, it doesn't matter, but for the canned meat, look carefully! Mixed review on the food products at the Dollar Stores
  • Cleaning Products: This one may surprise you, but I have found GOLD at the Dollar Stores with cleaning products! One product in particular is called "Mean Green". This product is amazing! I have used it to clean greasy stoves, floors, walls, and even carpet stains! I don't even bother with expensive cleaning solutions anymore
  • Dinnerware: You can find some cute plates and cups at the Dollar Stores. As long as you aren't expecting fine china, it's a steal!

Back to School

While most every store has their "back to school" sale, the Dollar Stores have the best deals for year-round buying. You'll want to hit the big sales at the major stores before school starts. Buying mid-school year, however, nets bigger savings at the dollar stores. This time of year is big, for all retailers and they will be trying to get your business.

Best advice: Check around. Shop the sales, AND check the dollar stores

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Comments 7 comments

cvaughn570 8 years ago

This is wonderful advice. One thing that I have noticed at dollar stores is that they have many items that I can buy cheaper somewhere else. Your "Best Advice" is right on!

Carol :-)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

Great Idea for a hub! " You get what you pay for" is often true, but there are some bargains to be had. Another thing for small kids, it can sometimes be a treat to let them make some shopping decisions with their 'own' money . . .while teaching lessons about quality and value.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

Gift wrap, gift bags, bows, ribbon etc. is a steal at the dollar stores. Thanks for the tips on what to avoid. Great hub.


annemaeve profile image

annemaeve 8 years ago from Philly Burbs

Great hub, Veronica! I love the dollar store for gifts for my volunteer force of 50-60 people.  It's a great way to get something useful and thoughtful for a mass of people without breaking the bank!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Smart advice! A couple of years ago I needed to stock my temporary place at the beach with odds and ends that didn't come with the property...a couple of large bowls, some kitchen utensils, placemats, broom and floor mop, clothes pins, a laundry basket, those kinds of things. I did it neatly for a few dollars, and when I headed for home after three months, I left the goods behind and the owner was delighted.


DarleneMarie profile image

DarleneMarie 8 years ago from USA

Great information and advice as usual!


MatthewTRose88 5 years ago

Good Good advice I know I stop there when I don't feel like going to walmart or any other place that is busy around dinner time. It is convenient, and basically the quick stop of the super center industry ( walmart, kmart, Hy-vee etc. )

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