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3 Ways to Get the Most Savings at the Dollar Store

A wad of folded dollar bills

Image source: The Motley Fool/Upsplash

I do the bulk of my grocery and everyday shopping at Costco, my local supermarket, and Amazon. So usually, when I go to the dollar store, it’s for a specific reason, like buying last-minute school supplies or loading up on giveaways for a classroom party.

But because I’ve been shopping at the dollar store for years now, I’ve picked up some strategies for maximizing my savings. And here are a few that might benefit your budget, too.

1. Load up on greeting cards

Have you seen the price of greeting cards at a regular supermarket or big-box store lately?

Just recently, I was picking up a few items at the grocery store and thought I’d save myself a trip to the dollar store by purchasing a birthday card along with my apples and bread. When I saw that the cheapest kids’ birthday card I could find was $3.99, I walked out of that aisle and then promptly headed over to the dollar store to spend a lot less.

At my local dollar store, you can get two standard greeting cards for $1.25. Seeing as how I have a pretty consistent need for them, that saves me more than $3 per card compared to supermarket prices. So if you’re tired of spending a small fortune on birthday cards, I highly suggest loading up on dollar store offerings the next time you’re there.

2. Check food expiration dates

Some people will tell you that dollar store food purchases leave you with products that are lower in quality. I say that’s false. Not only have I often purchased dollar store food with no issue, but the brands I’ve brought home have often been ones that are staples at my regular grocery store.

However, one thing I have noticed about dollar store groceries is that the expiration dates aren’t always so far out. So I recommend that you check dates carefully before making purchases. You don’t want to buy candy on May 29 with a best-by date of June 2.

3. Bring cash to shop with

The tricky thing about the dollar store is that everything costs a dollar, or something in that vicinity. Because of that, you may not put as much thought into dollar store purchases as you would at another store. But that could easily lead you to overspend and effectively negate your savings.

If you’re nodding along because you’ve done this before, I’m done judging — I’m speaking from personal experience. That’s why I often run into the dollar store with cash and leave my credit cards at home.

Even though I’m someone who uses credit cards for just about everything, I know that those small dollar store purchases can add up when you’re not really keeping count. So if you have five items to get at the dollar store and you come in with a $10 bill only, there’s a limit as to how much extra you’ll spend.

The whole purpose of going to the dollar store is to spend less. With any luck, adopting these strategies will help you enjoy more savings in the course of your dollar store shopping.

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