5 On Your Side

Do you get your money's worth at dollar stores?

Posted November 17, 2021 4:06 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2021 6:37 p.m. EST

— Dollar stores are taking over – with more of them than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.

In fact, Dollar General says about 75% of us live within 5 miles of one of their stores. By comparison, only about 60% of us live that close to a hospital.

More stores are on the way: Consumer Reports says it's expecting 4 out of every 10 store openings this year will be dollar stores.

Statistics show that 88% of people shop at dollar stores, with the most common reason being the price and convenience.

Are the deals as real as we think?

Consumer Reports says yes – with a caveat.

Comparing entire orders between nearby grocery store and dollar stores, CR says dollar stores were less expensive.

But shoppers know one common issue: options are limited.

Because of that, CR says don’t bother with a list; instead have a strategy and be flexible.

“Not many dollar stores carry fresh fruit and vegetables – but they often stock frozen versions of each, which can be as nutritious,” said Brian Vines with Consumer Reports.

With over-the-counter medicine, skip the name-brands and opt for the generics, CR says they’re chemically identical and often much cheaper. Just be sure to always check the expiration date, no matter where you shop.

While you may be able to get a much lower price buying in bulk at big box stores, a quick run to a dollar store can usually be a good bet.

Keep in mind, however, that even dollar stores are not immune to the ongoing supply issues ramping up prices and causing shortages in supplies around the country.

Which dollar store company has the best deals?

If you're wondering how to save the most money and find the best deals, take a look at research compiled by WRAL's "Don't Waste Your Money" comparing and ranking the different dollar store companies.

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