We all know that shopping at dollar stores can save us tons of money. It can be unbelievable at some of the things that are sold for a dollar or two at a dollar store and sell for triple that at another store. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that while everything may be low in price at a dollar store, some things may also be low in quality.
I can remember buying a roll of wrapping paper from the dollar store, excited that I would not have to spend the extra three dollars buying it from a drug or department store. The roll lasted me about three minutes before it ran out, leaving me feeling less than savvy about my purchase.
According to Donna L. Montaldo, a journalist who combines her past experience in the retail industry with her experience and passion for using coupons and finding bargains, many of the items you find at a dollar store at marked up to 70% less than the prices seen in drug stores and supermarkets. There are certain items that are better buys, than others, she explains. For instance, cleaning products, snacks, containers, and bath and body products. In fact, Consumer Reports research has shown that using more expensive shampoos does not improve the condition of hair.
Melinda Fulmer, a freelance writer from Los Angeles, also did a report on the dollar store topic for MSN. While she does not recommend buying fresh fruit and veggies from a dollar store, spices can be a great bargain compared to supermarket brands, saving you more than $5. Furthermore, kitchen utensils such as are also a great buy from the dollar store.
There are certain things, however, that should be avoided when shopping at the dollar store. According to a study done by Consumer Reports, half of the dollar-store brands it looked at contained less of the vitamins that the labels promised and actually did not dissolve properly when being digested. Moreover, toothpaste from the dollar store is not only an unwise purchase, but also potentially bad for your health. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration notified consumers that toothpastes found in dollar stores carried a poisonous chemical that is found in antifreeze known as diethylene glycol. While recalls were issued, some of the products could potentially still be on shelves and it is best to steer clear.
Batteries are another item that is not worth it to buy at the dollar store, says Fulmer. Because most of batteries sold at the dollar store are made from carbon-zinc they actually drain more quickly. In the long run, you will actually end up spending more than if you bought the batteries from a drug store or supermarket. Electrical products may also not be the wisest item to purchase from the dollar store, due to the potential for these products to not be wired to handle the appropriate currents they receive. Because of possibly shoddy wiring, overheating also becomes a risk factor.
When choosing to shop at the dollar store, make sure to do a little research beforehand to learn which purchases are bargains and which are not.