Deal Diva

Are Dollar Stores a Good Deal?

by - Mary Stephenson

Dollar stores can be a great economical source for a wide variety of items including food, household items, cleaning supplies, gadgets, school supplies,wrapping paper, greeting cards, and much much more. 

Shop Smart Magazine , published by the editors of Consumer Reports, recently sent mystery shoppers into dollar stores across the country.  What they found was somewhat shocking and something you should consider before your next trip to a dollar store!

It's easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy, thinking you're getting a super bargain, so you do need to practice restraint in the store and choose carefully based on quality for the price. 

One surprising fact that may influence your buying decision, is that many dollar stores will not accept coupons or returns.  Many dollar stores also will not accept credit cards. 

The mystery shoppers at ShopSmart Magazine compared the prices and quality of  11 household products and compared those same products with items purchased elsewhere. 

Included in the pricing comparison was heavy duty aluminum foil, gift wrapping paper and supplies, and cotton rounds.  Each of these items was found to be a good value for the money, based on the price and quality of the product. 

Several items that the ShopSmart Magazine investigators tested, turned out to actually be more expensive or of a lesser quality than would be readily available at a Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens or CVS stores, particularly if you used coupons at the other stores.

Those items included tissue wrapping paper and birthday candles, which they noted were consistently cheaper at Wal-Mart.  Of course, shopping the sales at the other superstores and using your coupons could wind up lowering your prices on those items dramatically!

Another interesting discovery by dollar store investigators, was the fact that there were some expired medicines and food products being sold, including items for children.  Customers have reported incidences of expired or leaky batteries purchased at dollar stores.

Investigators also found numerous items that could be dangerous to children, including toys with small parts which could be choking hazards .  According to investigators, be especially careful of older toy items being sold, which could possess high levels of lead paint .  Customers also reported issues with lighters not turning off, and fire hazards with Tiki torches.

All in all great the dollar stores are a great place to get great bargains!  But it does pay to be selective and careful when shopping.

Get lots more money saving ideas on Mary's blog at FrugaltoRich.com

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