November 21, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Stretching Your Grocery Budget: Smart Finds at the Dollar Store

Grocery Store or Dollar Store?

A sad woman grocery shoppingDrazen, Adobe Stock

In an era where grocery bills are steadily climbing, savvy shoppers are constantly seeking ways to stretch their dollars further. With the rising costs of everyday items, exploring all avenues for savings has become more crucial than ever.

Among these options, dollar stores often emerge as an unexpected gem for certain grocery items. 

However, it's essential to discern when these stores offer real value and when they might end up costing more, depending on your needs and the products in question.

Canned Goods

Weird Family Habits factsFlickr, leosaumurejr

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per can Average Price at Grocery Stores: $1.50 - $2 per can

Canned goods like beans, vegetables, and soups are typically cheaper at dollar stores. You might find similar or even identical brands as in regular grocery stores, but at a lower price.

However, pay attention to size – sometimes, the cans at dollar stores might be smaller, making the per-unit cost similar or even higher than grocery stores.


Worst Guests factsPexels

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per container Average Price at Grocery Stores: $3 - $5 per container

Spices are an excellent find at dollar stores. While the variety might be limited, basic spices like garlic powder, cinnamon, and paprika are often available at a fraction of the cost.

The quality might not match premium brands, but for everyday cooking, they are a budget-friendly option.

Cleaning Supplies

Fire Me, I Dare You factsShutterstock

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per item Average Price at Grocery Stores: $2 - $5 per item

For basic cleaning supplies like sponges, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaners, dollar stores can offer significant savings.

While they may not carry the big-name brands, the quality for everyday cleaning is generally comparable.

Snacks and Candy

False Accusations factsShutterstock

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per package Average Price at Grocery Stores: $1.50 - $4 per package

Snacks and candy are often cheaper at dollar stores, but the catch is in the quantity. The packages might be smaller than those at grocery stores, so it’s important to check if you’re really getting a better deal per ounce or gram.

Greeting Cards and Gift Wraps

Toxic familyPexels

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per item Average Price at Grocery Stores: $3 - $5 per item

Greeting cards and gift wraps are undeniably cheaper at dollar stores and the quality is often comparable to what you would find in a grocery or specialty store.

This is an area where dollar stores truly shine in terms of value for money.

Bread and Baked Goods

Grocery storeAdobe Stock

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per item Average Price at Grocery Stores: $2 - $4 per item

Bread and other baked goods like bagels and rolls can be a good buy at the dollar store. However, it’s important to check the expiration dates as these items might be closer to their sell-by date than those in grocery stores.

Personal Care Items

Fight Club factsPixabay

Average Price at Dollar Stores: $1 per item Average Price at Grocery Stores: $2 - $6 per item

For basic personal care items like toothpaste, soap, and shampoo, dollar stores can offer significant savings. However, the sizes may be smaller and the selection limited compared to grocery stores.

Final Thoughts

Cash in handsShutterstock

Dollar stores can be a treasure trove for certain items, offering significant savings on everyday essentials. However, it's crucial to compare prices and sizes to ensure you're getting the best deal.

By being a savvy shopper and knowing what to buy (and what to avoid), you can make the most of your grocery budget in these challenging times.



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