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Dollar stores are a mainstay of American life, with a 2020 survey indicating that around 60% of Americans had shopped at a Dollar Tree in the previous 12 months. The two industry heavyweights are Dollar General and Dollar Tree, which bought Family Dollar in 2015. But these true “dollar stores” are also facing increasing competition from Target, Walmart, Ikea and Costco. Despite this, there are still items shoppers can’t help but save on at dollar stores.
To determine what Americans are buying at dollar stores, GOBankingRates conducted a survey of 1,037 American adults in early April 2022. Highlights of the results are below, along with tips on what experts say you should and shouldn’t buy from dollar stores.
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What is bought the most in dollar stores?
Shopping exclusively at dollar stores, unlike other options such as Costco and Ikea, is diverse. Food was the most common response, at 24%, followed closely by personal care items, at 22%. Party goods and home goods also rank highly, getting 17% and 15% of the vote, respectively.
What is bought the least in dollar stores?
The obvious losers when it comes to items purchased at dollar stores are kitchen appliances and clothing. Since kitchen appliances are often big ticket items, it makes sense that more consumers are using big box stores like Costco for these types of purchases. The clothes, however, seem fine for a dollar store purchase, but only garnered about 4% of the vote.
What should you really buy at dollar stores?
Dollar stores carry a lot of merchandise at low prices, but some deals stand out more than others. While you may get equal or lower prices on certain items at other stores, dollar stores shine in some particular areas. According to experts, these are generally some of the best things to buy at a dollar store.
Dollar stores might not have the widest variety of choices when it comes to greeting cards, but you can’t beat the price. Greeting cards at drugstores and other retailers are usually over $5 each, far more than you’ll pay at a dollar store.
Unless you’re looking for a fancy embossed frame to house your new Monet, dollar stores offer fully functional frames at prices well below other outlets.
Picnic and party supplies
Dollar stores are perfect outlets for one-time events, such as picnics and parties. Since you won’t need your products to last more than once, you don’t have to spend money investing in more durable items. Just be sure to buy enough, as dollar store quantities per pack are often low.
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What should you avoid buying from dollar stores?
Human nature forces us to search for the cheapest price for the items we want to buy. However, sometimes price isn’t everything. Although low prices can be found at dollar stores, the items offered are sometimes of lower quality or nearing their expiration date. For this reason, experts advise not to just buy everything you need from a dollar store. These items in particular have been noted by experts as things to avoid in dollar stores.
Most dollar store batteries are carbon-zinc instead of alkaline. Although the price is right, you will probably need to replace these batteries very frequently. Carbon-zinc batteries can also damage devices if they leak.
Beauty products at dollar stores are often old or substandard. Unless you can find name brands, it’s best to skip the beauty aisle, especially with SPF products, which may no longer provide the protection you need.
When you buy a tool, you need it to be durable to withstand heavy impacts and high forces. Dollar store tools usually can’t cope.
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