Friday, March 02, 2007

How To Find Groceries at Dollar Stores & The Top 10 Items for a Buck

We buy some of our groceries from the dollar store and we're not alone. Many dollar stores have an interesting assortment of food items and I know of at least one dollar store that sells fresh produce also.

From our local dollar stores, we have purchased Kedem Grape Juice for 50 cents (full price about $3.), chips, cookies, canned goods and bottled water.

Here's how we do it:

  • Check dates. I look for expiration dates, sell-by dates and best-if-used-by dates.
  • Study the packaging: If the item looks "gently worn," we put it back on the shelf.
  • Know the actual price at a grocery store. Not all $1 deals are really deals. Sometimes the unit price is actually the same or higher than the grocery store.
  • Buy-one/try-one: After being burned by a batch of stale snacks, we taste-test dollar store deals first. We buy a sample. If it's either stale or hated by the family, we don't purchase more.
  • Need-based test: If we need snacks for a party or grape juice for a Friday night meal ritual, then we'll buy the item on sale at the dollar store. But if we're just spending money on empty calories (more junk), we'll cut back on our dollar store deals.
  • Stock up: When my husband found our brand of kosher grape juice for 50 cents (down from $3), he really stocked up and brought $40 worth, which lasted us for a year.

I've had bad luck buying water at one dollar store. The water bottles were super cheap, but I could taste the plastic in the water. Maybe the bottles were on the shelf too long. We try to avoid bottled water anyway and now have a cool filter on our kitchen faucet.

We've also picked up stale chips, but we've fixed that error by crisping up the chips in the microwave. We did not, however, stock up on the stale chips.

Meanwhile, from the book Treasure Hunt by Michael J. Silverstein here is a list of the

Top 10 Items Purchased at Dollar Stores:

  1. Cleaning Supplies for the home.
  2. Decorations for different holidays and seasons
  3. Gift wrapping supplies (paper & bags)
  4. Paper goods
  5. Supplies for the laundry
  6. Dishes and housewares
  7. Containers for storage
  8. Batteries
  9. Beauty & Health Supplies
  10. Dry goods


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