Dollar Store Do’s and Don’ts

At the dollar store, it’s super simple to stock up.

“Paper plates, we don’t like washing dishes.  Mouthwash, toothpaste, you know things that we need every day,” says shopper Darrin Wilson of what he often buys at the dollar store.

“You can save anywhere from $1.50 on washing powder, sometimes $2.00, it pays to shop here!”

On one, Memphis Street we found a Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. Experts say these days such stores are bigger and better than ever.

“They`ve really upped the quality of the products that they`re carrying, so you get a lot of good products there,” says Good Housekeeping Research Institute Director Carolyn Forte.

“We certainly advocate going there but just know what it is that you`re buying,” Forte adds.

For example, Forte says paper products are a safe bet. “I think the dollar stores and the discount stores are a very, viable place to buy paper goods.”

Dollar stores are also a good place to find not so pricey party supplies, cards and wrapping paper.

“As long as you like the styles and designs and the colors, we say definitely go for gift wrapping,” adds Forte.

Forte says cleaning products are a nice, dollar store bargain too, “What you see at the dollar store very much mirrors what you see in the super market. I mean there are brands in the supermarket, some are better, some are not. It`s going to be trial and error if it`s a brand you’re not familiar with.”

Keep in mind, though, cheap doesn’t always mean good. Experts say there are a few things you ought to think twice about before tossing in your cart.

“If you don`t see an expiration date, we say don`t buy it because you want to make sure the foods you`re buying are fresh.”

Forte says pay close attention to makeup.

“You should be buying makeup that`s fresh so if for any reason it doesn`t look fresh, if packaging looks a little mangled or whatever, dusty or old we say stay away from it.”

Forte also says extension cords and power outlets could pose a risk. “We say be careful with this. Make sure that they are safety tested.”

You’ll want to check for an underwriter’s laboratory label or tag on the packaging.  Perhaps the biggest warning we can give before heading into a dollar store was said best by a customer.

“You never get out of here just spending a buck, which is the problem. Ever!”

Another piece of advice, if you are a frequent, dollar store shopper, doesn’t forget about coupons.  For example, Dollar General accepts both store and manufacturer coupons, so you can stack those for the best savings.

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