Just because it’s called a “dollar store” doesn’t mean you have to pay that much for everything you buy there.
Some of the same money-saving moves that help you avoid paying full price elsewhere also work at major dollar-store chains like Dollar Tree. They sometimes also work at other dollar stores.
Following are our top tips for paying less than a buck for dollar-store purchases — and for simply shopping smarter at these bargain havens.
1. Compare unit prices
Dollar stores are full of true bargains, as we detail in “21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store.” But that doesn’t mean everything priced at $1 is a deal.
So, don’t limit your comparison shopping to online purchases or grocery-store items. Compare unit prices even at the dollar store. Determining what an item costs per ounce, for example, is generally the only way to determine whether it’s cheaper at the dollar store or somewhere else.
2. Earn cash back at the store
There are two ways to get cash back on dollar-store purchases. You can take your pick, or take advantage of both during a single transaction:
Ibotta is a free app that enables you to earn cash rebates on purchases at many brick-and-mortar stores, including Dollar Tree.
3. Shop online
Want to save time and gas, too? Shop the dollar store online. Dollar Tree is among the chains that sell their wares on the web.
Even better, you can earn cash back on purchases from such websites. Just do your online shopping via a free cash-back portal like Rakuten.
To save on any shipping costs, you can take advantage of Dollar Tree’s free in-store pickup option, which enables you to pick up online orders at your local store.
4. Use coupons
Why, yes, you can use coupons at the dollar store. In fact, you can use coupons to get stuff for free there if you know the trick we detail in “The Secret to Getting Dollar Store Items for Free.” So, it pays to know the coupon policies of any chains you frequent.
5. Get connected
Not into clipping coupons? Not to worry. Join your favorite dollar store’s email list, and the savings will come to you.
Folks on Dollar Tree’s email list, for example, receive alerts about closeout offers, and ad and catalog sneak peeks, among other things.
Another option is to follow your favorite dollar store chain on social media.
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