Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Let's Go Shopping: At the Dollar Store!

I think we can all agree that grocery shopping is a drag. But we've all got to eat. So this week we'll examine some ways to save money at the grocery store.
Okay you've probably visited a dollar store at some point, but have you thought of grocery shopping there? My mother swears by it. She picks up a bunch of frozen meals there almost every week. I was surprised when she first told me about her meal bargains, but it turns out she's not the only one.

I recently saw this video on featuring Jeff Yeagar, The Ultimate Cheapskate. He brags that he's not afraid of off-brands and loves the dollar store.

But even the Ultimate Cheapskate will tell you to be careful at dollar stores. For one thing I'm not sure what brands of frozen food my mom finds and I definitely question their nutritional content. I wouldn't serve that stuff to my family even at full price. So if the nutrition isn't there it's not worth the buck--at least not for me.

You can find canned goods at dollar stores too. But you'll need to carefully check for damage and past expiration dates.

I accompany my mom on trips the the "dollar parlor" as she calls it. I've found that even items such as ziplock bags, food storage containers, paper towels and toilet paper are not worth the savings. If the quality isn't poor then the quantity is small. I do much better buying in bulk (a subject I'll cover later this week) for these items.

But if you're looking for party supplies like paper plates, decorative napkins, wrapping paper, cards or even helium filled balloons this is the store. You can also find bargains on brand name soaps and shampoos.

I'll repeat the helium balloons thing. We were invited to a party with the request to just bring a balloon and no present. I was shocked to find a single balloon costs around $5 at Safeway and the fancy ones are more than double that. Hellooo dollar store. One balloon=$1.

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