We’ve been shopping at dollar stores for years now. I’ve been a long-time fan, and now my wife and children have joined the club. While some might snub this shopping option, it’s one that keeps our costs down and maximizes our spending power.
However, a recent article on MyBudget360 blog opened my eyes to something new regarding these types of stores. It seems that some people can’t afford shopping at places where most purchases are just a dollar. The post referenced the CEO of Family Dollar as saying,
“Over the last two years, I think we’ve seen a growing bifurcation in households. Higher-income households who have benefited from market gains, better employment opportunities, or improvements in the housing markets have become more comfortable and confident in their financial situation. But our core lower-income customers have faced high unemployment levels, higher payroll taxes, and more recently reductions in government-assistance programs. All of these factors have resulted in incremental financial pressure and reduction in overall spending in the market.”
Even though our family finances aren’t great, we can still afford to shop at these types of stores, and in the process, we recognize some real savings.
Dollar store ways to save
While we haven’t started buying our food at dollar stores, this doesn’t mean there aren’t some great savings to be had there. And sometimes it’s amazing what we can get there for huge discounts compared to our everyday retailers.
Of course there has been some trial and error over the years when it comes to certain items, but finding things like “thank you” or holiday cards for 50 cents rather than $3.95 in a retail setting, watch batteries for about 15 cents a piece, super glue, office supplies, and even tools and repair kits for just a buck has really paid off.
Keeping our cost-cutting skills honed
Even when it’s not an emergency, it’s still important for us to know when, where and how to cut costs. Like many skills in life, practice can keep us ready for when the time strikes.
Knowing what our “drop dead” numbers are when it comes to how much we have to spend to get by helps us prepare for things like income reduction or job loss. Shopping at places like dollar stores keeps us honed to what products are available – especially when it comes to food – even if we don’t add them to our regular shopping list except maybe in financial emergencies or in a budget crunch.
We actually like the shopping environment at most dollar stores. Since such location tend to be smaller (often around 10 aisles) than many of the mega-marts of our area, they are easier to search, tend not to be as jam-packed with people, the lines at checkout are typically much shorter, and we can get in and out in about 10-15 minutes or so.
So just because the economy is supposedly doing better since the recession, it doesn’t mean that we’ve dumped our dollar store shopping. Instead, we’re continuing to make use of certain advantages such environments offer.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.