Dollar General has been a beloved standby for budget savvy shoppers since opening its first location in 1955. Today, the glow of the black and yellow sign can be found at 15,000 stores in over 44 states, with more locations opening each day. Dollar General may be known as a discount retailer, but don’t mistake it for a dollar store. Unlike the Dollar Tree, the store’s inventory is not regulated by a $1 price tag, which means it is up to the consumer to figure out whether or not a deal is actually a deal. When walking Dollar General’s grocery aisles, keep in mind that items in this store are priced for convenience. While you won’t find premiums quite as high as those at gas stations or certain convenience stores, grocery shopping at Dollar General requires some know-how in order to score worthwhile pricing deals.
That said, if you’re located near a Dollar General, it can be a highly convenient and budget-savvy stop for food shopping, as long as you know what to look for and what to avoid. Here are some tips on what to skip and where you’ll score at Dollar General.
WATCH: Dollar Store Steak vs. Ribeye
Score: Save the in-store circular.
Dollar General offers a weekly in-store circular that will help you save on their bulk dry goods, staples and snacks. Also, keep an eye out for their $5 off of $25 or buy-one-get-one promotion. Make sure to pair these with coupons when possible for optimal savings.
Skip: Smaller sized products.
Dollar General offers many pantry staples such as beverages, condiments and other food products for attractive prices, but at a smaller size than what you’ll find on standard supermarket shelves. Usually, this means customers actually lose out on savings.
Score: Store locations offering fresh produce
At 3,500 Dollar General locations, you’ll find DG Fresh stores that offer fresh produce items. Dollar General stores that are not part of the DG Fresh initiative still offer fresh-food staples such as eggs, cheese, milk and bread, as well as several cases of frozen food. Having these options can make it easy to stock up on the essentials for a few days or if you run out for an item in a pinch.
Skip: Canned goods
Many of the canned goods at Dollar General are priced a bit higher than the grocery store, so it’s best to pay attention and compare prices to other stores nearby. Unless you are in a rush, better not to spend $1+ on those veggies if your grocery store has them for 80 cents.
Score: Digital coupons
Keep an eye out for Dollar General’s digital coupons that are available for food items. The beauty of these in-store coupons is that customers can use them along with manufacturers’ coupons. More savings for everyone!