Any half-decent cheapskate knows about dollar stores. But when shopping at dollar stores, a little forethought can go a long way. Some items like canned soup and soda-pop can be found cheaper at retail stores. Other items (pencils, Ziploc bags, and packages of gum to name a few) appear cheaper, but are more expensive when looked at from a per-package and/or size perspective. Although a bag of baby diapers may cost double at a supermarket, it may contain more than twice as many diapers. You should avoid batteries, light bulbs, and kitchen utensils, as their inferior quality diminishes their value. Pet food, toys, and oral items such as mouthwash and toothpaste may not have the highest safety standards, so they too should be eschewed.
Avoiding lemons will save you a bit of time, money, and hassle, but actively seeking diamonds in the rough will increase your savings immensely. Spices, greeting cards, and bread are good-value buys, as are best-selling books and reading glasses. Dollar store pregnancy tests are surprisingly accurate, and their dishes/glassware are phenomenally cheap. Cleaning supplies at dollar stores are a bargain, but avoid generic dish soaps that don’t clean and large trash bags that rip when overloaded.