Dollar Store Grocery Shopping - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now that I've asked about Aldi's, now I'm curious if anyone here does dollar store grocery shopping. Most specifically, Dollar Tree. Last Christmas we hosted a party and were strapped and bought all the crackers from Dollar Tree, and really....after all my worry, they were just fine and truly tasted just like Club Crackers. But I'm a brand snob...I'll shop the store brand any day of the week, but if I've never heard of the brand and it's a discount store, then I get skeeved out.

The crackers were truly fine and a dollar to boot, but I'm still reluctant to go back. Does anyone here do pantry shopping at the Dollar Store? With ease? My wallet would love to hear it.
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#2 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 01:31 AM
 
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Store brand is just fine.
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#3 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 01:41 AM
 
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I haven't done it much, but that's mostly because the things that I would be able to get at my dollar store are either 1) food items I can do without (lots of snack foods and cookies), or 2) items I can get for less than a dollar per package anyway.

When I have purchased food items from there, I've found them to be of reasonably good quality. There's another dollar store a 1/2 hour from me that I've been meaning to check out since they sell produce and lots of refrigerated items, but I haven't made it over there yet. No dollar store's inventory seems to be the same, not even within the same chain!

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#4 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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We buy some things there. My kids are both dairy-allergic, and they sell WestSoy shelf-stable milk. It's $1.24 in Wal-Mart and $1.50 in Kroger, so I stock up when they have it at the Dollar Tree. We also get some crackers and things there. We don't eat much junk, but when we do, I try to keep the cost down. DH likes some spiced cashews they have, and I'll get cans of roasted peanuts sometimes. I'm not a brand snob, so I don't get worried about it. Most of what's at our store is pretty unhealthy, or I'd probably buy more.

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#5 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 09:08 AM
 
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I run in about once a week just to see what is on hand. Its usually alot of junk but sometimes they will have a good brand pasta or the like. I have to be really careful with the "sell by" dates at our store. They get so close to the date that its not worth buying it sometimes.
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#6 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 10:00 AM
 
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We have something that's not a dollar store, but close-out stuff. Often they will have organic products that I use-Mother's, Newman's, Bob's Red Mill, etc. The dates are OK, so I've bought them. I once started talking to two women ahead of me in line with a full cart. Turns out they cater weddings and were getting some (food) supplies, which I thought was interesting.
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#7 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 10:28 AM
 
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I know a nearby florist buys a lot of "gift basket" items from the dollar store for his business. Tea, pastas, crackers, and lots of other stuff.
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#8 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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For some reason, it weirds me out to buy food from the dollar store. I do buy spices there though so I don't know what the difference is.
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#9 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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We have a local chain dollar store here that I like *much* better than Dollar Tree. I've gotten some pantry stuff there. I was really excited to find some of that natural flavored peanut butter at ours. (The Original Peanut Butter Company? Whatever the brand, its normally $4 a jar at the grocery store.)

I like going to Big Lots to see what they have. They get new stuff in all the time. And I've found a fair amount of organics there. They normally have a few different Cascadian Farms cereals, along with 1 or 2 other organic cereals. My kids like the Earth's Best Elmo "Cheerios." Something about having Elmo on the box makes it more appetizing. Just check the dates on stuff from Big Lots. I've found that most things are good for a little while past the expiration if it hasnt been opened.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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I go to the Dollar Tree pretty often, and I do sometimes buy food items. Usuallly it's snacks etc for parties, but I've also bought bread and some canned goods, and everything's always tasted fine.

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#11 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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I haven't really found that the prices are any better than other places, mostly because although the price may be less, the amount in the package is also less, too. Maybe I need to check it out again, though.
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#12 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 04:10 PM
 
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In my experience it's hit & miss. I've done it for parties before when the price is like half that of a normal store. Some tastes just fine, others not so much. But I think that's with anything. Dollar store, store brands, big brands. I wouldn't stock up and spend loads until I know it tastes ok, but I would try one or two things occasionally and see, if the price is good.

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#13 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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One of the dollar stores on our block just got a huge shipment of Newman's organic cookies, right at sell-by date (which means basically nothing as far as cookies go). I stocked up on Hermits. They were $1.29 a box instead of $3.50.
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#14 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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I do all the time, I found organic chicken stock and bought a bunch. I bought Barilla pasta there recently and I have also bought fettucine noodles that were italian. I also love these crackers that the one near us has they are almost exactly like those expensive fancy crackers I always stock up on those. I have seen many name brand items there, I also get imported jarred olives and roasted red peppers there. Pineapple is another thing that is a good deal. I pretty much now always check out the food isles at the dollar store, it is kind of like a treasure chest IMO.

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#15 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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I found dog food mixed in with some generic fish crackers once so I'm not comfortable buying dollar store food.

We don't eat most of what the dollar stores around here offer anyway and even at $1 we still can't afford extras.
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#16 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 06:06 PM
 
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I would never feel guilty about buying snacks at the Dollar Tree! We have a really big one near my house, and when we are running tight that month, I definitely buy what I need from there. They have good snacks and crackers and things like that. I also get some Arizona teas while I'm there, I like the green teas....
DT is a great store. Why pay more for that stuff when you dont have to? It's all made the same way. A ritz cracker is a ritz cracker....

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#17 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 07:21 PM
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I've only actually found a few things that are generic brands that are truly awful. One of them is the Kroger brand of refrigerator crescent rolls and biscuits. (Kroger would be Fry's, Smith's, Food4Less, Ralph's, Fred Meyer, etc.)

For the most part, DH & I only buy Sweet N' Low and certain party supplies (table cloths, etc) at the dollar store. $1.00/100 is the lowest price I can find anywhere (Aldi's doesn't sell S&L)

Sometimes, when we are planning to go to a movie (at the $3.50 theatre*), we'll buy a box or two of Mike & Ike's to take with us.


*Remember the $1.00 theaters?!
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