In conditions of food inflation, more and more buyers are turning to dollar stores for groceries.

A man looks at frozen food at a Dollar store in Alhambra, California on August 23, 2022.

Frederick J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Among all the rising costs, huge grocery bills have been especially painful.

Although the consumer price index, an indicator of inflation that measures the cost of a wide basket of goods and services, has begun to decline, according to recent data, food prices have risen again, This was announced by the US Department of Labor..

Over the past year, food prices in general have risen by more than 10%. Eggs alone rose by 60%, butter by more than 31% and lettuce by 25%, according to Labor Department data for December.

As a result, consumers are looking for any and all ways to save money. For some, this means shopping at the local dollar store.

Dollar stores attract more grocery shoppers

Slowly but surely, the share of discount dollar stores in total grocery spending is creeping up. recent report from Coresight Research. According to Coresight’s weekly US Consumer Tracker, more than 1 in 5 consumers now shop at dollar stores.

A separate study published in American Journal of Public Health also found that dollar stores were the fastest growing food retailers, in part because they are expanding at an unrivaled pace, especially in rural areas.

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To attract buyers, the country category giants are Common dollar And dollar treewhich owns Family Dollar, is adding stores and remodeling them, adding more refrigeration units and expanding grocery offerings to include healthier foods and fresh produce, Coresight said in a report.

“If the two retailers continue to improve the quality of their fresh produce while maintaining the low prices associated with their brands, there is a good chance that this will strengthen their value proposition with their existing consumer base, as well as attract new customers from more expensive stores. retailers,” the statement said.

“It’s about getting your dollar going a little further”

Shoppers are looking at alternatives these days, especially if that means lower prices, says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews. “It’s about getting your dollar going a little further.”

However, the value is not always present, she added. Despite the title, “you’ll be hard-pressed to find items that cost as little as a dollar.” It is important to check the price per unit and compare with offers in other stores, including walmart and Trader Joe’s, Remhold said.

In addition, the product range will still be smaller than in a supermarket or warehouse club. For example, fruit and vegetable choices may be limited to longer shelf life offerings such as bagged salad mixes and bananas, Ramhold said.

Also, with less turnover, you are more likely to find expired items. “It’s important to check expiration dates,” she warned.

To that end, Ramhold advises shoppers to focus on staples such as rice, pasta and dried beans, which can also be adapted to different cuisines and don’t cost very much.

(“Dollar Store Cookbookavailable on Amazon contains recipes that are mostly limited to such stable ingredients, including creamy tuna on toast made with canned tuna and cream of celery soup.)

Top tips for saving money on groceries

The Explosive Growth of Dollar Stores

With food inflation lingering, savings experts share their top tips for spending less on groceries, no matter where you shop.

  1. Study sales. General brands can be 10-30% cheaper than their “premium” counterparts and just as good – but this is not always the case. Well-known brands may be offering bigger discounts than usual right now to maintain loyalty, so it’s important to check prices.
  2. Plan your meals. According to Lisa Thompson, savings expert at, when you plan your meals in advance, you’re more likely to buy only what you need. If planning isn’t for you, at least go shopping with a rough idea of ​​what you’ll be cooking the week ahead so you don’t get lost and avoid impulse buying, she added.
  3. Buy in bulk. When it comes to the rest of the items on your list, you can save more by buying in bulk. Joining wholesale clubs such as Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s often gives you the best unit price for condiments and shelf-stable foods. Then keep your pantry organized by putting food closer to its expiration date so you know to cook or consume it before it goes bad, said consumer savings expert Andrea Vorokh.
  4. Use the money back app. According to Ramhold, Ibotta and Checkout 51 are two of the most popular in-store cashback apps. The average Ibotta user earns $10 to $20 a month, but more active users can earn $100 to $300 a month, a spokesperson told CNBC.
  5. Pay with the correct card. While a regular cashback card like Citi Dual Cash Card can bring you 2%, there are special grocery bonus cards that can give you up to 6% return in supermarkets across the country, for example American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card. CNBC Select has a complete overview of the best cards for grocery shopping, plus annual interest rates and annual fees.

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