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10 Best Money-Saving Secrets of Dollar General

You can save even more money when shopping at the bargain store, retail experts say.

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Anyone shopping on a budget knows that Dollar General offers one of the best opportunities to get the most for your money. The store is known as an affordable oasis where you can find everything from household essentials to fresh produce at a reasonable price. But even if you're a regular customer, there are still probably deals, discounts, and sales you don't know about. That's why we recruited retail experts to help ensure you're not losing money. Read on for the best money-saving secrets of Dollar General.

RELATED: Dollar Tree Shoppers Find 8 Luxury Brands for Just $1.25: "Hit the Jackpot."

The store isn't always the best deal out there.

cereal aisle at a dollar general store
Billy F Blume Jr / Shutterstock

The entire premise of Dollar General is that it supposedly offers shoppers rock-bottom prices on the items they need most, including groceries and essentials. But according to experts, conducting a little price comparison can reveal that this is something of a myth—especially when you consider the size of the products.

"Dollar General won't always be cheaper," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with, tells Best Life. "In fact, if you look at the unit price of items, it may end up being more expensive, so that great deal you think you're getting isn't even close."

"Be sure to weigh the costs of items before you purchase and if you're able, try to shop at big-box stores as well as Dollar General," she suggests. "Stores like Target and Walmart very often have better prices, at least on some items."

The Dollar General app has special deals.

Dollar General App
Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock

Similar to other retailers, Dollar General has an app that helps shoppers redeem extra savings. "Aside from being able to browse weekly ads and plan your trip with a shopping list, you can also hunt down digital coupons to use with your purchases to save extra," explains Ramhold.

You can even scan items in-store to check if they qualify for any discounts. "This makes the shopping process easier because you don't have to worry about remembering to bring physical coupons," adds Ramhold.

RELATED: The 5 Worst Things to Buy at Dollar General.

You can earn cash-back rewards with the loyalty program.

Dollar General on Phone
Piotr Swat/Shutterstock

As part of the app, shoppers can also accumulate rewards through Dollar Tree's loyalty program, called myDG. You'll then accumulate "cash back on future in-store purchases," according to their website.

Renee McBride, digital marketing manager at Net Pay Advance, says shoppers will also receive "VIP treatment with exclusive discounts and rewards tailored to their preferences."

In addition, you'll get bonus birthday savings that are applicable for the whole month and sneak peeks at new items and deals.

It's worth it to hunt for "penny deals."

A hand pulling a one dollar bill out of a wallet

According to Liam Hunt, financial writer, analyst, and director at, the lesser-known "penny deals" at Dollar General are a "treasure trove for bargain hunters." In these cases, merchandise is significantly discounted to make room for new inventory.

"Penny items are items that are discontinued that they're supposed to remove from the shelves," explained shopper Elisha (@epelland23) in a recent TikTok video. As Best Life reported, "If those products aren't removed, then they're automatically marked down to 1 cent."

Shoppers are not technically supposed to be able to buy these penny items, which can be hidden anywhere throughout the store, but if taken to the register, they will ring up for one cent.

Ramhold previously told Best Life that these markdowns are typically done on Tuesdays. The website Kristie's Connections keeps a running list of weekly penny deals.

RELATED: 7 Secrets About Shopping at Five Below, According to Retail Experts.

Dollar General offers a generous weekly coupon.

coupon code

It's not uncommon for major retailers to use annual and semi-annual sales every few months to get customers in the door, often sending out coupons for serious savings. But what some Dollar General shoppers may not realize is that the chain uses this same marketing tactic every week.

"You can save $5 off $25—but only once a week," Ramhold points out. "Dollar General offers this weekly coupon in its app, and it typically is applicable only on Saturdays, which means it'll be a high-traffic shopping day with others taking advantage, too. Depending on how much you want to shop for and how busy your local store gets, this offer may or may not be worth redeeming every week."

You can take advantage of coupon overages.

dollar general store
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Anyone using a coupon likes to know they're getting the most mileage out of their voucher. Unfortunately, this can mean forfeiting some of your savings if you don't hit the total amount on a deal at most stores. But that's not the case at Dollar General.

"If a coupon value is more than the price of the item, the remaining value will be applied to the balance of the transaction," Dollar General states in its coupon policy.

Essentially, this policy means anyone will get to use the total value of their coupon no matter what they're purchasing. For example: If you buy a 75-cent item with a $1 coupon, the remaining 25 cents will go towards other things on your receipt.

RELATED: Walmart and Target Have a Secret Hiding Spot for Clearance Items.

You can often combine coupons for better savings.

dollar general shopping cart

Coupons can already go a long way when shopping at Dollar General. But in many cases, experts say you can get an even better bargain if you do a little extra clipping.

"You can stack store coupons with manufacturer coupons—at least sometimes," says Ramhold. "There'll be some exceptions, and you'll need to read the fine print, but very often you can stack these two types of coupons to increase your savings even more."

However, do note that "transactions cannot be broken up to avoid coupon stacking restrictions," per Dollar General's policy.

You can stack coupons with clearance prices.

Dollar General discount retailer store entrance - Revere, Massachusetts USA - November 23, 2017

A good deal is always nice, but there's still nothing better than a double-dip discount. Just as you can stack manufacturer coupons with those released by Dollar General, you can also apply your vouchers toward items that are already deeply discounted.

"If you're shopping the clearance section of the store and have coupons on hand for any of the items, you should be able to stack coupons to save even more," says Ramhold. "Be sure to read the fine print to ensure you're meeting the requirements for the coupon, and then enjoy your bonus savings!"

RELATED: I'm an Interior Designer and Just Bought 11 Luxe Decor Items at Dollar Tree.

You can use cashback apps for even lower prices.

Ibotta app logo on a smartphone screen.

While they might seem like the most obvious discount strategy, coupons aren't the only way to get a better deal while shopping at Dollar General. You can also use popular cashback apps as you would at any other store to maximize the value of your purchases. It's also a great way to save when promotions don't cover the items you need.

"If you're running short on coupons, consider using apps like Ibotta or Checkout51," suggests Ramhold. "You just have to save offers, shop like normal, upload a picture of your receipt, and then you'll be credited with cashback usually around 24 hours later."

In fact, in early 2023, Dollar General announced a direct partnership with Ibotta that makes it even easier for shoppers to take advantage of these cash-back rewards.

You may want to skip Dollar General for produce.

Dollar General Market store

In recent years, Dollar General has been expanding its DG Market footprint. These are grocery-specific Dollar General stores that promise fresh produce. However, after speaking with retail experts, Best Life determined that shopping at DG Market may actually cost shoppers money.

"If shoppers are looking for fresh groceries at a DG Market, they may find themselves disappointed as these stores don't seem to have an extensive selection, much like other dollar stores," Ramhold previously stated.

"Basically you're paying more for the same or less than what you would find if you were to shop at a big box store like Walmart or an affordable grocery store like Aldi," she added.

This story has been updated to include additional entries, fact-checking, and copy-editing.

Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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