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8 Secrets Family Dollar Doesn't Want You to Know

There may be extra ways to save at Family Dollar, according to retail experts.

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Family Dollar has made a name for itself as a great hub for bargain shopping. The chain has more than 8,000 locations across the U.S. and sells everything from $1 groceries to beauty products to household supplies. But even though it's so well-known, the store has a few secrets up its sleeve. Read on to hear from retail experts about the biggest things you should know next time you shop at Family Dollar, from overcharging scandals to even better deals.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Ollie's Bargain Outlet Employees.

The app can get you bigger bargains.

beautiful woman on phone
iStock / People Images

Just like most retail stores today, Family Dollar has a pretty useful app, but there are ways it can help you save that you may not be aware of.

"Not only will the app provide 'Smart Coupons' that are offers you can save in-app and redeem when you shop in-store, but you can even use the app in-store to scan a barcode and see if there are any offers for that product," says Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst with "Because of that, you can potentially find savings you had no idea about, and could save even more than planned."

Cash-back rebate apps can save you even more.

Ibotta app logo on a smartphone screen. Manhattan, New York, USA May 2, 2020.

"Another way to save at Family Dollar is by using cash-back rebate apps like Ibotta," according to Jeanel Alvarado, a retail expert at RETAILBOSS. "Simply snap a picture of your receipt after making a purchase, and you'll receive money back in your Ibotta account. This can be especially helpful when combined with other coupons and discounts."

But in-person shopping is the best way to score deals.

family dollar store
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock

Online shopping is so convenient, but according to Ramhold, Family Dollar's digital shoppers aren't able to use coupons, which cuts down on saving possibilities.

"Shopping in-store will obviously allow the use of coupons so you can save even more on your purchases," Ramhold says. "Because of that, it really seems that in-person shopping is the best way to go, as you'll be able to use coupons and have your items immediately."

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Secrets Aldi Doesn't Want You to Know.

Take a chance on their game.

shopper using phone at grocery store
miniseries / iStock

Family Dollar offers a chance for additional savings with SmartSpins, an interactive game that "rewards you with personalized Smart Coupons when you earn a spin," Alvarado says.

To play, customers must have the store's app and be a member of its Smart Coupons program. Spins are earned every time a customer shops at Family Dollar, and when shoppers receive spins on the game, they're given additional coupons to use in the store.

Look for orange stickers.

The cereal aisle in a Family Dollar store
Billy F Blume Jr/Shutterstock

Like most retail stores, Family Dollar has a dedicated clearance section. But they also have clearance items throughout the entire store that are marked down to their lowest possible price.

"To maximize your savings, look for clearance items with orange stickers, which indicate final markdowns," Alvarado says. "These items can often be found mixed in with regular-priced merchandise or on dedicated clearance shelves."

They might not be the cheapest option.

family dollar store
Tupungato / Shutterstock

With a name like Family Dollar, you'd expect the chain to be unfailingly budget-friendly. And for the most part, they are. But that doesn't mean the store is always the cheapest place to buy certain items.

"They sell name-brand small appliances, but it doesn't mean they're a good deal," Ramhold says. "For example, you can get very basic Black+Decker coffee makers for $17 or $25, which isn't a bad price, but you may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere, such as at your local Walmart, and even department stores around holidays like Black Friday. That's when we often see small appliances drop to as little as $10 depending on the store."

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You can make returns without a receipt.

printing receipt at cash register
Simon Kadula / Shutterstock

"You can get a 100 percent refund on private label items if you return within 30 days," says consumer savings and smart shopping expert Andrea Woroch. "Even customers who misplaced their receipt can return up to three items within a 30-day period."

Although you'll get a refund without a receipt, it's not guaranteed that you'll get the same amount of money back. "The only difference is that the refund will be based on the lowest advertised price and issued [as store credit]," Woroch notes.

They've been caught overcharging customers.

Columbus, OH/USA November 16,2018 : Family Dollar Variety Store. Family Dollar is a Subsidiary of Dollar Tree

It's expected that the amount on a price tag will be the same amount that rings up at a cash register, but that doesn't always happen.

In Nov. 2022, auditors found that 13 Family Dollar locations in Butler County, Ohio failed price verification checks. Several items' prices that were listed on the shelves were ringing up differently at cash registers.

"While this was in a particular area of the country, between that and shutdowns due to a rat infestation at a distribution facility, it can make it hard to shop with confidence at Family Dollar without doing research beforehand or while you're shopping," Ramhold says.

Erin Yarnall
Erin Yarnall is a freelance reporter from the Chicago area. Read more
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