6 Secrets Dollar General Doesn't Want You to Know

It turns out there are ways to save even more money when shopping at the bargain store.

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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. Despite recent controversy surrounding some of their policies, 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 a few things you didn't know about the bargain store. Read on for the secrets Dollar General doesn't want you to know.

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

dollar general shelf pricing
ccpixx photography / 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 Dealnews.com, 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 adds. "Stores like Target and Walmart very often have better prices, at least on some items."

They offer 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 on a weekly basis.

"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."

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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 experts say that's not the case at Dollar General.

"If you use the correct coupon, it could technically pay you to shop," says retail expert The Deal Guy in a Facebook video posted in May 2022. "Dollar General is one of the only major retailers that will allow you to benefit from coupon overages. That means you can use a coupon that exceeds the price of the item."

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.

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."

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You can use cashback apps for even lower prices.

A young woman using her iPhone

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 cash back usually around 24 hours later."

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!"

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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