4 Under-the-Radar Dollar Stores You Can Shop at Today
You don't always have to turn to Family Dollar or Dollar Tree when shopping on a budget.
It's no secret that Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar can be great resources for shoppers working with a budget. But even as the larger chains have continued to spread, there are still plenty of other fantastic retailers where you can expect to get a great deal when you go to checkout. Whether you're picking up everyday essentials, refilling cosmetics, or stocking your pantry, you might want to consider changing your routine the next time you run errands. Read on for the best under-the-radar dollar stores you can shop at today, according to experts.
Ollie's Bargain Outlet
While not all dollar stores can be true one-stop shopping destinations, some still come close with their wide range of offerings. And according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, Ollie's Bargain Outlet—which bills itself as "America's largest retailer of closeout merchandise and excess inventory"—stands out as a top option with more than 480 stores nationwide.
"The store as a whole offers brand-name products for up to 70 percent off, so it may not be a direct dollar store alternative, but it may still be worth shopping if you're on the hunt for a good bargain," she says.
Notable deals she's found include items like Hasbro toys at 80 percent off and small kitchen appliances that go for 72 percent off. "My local flyer had a 7-quart Martha Stewart cast iron Dutch oven on sale for $49.99, while similar products are nearly $350 when shopping the brand directly," she tells Best Life.
Unlike competitors, Ramhold points out that you can't shop at Ollie's via a website—but you can view your local store's flyer online, which can help you create a shopping strategy.
"The store carries home and garden items, toys, some groceries, and so much more, but because they carry overstock and closeout items, inventory can change quickly," she advises. "Be sure to watch your local store so you don't miss out on incredible deals."
Even though the biggest dollar store chains have managed to become household names, new offerings like Popshelf are beginning to shake up the bargain sector and add to the variety.
"Dollar General technically owns this chain, but it has a more 'dollar-near' concept rather than the more traditional dollar store format," says Ramhold. "And by comparison, it's certainly still under-the-radar: As of June 2023, there were 19,165 Dollar General stores, but only 165 Popshelf stores as of May 2023."
Ramhold also says that items from Popshelf have a different feel than what you're likely to find at a standard Dollar General. "There are plenty of home and garden items to shop. And while there are some grocery products, they offer a different selection than the well-known parent brand, with more snacks rather than outright meal-type foods," she says.
The store also carries bargain store staples, including organizational items and home decor. "These products definitely have a different audience in mind, and some of the options look much more chic for the price than what you'll find at other dollar stores," she says.
Sometimes, repeatedly going to the same dollar store can feel like your options are limited. That's why experts say one discount retailer stands out as a more robust alternative.
"I'm a big fan of Gabe's, which has over 130 stores across parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Midwest," Scott Lieberman, financial expert and founder of Touchdown Money, tells Best Life. "It's kind of a mix between a dollar store and department store, and the deals are genuinely amazing."
Lieberman says shoppers can find clothes, household supplies, and all sorts of seasonal products. "They also have killer deals on groceries, but the inventory constantly changes, so you can't count on finding anything specific," he points out.
For more shopping advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Those who love to redecorate on a dime are likely familiar with Five Below and the products they sell—especially household items. But many shoppers may still not realize just how much the retailer has to offer.
"This store is another one that has a sort of 'dollar-near' concept, and the website makes it easy to shop based on price," says Ramhold. "You can easily browse categories of items priced at $1, $2, $3, $4, and $5, as well as 'beyond five' for those items that are more than $5 and a clearance section, too."
She says that the store offers a variety of products geared toward a younger audience, so anywhere from middle school to college-age young adults will likely find appealing products to shop without breaking the bank.
"There are home items, toys and games, beauty, style, arts & crafts, and much more to shop, so it shouldn't be hard to fill your cart," she explains. "They also have tech products. And even if many of these may be cases for your devices rather than tech items themselves, they do still carry items like headphones and earbuds, simple smart home products, and more."