Bargain Shopping on a Budget

Consolidated Credit’s tips for bargain shopping at the dollar store

bargain shoppingCanadian shoppers love a great bargain, and as we tighten our grip on consumer spending, an increasing number of us are finding great value at our local dollar stores.

Bargain shopping has become so popular that Canada’s largest discount retailer, Dollarama Inc. recently saw a 28 per cent rise in profits as customer spending has soared.

In fact, our desire for a good deal has increased so much so, that the 2015 Canadian Dollar Store Landscape & Shopper Survey found:

  • 53 per cent of Canadians visit a dollar store at least once a week;
  • The average dollar store shopper spends $13.54 per trip;
  • That works out to an average of $1 per day; or
  • $365.25 per year.

Buying specific items at the dollar store can amount to big savings for consumers.  But not everything is a deal, warns Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling of Canada.

“It’s encouraging to see a growing number of Canadian consumers being careful with their bottom line, and taking advantage of money saving opportunities at their local dollar store,” says Schwartz.  “However, it is still important to be aware of your budget, plan ahead by making a list, and only purchase items that are of need. Otherwise you are just throwing your money away.”

To help consumers stretch their dollar further, the team at Consolidated Credit offers these tips to find the best bargains at their local discount store:

Spices – When grocery stores are selling spices for four and five dollars a jar, the one dollar price tag on kitchen essentials like cinnamon, basil, pepper and chili powder can’t be beat.

Toiletries – Shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and deodorant can put a big dent in your weekly grocery bill.  Buying these and other toiletries at the dollar store can amount to huge savings.

Greeting cards – Priced at a buck or two, shoppers can save big on greeting cards that are just as corny as the ones you can buy at a brand name retailer for more than four dollars.

Party supplies – Most party supplies end up in the trash shortly after the celebration in over.  Dollar stores have become the go-to supplier of inexpensive, disposable party plates, utensils, napkins and decorations.

Household cleaners – Most generic and off brand cleaners contain the same basic ingredients as their more expensive brand name counterparts. Purchasing these at your local dollar store will mean more breathing room when it comes time to balance your budget.

Children’s toys – Let’s be honest, young kids don’t care how much a toy costs.  They just care to have fun. From colouring books and bubbles to puzzles and games, the dollar store is quickly becoming the frugal parent’s go-to children’s store.  At just a few dollars an item, parents rarely care if their kids break or lose the toy.

Select food items – When it comes to food, the dollar store can be a bit tricky.  Checking the expiry date on food items is a must.  However, you may find that pantry staples like olives, pickles, relish and condiments are all great dollar store buys.

Kitchen utensils – Most dollar stores carry a good selection of kitchen tools that are just as useful as some of the higher priced utensils sold in department stores.

To demonstrate just how much of an impact shopping at a dollar store can have on your household budget, the Consolidated Credit team took the exact same shopping list to both our local dollar store and a brand-name discount shopping centre.  Here is what we found:


Item Dollar Store Shopping Centre
Black Pepper $1.00 $3.97
Toothpaste $1.00 $2.97
Birthday Card $2.00 $4.25
Party Napkins $1.25 $2.00
Window Cleaner $2.00 $3.97
Colouring Book $1.75 $2.96
Ketchup $1.25 $3.47
Mustard $1.25 $1.79
Wooden Spoon $1.00 $4.83
Total $12.50 $30.21
*Source: Dollar Store and Popular Discount Shopping Centre

As you can see, similar items at a popular discount shopping centre cost more than double what they did at the local dollar store.

By planning ahead, making a list, and knowing what items are a true bargain, consumers can make a significant impact on their household budgets – and in turn, can use those savings to pay down debt or save for the future.

Learning how to get the most for your dollar is essential to a lifetime of financial health.  But if your budget leaves little room for even the most basic bargain hunting, we can help!  Call 1-888-294-3130 today to speak to a trained credit counsellor and find out how you can get your budget under control.  You can also try our Free Debt Analysis online and a counsellor will reach out to you

Press Inquiries

[email protected]
1-800-656-4120 x 1064