Fortune mag on-line has a story on Dollar General and how after being taken private by the famous (in other words, I've heard of it) private-equity firm Kohlberg, Kravis,Roberts in 2007 was re-offered to the public in 2009; since then, the stock has more than doubled. Well, it's pretty funny that Henry Kravis, whose houses, art collections, wives, and philanthropy have been featured in tony mags over the years, should spot the investment opp in the "new frugality." Fortune mag suggests that the stock may--even after its recent doubling and the improvement to the economy (I hope)--still prove a good investment. Well, it figures that the uber-rich have already made scads and that the regular people, late to the party as usual, may have a few crumbs. MAYBE.
My interest today is more prosaic and appropriate to those of us whose frugality has led to the increase in the vast fortunes of Kravis and his peers: do the various dollar stores offer good value? I am always game for checking out the possibilities for life in the frugal lane. Most things in dollar stores are NOT worth a dollar! Food is often in mini-packages or packages somewhat smaller than the norm. Also true for many health and beauty items.
Dollar General: The one whose stock has soared. Most things are more than a dollar, by the way. The one where I live is so disorganized and dirty that I don't bother. I used to buy big packages of sponges here. I also used to get Alpha Hydrox lotion. UGH.
Dollar Tree. Everything IS a dollar. I wouldn't make a special trip, but it's in my lineup (Rouses, Goodwill, Big Lots). I buy frozen fruit here: 10-16 ounces of frozen fruit for a dollar is a good deal. I've seen Muir Glen tomato sauce here; quart aseptic packages of soymilk and regular milk. Good ingredient sunscreen was here for $1/6 oz. I bought the 8 that remained. You can get 10 crummy toothbrushes for a dollar--good for travel. And toothpaste (no, not the Chinese kind with antifreeze: Aim).
Big Lots. This isn't really a dollar store, but it is responsible for my grocery savings. Lots of organic items from Muir Glen, lots of Italian artisan pasta, lots of aseptic Pacific soups. Most people are buying snack items and cereal, which are usually not that well-priced. How do you know when something is well-priced? When there is a big space where the item used to be. There are many savvy shoppers in my area, some of whom are the dreaded shelf-clearers. If something is a good price, it will not be there for more than a day. I bought 9 packages of Quaker oat groats: 24 oz/90 cents! It was cheaper than regular oatmeal. The groats are denser and so the package was smaller and the pricers were tricked. Two days later--all were gone.
So my basic purchases are organic food, "gourmet items," and generic health and beauty--who cares if you're buying name=brand vaseline? or ibuprofen?
Do you frequent the dollar stores? What do you buy?