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Dollar General Store Review 2017

The Verdict

If you like to save money on sundries, household products, party supplies, and more, then look no further than your local Dollar General store.

It's not an extreme discount store where you can find all items for $1.

Instead, it's a place where you'll find discounted prices on all the packaged goods you would buy at your regular supermarket, with one big exception:

Dollar General doesn't sell fresh produce.

Consumer Reports compared prices on 38 products that consumers use every day with other discount store prices.

They found that Dollar General had the lowest prices of most and that it even beat Walmart's prices in many categories.

Dollar General stores appeal to consumers seeking convenience in addition to saving.

The stores are smaller and located in more urban areas than, say, a Walmart Supercenter, and therefore are easier to get in and out in a jiffy.

Don't have time to shop?

Dollar General offers online shopping and shipping straight to your door where your manufacturer and digital coupons can save you money in addition to your valued time.

You can utilize the company's app for Dollar General coupons, to sign-up by e-mail for weekly flyers, or clip manufacturer coupons from circulars in your newspaper, just to name a few ways to save at Dollar General.

Dollar General could help you think bigger. Every dollar you save on staple items is an extra dollar toward your vacation fund.

The Competition

In terms of product, prices, and customer base, Dollar General operates in close competition with Walmart.

dollar general vs walmart

Yes, there are other dollar discount stores. Namely, Dollar Tree, which recently purchased Family Dollar.

But in terms of product variety (except for anything fresh) and pricing, Walmart is a larger competitor to Dollar General.

Everyone's familiar with Walmart discount stores.

Since its founding in 1962, Walmart has grown to more than 5,000 stores nationwide and owns the title as America's biggest retailer. They operate Neighborhood Markets, Supercenters, and Sam's Clubs.

You can shop a variety of brands. Walmart sells over 140,000 brands alone, far surpassing the number of brands represented at Dollar General stores.

Walmart stores start out at 30,000 square feet (that's on the small end of the spectrum), which is over four times the size of a Dollar General store.

If you didn't know it already, Walmart sells nearly everything, perhaps only topped by "the everything store," also known as Amazon.

Walmart is truly a one-stop-shop.

They sell health and beauty products, fresh produce and meat, clothing, electronics, cell-phone plans, books, children's toys, auto parts and more.

This plays a large factor in its customer appeal and convenience.

The Question Everyone Is Asking Now

Is it worth it to shop at Dollar General?

The question every consumer wants to know before hitting up a discount store like Dollar General is, "are the savings really worth it?"

The simple answer?

Yes, they are.

Research by Consumer Reports found that Dollar General had the lowest prices of most of the competition, beating out Walmart's prices in many categories.

Household staples are cheaper. Susan Shain at The Penny Hoarder website shopped and shared her savings at Dollar General, giving us some great insight on prices of basic household items.

Here's what she found and our comparison Walmart's online prices:

  • Toilet paper: 12 rolls of Cottonelle= $6 (compared with $6.99 at Walmart)
  • Body wash: 12-ounce bottle of Suave Essentials Body Wash= $1.85 (compared with $1.88 at Walmart)
  • Laundry detergent: 100 ounces of Gain= $8.95 (compared with $9.97 at Walmart)
  • Coffee: 30.6 ounces of Maxwell House=$5.95 (compared with $6.93 at Walmart)

Savings add up. Just on the four items above you can save $3 off your total bill at Dollar General compared with its competitor.

Now imagine if you had a list of items you needed to purchase.

Your savings would grow with each item added to your shopping cart.

Sure, you won't always find substantially higher or lower cost comparisons between Dollar General and other discount stores.

But, when you calculate your savings over time, you'll see the savings add up.

These sort of micro-savings add up to big sums, which you can apply towards paying off credit card debt growing your emergency fund.

The Strengths

Dollar General has a one-up over supermarkets and its discount competitors alike.

The discount store's strengths stem from their convenience, store size, brands available, and low prices.

Large number of stores. Due to its significantly smaller store-size, Dollar General positions itself in urban areas because it doesn't require hundreds of thousands of square feet to open a store.

Because of its ability to open nearly anywhere, there are 14,000 stores in 44 states as of August 2017.

In other words, consumers don't have to drive far distances or enter megastores to grab a few items in a jiffy.

Wide selection of national brands. While Dollar General owns its own brand of products called "DG," they also carry dozens of major label brands.

In addition to many more big name brands, you'll find beloved products from these massive companies:

  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Kimberly Clarke
  • Unilever
  • Kellogg's
  • General Mills
  • Pepsi Co.
  • Coca-Cola
  • Hanes

Having access to so many international companies means you can shop at Dollar General for discounted prices and receive the same quality you would have had you bought at Walmart or another supermarket.

Low prices with promoted discounts. You can't beat discount prices for staple items.

Their private label, DG, offers even cheaper priced household items from toilet paper to canned goods.

Dollar General goes a bit further with its discounts by offering weekly coupons, manufacturer coupons for DG brands, weekly circulars in your newspaper, and digital coupons both online and in-app.

online coupon use on the rise

They even offer a weekly promotion that gives you $5 off any Saturday purchase of $25 or more.

Variety of products. Dollar General stores carry a huge assortment of goods.

They sell beauty products, over the counter drugs, home goods, party supplies, holiday decor, and non-perishable foods.

The Weaknesses

Dollar General is weak because of its lack of food and produce

While you can find many shelf-stable food items like the kid-favorite Mac n' Cheese and Hamburger Helper, when it comes down to feeding yourself with fresh goods like produce, meat, cheese, and veggies, your options are limited.

Lack fresh produce (fresh anything). Dollar General's major competitor outperforms when it comes to the major category of produce.

Families and individuals looking for a one-stop-shop can't find that at Dollar General because most of its stores lack the facility to offer fresh produce.

Looking for fruit or veggies?

You most likely won't find these items at your local Dollar General.

The good news is that the store has taken note, and as of August 2017, 60 stores were remodeled in order to meet this market need.

Produce Retailer reports that these stores "were producing three to four times" more performance than the other Dollar General stores remodeled without the enhanced produce offerings, according to Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos.

That means you should keep an eye out or ask the manager at your local Dollar General to see if it's going to be remodeled soon.

Misleading name. There are other discount dollar stores out there that represent their name better than Dollar General and sell items for $1.

You may enter a Dollar General expecting to find everything you need for a buck, but that isn't the case most of the time.

If you're on the search for dollar goods, you're better off shopping at another dollar store.

Poor brand perception. Let's set the record straight.

Saving money benefits everyone.

From lower-income individuals to people making six-figures, saving on everyday items allows you to put your hard-earned money to better use.

2016 savings rate with employer match

After the recession in 2008, discount stores saw an increase in sales because consumers had low confidence in the economy.

Once the economy started to get back on track and people felt more comfortable spending their money, they started to return to their old shopping habits.

Dollar General and other discount stores are perceived as a place to shop if you are strapped for cash, and are often located in areas with lower-income families.

As the chain continues to grow into more neighborhoods and position itself in urban areas, the brand perception might change.

Why You May Need to Shop at Dollar General

You should shop at Dollar General if you want to spend your money on experiences rather than things.

Most of the items we purchase from grocery stores or supermarkets are either disposable or staple goods.

No one wants to spend their hard earned money on expensive garbage bags or gift-wrapping paper.

With financial goals in mind, shopping at Dollar General can help you.

current american financial goals

Save for financial goals. Shop at Dollar General discount store for all of your household needs and you can help your savings account accumulate quicker than without.

Spend less on disposable items and use that money for travel and experiences rather than expensive items to fill your cupboards and pantry.

Make better use of your money. For example, if you shop for laundry detergent, toilet paper, cereal, and coffee at Dollar General twice a month for a year you will save $104 by the end of the year.

Factor in all other household staples, holiday decor, and various items you purchase in a year and you will save hundreds more.

That $104 could buy you a one-way ticket on a flash sale at Southwest, Frontier, or Spirit Airlines!

Saving on items that you will inevitably purchase again and again can help you purchase experiences like travel or concert tickets rather than expensive razors and Christmas gift-wrap paper.

About the Company

Dollar General was founded 75 years ago by J.L. Turner (among others), who only passed out of the third grade.

This limited education has guided and inspired Dollar General's goal of educating the 40 million adults in the United States that can't read or write well enough to apply for a job.

Dollar General promotes literacy. Since its founding in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has helped 7.9 million people advance their literacy, prepare for the GED, and learn English.

literate and illiterate world population

According to their website, Dollar General has donated more than $127 million to nonprofit organizations and schools to help people learn to read and write.

Dollar General grant programs are available in every state where a Dollar General store is located.

As the store continues to expand, these opportunities continue to grow, too.

What Dollar General Does

Dollar General operates as a discount store, selling a variety of brands and products for less than your neighborhood market.

In addition to discounts, the store offers convenience, online shopping, customer service and more.

Dollar General aims to make your shopping experience hassle-free and inexpensive.

Hassle-free shopping. Dollar General carefully selects its inventory to promote sales of widely purchased goods.

You won't find frills at its locations and can get in-and-out quickly with the store layout promoting an easy and efficient shopping experience.

Ways to save. Other than savings on everything it sells compared to a typical supermarket, Dollar General offers additional savings with its coupon program.

You can view Dollar General coupons in-store, on the website www.DollarGeneral.com, in its app, or in the weekly flier in your local newspaper.

You can even sign up to receive a text full of Dollar General coupons.

Just text "SIGNUP" to 34898.

How much easier does it get?

Customer satisfaction is key. Dollar General seeks full customer satisfaction as a way to promote customer service and encourage consumers to return to their stores.

Dollar General, unlike some other discount dollar stores, has a free return policy.

They accept returns on all purchased items.

If you find yourself unsatisfied with a product purchased at Dollar General, you have 30 days to return the item for a full refund in-store and online.

What People Love

Personal finance expert and financial blogger Lauren Greutman loves finding ways to save on all products and discovered those savings aren't always where you think.

"Inside Dollar General stores you can find hidden gems that you would be paying almost 2-3 times more in a posh/upscale store," she writes.

Dollar General prices its inventory low every day. That alone is a reason to step foot in Dollar General's doors and see how you can save today.

Save on holidays. Why spend money on wrapping paper or gift bags that are going to end up in the garbage anyway?

You can save on greeting cards, holiday cards, and even brand name candy for Halloween, traditional chocolates on Valentine's day, and party decorations for the 4th of July.

Save on cleaning supplies. Dollar General sells it all.

Need to clean your bathroom, kitchen, cabinets, floors, lighting fixtures?

Dollar General has what you need and for cheaper than the Kroger store down the street.

Don't forget any Dollar General coupon for extra savings!

Save on school supplies. Dollar General sells a wide variety of school supplies.

Does your kid need to make a project for a book report?

Skip the trip to a craft store and pick up your paper, glue, scissors, and other supplies at your local Dollar General.

Save on disposable items. Women spend thousands of dollars in their lifetime on feminine hygiene products.

Dollar General sells them for less.

Save on razors, band-aids, pregnancy tests, q-tips, and other items you use.

Save on toiletries. From shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream—Dollar General's got it.

toiletry industry revenues

Biggest Consumer Complaints

The biggest consumer complaints about Dollar General is the store customer service.

Since Dollar General is a corporate store, customers and employees alike are encouraged to share their opinions.

Many customer complaints stem from the environment of the stores.

Poor customer service. Some guests report experiences with rude and unprofessional staff, as reported by the website Consumer Affairs.

A customer in Providence, Rhode Island reports the staff being "disrespectful and unkind" toward customers in the store.

Another guest in Cottageville, South Carolina complained of rude employees not performing their job at the register.

She waited at the register and received no service until she finally left the store in frustration.

Key Digital Services

Dollar General has more than just in-store shopping.

The Dollar General app, or "DG app," allows you to search for product deals, digital coupons, weekly savings, and even lets you shop online.

Get the Dollar General app in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

The app helps you stay on top of deals and discounts.

Not only will the app allow you to shop online, but you can search weekly coupons and discounts and save them directly to your phone.

You can use these in-stores or online.

The app can also connect with your GPS and offers directions to your nearest Dollar General store to put your coupon savings to use.

Store digital coupons on the app. After you download the app, you can begin searching for the weekly saving deals and find Dollar General Coupons.

a new way to save even more

Simply select the coupon you want to use and it will save with all the other coupons you want to use.

Every Dollar General will accept coupons from the app.

Present the cashier with digital coupons, then they will scan your phone screen, and you'll see your savings accumulate.

Don't overlook the website. In addition to shopping online through the app, you can shop online through your web browser at www.DollarGeneral.com.

Search and shop hundreds of items with the same discounts available through Dollar General digital coupons.

Simply pay for shipping (sometimes it's free if you spend a certain amount) and receive your goods straight to your door!

How to Get Started

Go to Dollar General's website, www.DollarGeneral.com and check out the prices for the goods you often purchase at the grocery store.

Make a list. Make a grocery list and write down Dollar General's prices listed on their website.

Compare them with Walmart, Target, or Amazon if you prefer online shopping.

If you're not impressed by the low prices, take that same grocery list with Dollar General's prices and compare them with your normal supermarket.

You will definitely find many items available at Dollar General discount store for significantly less than you've been paying.

Use the store locator. If you've wowed yourself by seeing all the items you can get for a discounted price, use the store locator on the Dollar General website or simply type it into your search engine to find the location nearest you.

Shop online. Shop directly online at www.DollarGeneral.com and apply coupons directly from its website.

Search hundreds of products available in-stores from the comfort of your couch.

You'll pay a little more than if you shop in-store because you'll have to pay shipping costs, but any coupons or weekly savings deals can still be applied to online purchases.

Dollar General even offers shipping promotions, so if you spend enough you don't have to pay any extra for the convenience of having your goods delivered right to your door.

FAQ

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Dollar General

  • What are Dollar General store hours?

    Generally, stores are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. However, store hours may vary by location and on holidays.

  • Is there a Dollar General store located near me?

    Dollar General's website has a Store Locator tool to help find a store near you.

    You can also search Dollar General in your search engine, or download the Dollar General app and find a nearby store with directions, too.

  • Does Dollar General accept debit/credit cards?

    Dollar General accepts Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit cards, as well as PIN-based debit cards in all of its stores and online.

  • How do I find promotions, discounts, and coupons?

    You can sign up with your email address on the website, www.DollarGeneral.com, and receive up-to-date saving offers.

    You can also find the company by downloading its app in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

    Coupons and mailers are also kept in the stores near the entrance.

  • Who do I contact about a returned check?

    Contact Certegy (Dollar General's check authorization provider) at 1-866-407-6946.

  • What is the mailing address for Dollar General's Customer Service Department?

    Dollar General Corporation Customer Service Department

    100 Mission Ridge
    Goodlettsville, TN 37072

  • Who should I contact for information about a contribution request for Dollar General Literacy Program?

    For information about Dollar General's corporate giving programs visit the DG Literacy page or call the contributions hotline at (615) 855-5048.

  • What is Dollar General's coupon policy?

    Dollar General accepts both manufacturer's coupons and Dollar General coupons.

    Access Dollar General coupons in your local newspaper circulars, weekly fliers in store, and online.

    Sign up by texting "SIGNUP" to 34898 and receive offers and coupons directly to your phone.

  • Does Dollar General franchise its stores?

    No.

  • Does Dollar General offer wholesale pricing or bulk orders?

    No.

  • Are Dollar General stores expanding to my state?

    Dollar General continues to expand. Check their website, www.DollarGeneral.com, for a store near you.

Get more bang for your buck if you shop at Dollar General.

All in all, Dollar General gives more value to your dollar.

If you're interested in saving money for new toys or a vacation, then shopping at Dollar General makes it easy to save some extra cash.

Its value, brands of products, and a vast number of locations make it an easy option when compared to its discount store competitors.

Utilize weekly ads, add even more savings to your wallet, and spend your cash on what you want rather than products you need.

Do you shop at Dollar General?

How has the store worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.


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