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Penney responds to lawsuit over Burberry plaid
Mattel names new boss for Barbie business

It’s a ‘new Cold War,’ warns Russia PM

Bank of America chief gets a 23% pay raise
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I want my disabled sister out of our family home

Google exec squirms when questioned about pay

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Dispute over safety claims costs Uber $28.5 mln

What bear market? Stocks look likely to rise

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How I paid off my student loans early

College freshmen most liberal since Vietnam

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Why you probably won’t see 99 cent gas

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/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.13 -0.01 0.61%
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/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 113.25 +0.83 0.74%
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/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 +0.00 0.18%
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/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.99 +0.23 0.26%
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You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
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Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
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Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Why You’re Overpaying at the Dollar Store

iStockphoto

With frozen dinners, party balloons, shampoo and more priced at $1, the dollar store can seem like a great place for bargains. But that’s not quite true — and savvy shoppers are catching on.

Cash-strapped consumers have flocked to dollar stores — many of which defy their names by selling higher-priced items — since the recession hit, but now those stores are starting to see a slowdown, reports The Wall Street Journal. Several of the big chains said in quarterly earnings reports that they failed to meet expectations because customers are buying more low-profit items like food and cleaning supplies, and fewer high-profit ones such as clothes and home goods.

But coupon experts suspect at least part of the shift can be explained by the so-called “extreme couponing” trend that teaches shoppers to stack stores sales, coupons and other discounts to pay just pennies on the dollar for their purchases. “People are getting smarter,” says Teri Gault, founder of The Grocery Game. “Sales with coupons will almost always beat prices at dollar stores.” A shopper could get a 12-count box of Nature’s Valley granola bars for $0.79 at the grocery store with a sale and coupon, for example. On a per-bar cost, that’s 80% less than the dollar store price of $1 for a pack of four.

Beauty and healthcare products are an equally bad deal, says Stephanie Nelson, the founder of CouponMom.com. “I would never pay $1 for toothpaste,” she says. “You can get it for free at the drugstore with coupons.” Vitamins, razors and shampoo are other items easily snapped up free. There may also be quality concerns with such dollar store items, which may have been manufactured abroad or purchased from overstock lots that were stored improperly, she says.

There are still a few good dollar store deals, however. If you’re throwing a party, paper plates, tablecloths and plastic utensils are typically cheaper than at the grocery store, says Mary Hunt, the founder of DebtProofLiving.com. Small toys, balloons and candy for favors are cheap, too, while gift bags, wrapping paper and greeting cards can be half the price at drugstores and stationery stores.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (5 of 10)

View all Comments »
    • I tried the coupon thing I know people says it works just doesn’t work for me. guess I just don’t have the hang of it. I can be in and out of my dollar general in ten minutes. Wal.Mart is a 2hr. deal So I go to Wal-Mart every month and to Dollar General two three times a week.

    • Hello Linda,Thank you for your kind comments raigrdeng my book and the WSJ article. This is all very exciting stuff. Feel free to leave comments on the Shiny Objects Amazon page if you’re so moved. Say hi to ken.Happy Holidays,Jim

    • This morning Yahoo reprinted this story and have it as a link from the home page. In copying the story to their site, someone included a typo – “stationary” instead of “stationery” at the end.

      Just thought you might want someone to fix that, as it doesn’t look good for you, Kell.

    • Not true.. I shop there at least 2 times a week

    • It absolutely doesn’t take 90 minutes to find a coupon online. A quick google search can get you one in a minute, and there are also blogs that catalog all the available online coupons for you. Using coupons doesn’t make you extreme, nor does it take up all your time. On my last grocery trip, I bought $155 worth of merchandise for $69. I spent maybe 20 minutes of prep time, and that included actually going through the fridge and cupboards to make the list. As far as I’m concerned, that $86 saved on merchandise we’ll actually use in a reasonable amount of time was more than worth the time I put into getting my coupons ready.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
Investor Alert
need to know
Kohl's tells 3 top execs their positions are cut
Pope Francis in Cuba for historic meeting
Shake Shack plans to open in St. Louis
Zika vaccine is at least a year and a half away
10 big stories you’ve missed this week
Penney responds to lawsuit over Burberry plaid
Mattel names new boss for Barbie business

It’s a ‘new Cold War,’ warns Russia PM

Bank of America chief gets a 23% pay raise
Intel lured Qualcomm exec with $25 mln pay
CEO Jamie Dimon’s $26 mln bet on J.P. Morgan

I want my disabled sister out of our family home

Google exec squirms when questioned about pay

ECB may finally deal a deathblow to the €500 bill
Yen has crossed a ‘line in the sand’
Time for a coordinated response to the yuan?
Dollar to hit ¥95 by end of the year: Barclays

This can’t be why Apple made Beats deal with Dre

5 things to know about the Costco and AmEx breakup

How grocery business got ‘barbell’ shape

Dispute over safety claims costs Uber $28.5 mln

What bear market? Stocks look likely to rise

5 signs we might already be in a bear market
Looks like time for bottom fishing in stocks

Grammys make Memphis candy shop a winner

Economists increasingly see Fed hands as tied
What central-bank failures mean for investors
Have central banks lost market credibility?

How I paid off my student loans early

College freshmen most liberal since Vietnam

Big banks are fleeing the mortgage market
Big banks are fleeing the mortgage market
Boomers are loading up on debt, not millennials

Why you probably won’t see 99 cent gas

Taxpayers already paying for future Super Bowls

Beer’s incessant infighting clouds the big picture

How to buy a used car
The correct way to go about buying a used car

Don’t get smoked by your marijuana investment

Actually, the most popular new emoji isn’t the taco
/conga/frontpage.html 367881

Markets »

132.55MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 132.70M
Unchanged
134
Decliners
1500
Advancers
4873
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 15,974 +314 2.00%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,338 +71 1.66%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,865 +36 1.95%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,070 +23 1.11%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29.02 +2.81 10.72%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 5,708 +171 3.08%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 8,968 +215 2.45%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 3,995 +98 2.52%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 16,515 +742 4.70%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 7,921 +175 2.25%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 312 +9 2.91%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,385 -51 2.10%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 14,953 -761 4.84%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 18,320 -226 1.22%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 2,763 -18 0.63%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 22,986 +34 0.15%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,540 +2 0.07%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.13 -0.01 0.61%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 113.25 +0.83 0.74%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.45 +0.00 0.18%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.71 0.00 0.04%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 95.97 +0.36 0.38%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.99 +0.23 0.26%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 1.75 0.00 0.00%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.26 +0.07 37.97%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.64 -0.08 4.67%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 1.74 -0.04 2.01%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.42 0.00 0.00%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.08 0.00 0.00%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2260836/delayed 29 +3 10.72%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/33772884/delayed 1,239 -9 0.75%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/25518691/delayed 359 -1 0.35%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/48241424/delayed 15,925 +313 2.00%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/43106711/delayed 1,860 +36 1.95%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/32655632/delayed 16 0 0.03%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 102.01 0.10 0.10%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 93.99 0.29 0.31%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/59527964/composite 682.40 -0.71 -0.10%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 11.95 0.79 7.08%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 37.54 2.56 7.32%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 11.55 0.38 3.40%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 36.47 0.26 0.72%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 29.02 1.38 4.99%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 28.26 0.81 2.95%
Visit the quote page and your most recently viewed stocks will automatically be displayed here.
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Rates »

5 yr CD
1.3%
2 yr CD
0.7%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.2%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.96% 11.96% 11.62%
Business 13.12% 13.12% 12.85%
Student 13.42% 13.42% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.35% 14.35% 14.12%
Airline 15.17% 15.17% 15.10%
Cash Back 15.20% 15.26% 15.27%
Reward 15.25% 15.28% 15.14%
Instant Approval 18.02% 18.21% 18.00%
Bad Credit 22.56% 22.88% 22.73%
Source:CreditCards.com

SPONSORED SECTIONS

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  • /quotes/zigman/4475302/composite HII+2.23%
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