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You don’t have to be a bargain hunter to enjoy shopping at a dollar store. You just have to enjoy saving a little money and perusing the aisles for almost anything you could possibly want for your home. The simple fact that everything costs a dollar is a bonus.

Of course, if you are a big fan of your local dollar store, you realize that there are some items that are going to cost more than a dollar. If you look around enough, however, you soon realize that it is possible to spend less and still get the same thing that you would at another department store.

Photo: flickr/Mike Mozart

Considering the fact that dollar stores keep their prices so cheap, you may wonder how they are able to turn a profit. In many cases, it has to do with our perception of what is cheap.

According to How Stuff Works, you really have to do the math to determine whether you are getting a bargain or not at your local dollar store. At times, they might sell a smaller version of the same thing that is more expensive than at another department store or a grocery store.

For example, you might pay a few dollars for toilet paper at your local grocery store but at the dollar store, you get it for a dollar. In most cases, however, the dollar store is going to sell you the brand name toilet paper that has far fewer sheets.

Photo: flikr/Random Retail

Other items may be exactly the same, except you are getting fewer ounces. This is true of everything from milk to your favorite soda. Sure, you may get a bargain here or there and they do have some attractive items on the shelf to entice you, but don’t let that fool you, they are making a great profit.

You also need to consider the people who shop at dollar stores. There are people of all types but in some cases, families that aren’t able to purchase larger quantities will go to the dollar store to get a bargain. This is true for people who tend to live from one check to the next. It’s nice to be able to buy something for a dollar, even if you’re getting less.


The dollar stores understand that low-income shoppers make up some of their most loyal customers. That is why they will often open stores in low-income communities to make it easy for them to access the items. It isn’t just to help them out and offer them convenience, it’s because that is where the profit is.

When a dollar store moves into a low-income neighborhood, it often creates a bubble where most people do their shopping at the store. In doing so, they will sometimes keep people from traveling to other grocery stores in the area. Some communities are regulating this practice in order to keep the other stores open and offer other options.

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