4 Tips for Shopping at the $0.99 Only Store

by Jess on June 15, 2011

99 Cent Shopping TripAbout once a week I drop in the 99 Cent Only store to explore the produce selection and yesterday it occured to me…do my readers know what kind of amazing deals can be found here?!? My local store carries an extensive produce selection that is always changing daily and at only $0.99, the prices often can’t be beat. I’ve even scored organic produce there too.

Check out my latest trip pictured above, versus the cost of the same items at Vons (Safeway):

(2) Hydroponic Butter Lettuce – $0.99 each (Vons: $3.99 each)
(3) San Luis Sliced Sourdough Bread – $0.99 each (Vons: $4.99 each)
(1) Guerro Corn Tortillas – $0.99 (Vons: $1.99)
(1) Limes, 3-lb. – $0.99 (Vons: $3.29)
(1) Garlic, 4-ct. – $0.99 (Vons:: $0.50 each)
(1) Blackberries, 6-oz. – $0.99 (Vons: $3.99)
(1) Cilantro, 3-bunches – $0.99 (Vons: $0.99 per bunch)

99¢ Only Total: $10.00 | Vons Total: $37.19
Total Savings: 73%

4 Tips for Shopping at the 99¢ Only Store:

 

  1. Watch expiration dates.
    A lot of the items that make their way to this discount store have a short shelf life so always be sure to read the expiration dates on products before throwing them in your cart. This is especially true with perishables, such as produce.
  2. Ask when deliveries are made for the best selection.
    Because the selection of items is always changing, if you know when deliveries are made you can often get first dibs on name brand products & produce. At my store, fresh produce is delivered every other day and dry goods come in on Tuesday & Thursday. Knowing this has helped me snag some awesome finds, like the San Luis Soudough Bread I snatched up for just $0.99. I’ve had great success with freezing bread, so I picked up an extra two to throw in the freezer.
  3. Not everything is a good deal – look at unit size.
    As you become more familiar with price points and sale cycles at your local grocery store, you’ll start to notice that some of the “deals” found at your local 99 cent store are far from great. When it comes to refrigerated grocery items, which are often sold in smaller sizes than what you might find at the regular store, look at the unit size. Does it make sense to buy it for $0.99? What do you usually pay at the grocery store with a sale and coupon?
  4. Don’t stock up until you try it.
    One time I thought I majorly scored on several 3-count boxes of microwave “caramel” flavored popcorn made by a name brand. Caramel popcorn, that has to be tasty right? It would have been, if each bag didn’t catch on fire in the microwave. Sometimes there is a reason products end up at the discount store.

What hidden treasures have you found at the 99¢ store? Do you have any additional tips for shopping at the dollar store? Share below!


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn June 15, 2011 at 10:29 am

How cool! I wish we had a store like this! We do have Dollar Tree, but they don’t have produce. I do love their $1 breads and tortillas though. :)
I have been buying through http://www.bountifulbaskets.org twice a month and also like to check at Natural Grocers often because they usually have $1 markdown produce and dairy! :)

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Liz June 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

I LOVE the 99 cents only store! Great tips that you’ve offered here and you are right, some things are NOT such a great deal. Yes, check expiration dates and unit sizes because some things are too small to make them worth even $1. Only downside is some of the customers can get nasty when the good deals come out. One lady in particular gets like a bulldog (heheh). I have found amazing deals there recently such as:
-Organic Tahini 16 oz jars
-Organic 3pk Romaine lettuce
-Organic tomatoes
-Oscar Mayer Shaved Deli meat 16oz. packages
-Planters Flavor Grove Almonds 8 oz. packs
-Full size plants and flowers (beautiful calla lilies last week!)
and many more deals!!!

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Amanda June 15, 2011 at 10:41 am

I once got St Ives apricot scrub I was sooo happy

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Jennifer Lee June 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

I have come across some AWESOME deals in the beauty aisle at my local store. Most recently, I purchased Bio Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner (lower sulfate) for a buck a piece. I came home and checked it out and the same shampoo and conditioner sells for 10.99 – 14.99 per bottle at Walgreens. WOW. I find great buys like this all the time. My best advice is to KNOW your products and what they cost at a regular store. You just never know what you might find. Oh, my local store gets JONES soda quite often. It’s .59 per bottle. If you buy a bottle at the gas station it’s like 2.50 per bottle.=)

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Kim June 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

Does anyone know if they take manufacturer coupons? Thanks!

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Jess June 15, 2011 at 11:53 am

They do not :(

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Victoria June 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I buy my sunglasses there! Name brand, priced at $15+, and since I always lose or scratch sunglasses, this has been great for me :)

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Britt June 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

just last weekend I SCORED the Nestle 4pk ice cream cones there. I bought 3 boxes. Once I got home I wish I had bought more because they were good, but I didn’t have enough room in my freezer. I went back the next day and no surprise…… they were all gone. So are the ones at home. :(

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Tracy June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I went there the other day and was thinking about all the items I used to purchase there, before I started couponing. Many of these items seem expensive at $1 now! I must be doing something right!! I do still buy a lot of produce from them. My best deals were Costco sized packages of organic lettuce and large size Toblerone bars! I’ve also scored some great scrapbooking supply deals.

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sel June 16, 2011 at 12:10 am

im w/ tracy, 99cents now seems soo expensive. usually 1.00 is my max threshold for the value of something i would ever spend. today, i did go into the store and saw a lot of produce and organic items as u mentioned.
i usually find the local mexican grocery stores to be great places for produce. today i got peaches for 1.00/4lbs, cabbage 1.00/10 lbs, lettuce 1.00/4, organic radish and green onions 1.00/8. i can always price match this at target too.

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Karen June 16, 2011 at 7:31 am

Oh, you are SO lucky your store has San Luis bread, I have never seen it in my store, and I am there ALL the time!! Great deals, but you are right, with coupons we can get some stuff even less than $1!! Lots of my friends will not “lower” themselves to shop there, but they are missing out!!

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Jess June 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

I just started noticing it at my store about a month ago! It’s hit and miss, but I always get super excited whenever I see it. I loooooove San Luis bread!

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Kimberly Eazell June 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

My dad (who passed in Nov.) LOVED the 99 cent store. He asked them when their shipments came in and most them are all the same. He would go on Tues. Thurs and Saturdays. Fresh fruits and veggies. I go a couple times of week too. I love the sweet peppers. They are $3.99 to $4.99 at Vons and Ralphs and bell peppers can be a bargin too. And I love when they get new products that haven’t even hit the regular stores yet. Or when a package changes and they get the old packaging. Who cares’ same product.
I just love this store.

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betsy shipley June 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I have a 99 cent only store nearby and have found:
Del Cabo organic grape tomatoes that are by far the best tasting tomatoes I have eaten except for the ones I grew back in Mich. They are very sweet and need nothing else. I have written to Del Cabo expressing my thanks for their great product since the same item sells at Ralphs for over $3.00!
I have gotten the large 1 lb. Earthbound organic spring mix salad greens and spinach.
Re the garlic, it probably comes from China so I prefer to purchase mine at the farmers’ market or grow my own.
Occasionally will find organic Imagine vegetarian soups or broth!
Occasionally Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes 32 oz.
So all in all if one is careful and carefully look over the produce, one can find a great bargain.
Today they had parchment paper.

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