How to Penny Shop at Dollar General Stores

how to penny shop at dollar general buy products for pennies

According to a recent study, sixty-five percent of Americans don’t know how much money they spent last month. Even though money is listed as the main source of stress for forty-four percent of people, fewer people track their spending habits than ever before. 

Of course, this could be because money is stressing them out, so instead of tracking it, they choose to ignore it. This can lead to many other problems down the line, such as missing bills or running out of money because they weren’t budgeting. 

If you’re one of those people that find budgeting gives you peace of mind, or you would like to jump on that wagon, you’re in the right place. Finding deals can get you what you need much cheaper (for a penny, perhaps?), and it can be an enjoyable experience along the way. 

Keep reading to learn the tips and tricks on how to penny shop at Dollar General and find unbelievable deals you would have never thought existed. 

What Is Penny Shopping? 

If you’re new to this world of finding amazing deals, you’re probably wondering what penny shopping even is. When products are older or out of season, they get marked in Dollar General’s system as an item that needs to be taken off the shelves. 

The way they get marked is by making them a penny in their system. So, if you were to find these products and attempt to buy them before the sale associates remove them from the shelves, your product would ring up as just $0.01! 

It’s a bit of a scavenger hunt to get started because these products are never marked as a penny for the customer to see. But, once you know the ins and outs, you’ll be able to load up on a ton of cool stuff and save a bunch of money. 

Look for the Codes 

One of the most helpful penny shopping tips is knowing the codes for how they mark discounted items. First, look at the codes underneath the barcode. They will be labeled by both the year and the season in which they were first released. 

So, you will see something like this for each item: 

• SP – Spring 
• SU – Summer 
• FA – Fall 
• WI – Winter 
• 18 – 2018 
• 19 – 2019 
• 20 – 2020 
• 21 – 2021 

If you want a product with the symbol “SU18” on it, chances are it’s going to be discounted. If the item is older, there is a higher chance it will ring up as a penny, but it is never guaranteed. 

Another sign you can look for is the colored stickers on the products. You’ll find these located on the tags, ranging from different colors and shapes such as: 

• Blue Circle 
• Pink Circle 
• Red Circle 
• Pink Star 
• Purple Diamond 

Each color and shape refers to a specific discount, ranging from 10% to 90%. Each store uses its own system, so you won't know right away which code means 90% for your particular store. Once you work it out, you can come back in a week or two and see that item will most likely ring up as a penny. 

Try a Scanner 

When learning how to penny shop, it may seem overwhelming to learn all of the codes without even being sure it actually is a penny. One tool you can use is a scanner, which you can download on your phone through the app store for both Android and iOS devices. 

There are many different types of scanners, and some are specifically made for penny shopping at Dollar General. When you scan the product’s barcode, it will ring up as it would when you purchase it, so you’ll know ahead of time if it is truly a penny product. 

Another great perk of using scanners is that you will be able to find other great bargain deals of the week besides penny shopping, and you can access different store’s deals as well. 

Check Out Penny Lists 

Since penny shopping was discovered, there have been resources created to help the avid bargain hunter on their quest to uncover the penny products. Every month or so, the list of penny products gets leaked to the general public, and some sites are in the business of updating those who are in the need to know this information. 

It doesn’t always mean the store you go to will follow these lists absolutely, but finding these deals can help you save time by looking for the particular products you already know are most likely going to be a penny. 

Final Tips and Tricks 

There are a few disclaimers you should know before you start your penny shopping journey. The most important thing to remember is that these penny deals exist for a reason. These products are old, and Dollar General intends to take them off the shelves and throw them out. 

Therefore, if you happen to find them, they aren’t obligated to sell them to you. But for the most part, it’s a win-win for both parties, as the store is getting rid of the products by selling them to you anyways, and you get it for practically free. 

It is up to the discretion of the employee working at the time, so keep it in mind, and don’t argue with them if they refuse to sell it to you for the penny price. 

Otherwise, there are some tips you should keep in mind when beginning to penny shop. Asking the employees where the penny deals are won't help you, because they won’t show you. In fact, they’ll probably try to hurry to take them off the shelves before you find them at Dollar General stores. 

Similarly, it's not wise to ask for a price check, because they’ll tell you it’s an unsellable item since they were supposed to take it off the shelves a while ago. You don't want to sabotage your frugal finds.

Instead, fill your cart up with product and go to the check out normally. Be nice to the Dollar General employees, and you’ll have a much better chance of them selling it to you for that penny price. 

How to Penny Shop at Dollar General Smarter

Now that you know how to penny shop at Dollar General, it’s time to put these tips into practice! Learn the codes, look at the lists, and keep in mind that nothing is exactly guaranteed when penny shopping at dollar stores

You could be the owner of some pretty cool products and only spend a few cents, which, who wouldn’t want that? If you enjoyed this article on how to do penny shopping at dollar stores and found it helpful, check out more of our frugal shopper posts today!

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