question mark on how to find penny items on our own

What the Different Colored Dots Mean at Dollar General

Dollar General has different colored dots and other symbols on their merchandise.  For the most part these items labeled in this way are seasonal. As the items decrease in price, so the staff knows when to pull it.

Items that are on sale are pulled after they reach their lowest price (1 cent), but if you happen to find them at the store, you can still buy them.

Getting an understanding of the color labels and shapes is great because it’s the key to getting great deals.

Once the items begin to go down in cost, social media (FB and You Tube) start to buzz about the many clearance, sales, and major drop in cost and you’ll be able score a few incredible bargains.

Dollar General is a chain of discount stores that offers a variety of different items for shoppers to purchase. With their low prices, sometimes you can get items for as little as $1 or less. The stores are also known for having good deals on seasonal items, such as Thanksgiving decorations and Christmas stockings.

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DG Label Code and Meaning

F Fall

SS Spring/Summer

FW Fall/Winter

BTS Back to School

SP Spring 

MH – Must have

The labels will be on a tag or near the UPC code.

Dollar General Color, Shapes & Symbols Codes.

Blue, green, grey, yellow, white dot – clothes and accessories

Red, green square, blue, yellow- shoes

Green and grey star on t-shirts, shirts folded in packaging, regular hanging clothes.

Clovers- red, green, purple home items, socks

Grey, green diamond socks etc.

For more symbols, see the links I provide in the resources section.

Dollar General blue tag label

This is a blue dot tag. Some blue dots are on clothes, shoes, accessories, and hats. This shows that it is Fall 2021.

If you have the DG app, scan the bar code and it will show half off. (430001517908)

Blue dot gag dollar general

This $12.50 item will be half off in stores that sell hanging clothes and 1.87 in stores that sell clothes that is about to remodel. The scanner shows reg. $6.25 but the original price was $12.50. This product is 50% off in stores that are not going to remodel yet. FW21 clothes have been 50% for awhile. 

DG Yellow Circle code for clothing

This is a yellow dot which is SS22 or Spring Summer. 

Yellow dot tag dollar general
DG Grey Dot tag code

This is a grey dot from Fall 2020. This is now a penny item. Fall 2021 (F21) grey dot items will also be a penny. If you scan your DG app, you will see 0.00 or 0.01. Scan or enter the UPC which is 430001296940 located on the tag. Grey dot can be found on hanging clothes, winter clothes, and accessories. There is new grey dot out so make sure it says F21 or an earlier year.

grey dot tag dollar general tag symbols

UPC # is 430001519797. In a store I visited that is about to remodel this top is .75 cents. This is a V neck ladies Tee. Other stores are showing $2.50.

Green star dollar general
DG color codes
  • Clover red- mainly in NCI stores. These are stores that have remodeled to become more of their non-seasonal along with more home type items without hanging clothes. This can be found in the home section.
  • Clover green- mainly in NCI stores and home decor.
  • Green dot- Home items like pillows, blankets, home decor, plates, and kitchen accessories.
  • Red Square- summer shoes, some red square shoes have pennied but not all of them. 
  • Pink Square- summer toys, swim-type items. These are 50% off
  • Lawn and Garden items
  • F21 – this is hanging clothes that are blue, accessories like purses and wallets, and shoes.
  • Yellow dot- Includes hanging clothes, shoes, hats, caps, and accessories.
  • Green star- also in hanging clothes.
  • Stores about to remodel (turning into an NCI store) hanging clothes will be much cheaper. I just shopped at one in my area and some of their clothes are 90% off.
Purple dot

Purple dot at dollar general is now a penny(2022). If your store has not pulled them and you see one, it’s the best deal you can get! Scan the code below. It should show 01 or 0.00. Both indicate it’s a penny.

Dollar General color codes on items and meaning
purple dot plant tag dollar general

This is a visual of the green square. Some of the red square shoes were a penny last year.  As you can see it says FW21 (Fall 2021). 

red square tag for house shoes dollar general

The green square shoes. Last year the green square was discounted but I don’t see any in my stores. 

green square shoe dollar general
Red Clover
red lover tag at dollar general
Exceptions: Some Items May not be a Penny

It’s important to be aware that certain items may be excluded from the penny pricing. Therefore, it’s advisable to check your app before making a purchase. YMMV (Your mileage may vary), as the store may have different prices than what you see on the app. This is why scanning items is crucial.

In my experience, I encountered a store that was undergoing remodeling. When I inquired about the prices of clothes, the manager informed me that they would be cheaper than the app’s listed prices. She wanted to clear out the inventory quickly, resulting in incredibly low prices. I was able to purchase packs of underwear for just 50 cents, winter jackets and hoodies for only 75 cents, and many other items priced even cheaper than the app. Naturally, I ended up spending a significant amount of money that day due to the incredibly low prices.

raspberry, berries, twig-7630520.jpg

Occasionally, you might come across an item that should be cheap or priced at a penny, but it scans at a higher price. This can happen because some items are excluded from the penny deals, or it could be due to a price reset.

 I’ve encountered old penny items that appeared as one cent in my app, but at the register, they either rang up as unavailable or full price. Unfortunately, cashiers have to adhere to what the register shows, so there’s not much you can do in such situations. However, some cashiers might kindly honor the intended price and provide you with the item at the discounted rate.

Update on current Dollar General Clearance event
Unraveling Dollar General's Tag and Color Code Symbols: A Guide for Savvy Shoppers Q & A

Are you curious about the yellow dots, brown dots, or clover symbols you’ve spotted on the price tags during your trips to Dollar General? Do you wonder about their meaning? This Q&A article will provide a comprehensive understanding of the tag and color code system at Dollar General. With this newfound knowledge, you’ll be equipped to find the best deals and spot penny items at the store.

Why the Symbols and Color Codes

At Dollar General, each tag symbol represents a specific season or purpose. The different colors, including yellow, green, brown, blue, gray, and purple dots, are indicative of certain discount rates or sales events. The clover and diamond symbols are also representative of certain offers or deals.

Items at Dollar General don’t instantaneously decrease to a penny. As we transition into Spring, the prices of Fall and Winter items begin a gradual decline. Dollar General may initiate a series of discounts starting at 25% off, followed by 50% off, and sometimes even offering deals such as buy one, get one free. Eventually, these reductions reach 70%, then escalate to 90%, and finally, the items might drop to just a penny.

Currently (May 2023) the winter/fall items are a penny.  As well as BTS (back to school), Blue and Gray dot.

Once it pennies, the employees suppose to pull them (see here for more info). If they miss or don’t, you can snag it for 1 cent. It’s not a sale. PLEASE DON’T ASK THEM WHERE IS THE PENNY STUFF. It is not supposed to be known. You scan the items with the DG app (more info here) and purchase it.

red triangle symbol dollar general

Red Triangle

This color code falls under the winter season. These are the winter socks.

Gray dot book at Dollar General is a penny

Gray Dot

Gray dot is also part of winter which consist of journal books, accessories, winter wear (hats, gloves), clothing.

blue dot tag with cheaper price dollar general

Blue Dot

Blue is also Fall/Winter and consists of Journal books, clothes, shoes, accessories, and some pillows.

Other Color and non-symbols that follow Fall/Winter

This year, calendars, novelty gift items, back-to-school items such as pins, markers, some backpacks and planner books are also subject to the Fall/Winter pricing trend. To explore and discover these items, Facebook Groups prove to be an excellent resource. Numerous individuals within these groups share pictures and provide UPC numbers, allowing others to easily locate and identify the desired items. Here are some of the items I was able to snag for just a penny!

Novalty items at dollar general

Items like this are often seen during Christmas time. Now they are a penny. This is an exception to the rule because they have a brown dot.

winter wear dollar general seasonal clearance, penny items.

These items are gray dot  Fruit of the Loom. They follow winter wear. This is why it’s important to follow groups to see exactly what has reduced in price or pennied. 

Calendars and planners at dollar general are reduced in price.

Calendars and planners are found in display boxes. These could be in the aisle of the cards or near an end cap. Just look everywhere!

Car gadgets, dollar general

The back-to-school season encompasses a wide range of items, including books, pens, and even car gadgets, flash lights etc. Alongside these, there are other winter items like cords, although I don’t have any pictures available at the moment. However, you can find these items and more by exploring Facebook groups dedicated to such deals. Personally, I find it enjoyable to review pictures of the items before embarking on my penny shopping adventures. It helps me plan and identify the items I’m interested in getting.

Brown Dot Items
Brown dot basket dollar general.

Brown dot items encompass a variety of products such as towels, cups, homeware, rolled-up blankets, fleece, rugs, blankets, and hooded towels, cloth storage containers. On the other hand, certain appliances like air fryers, waffle makers, slow cookers, and more sometimes follow brown dot.  To know if it does this year watch the price. Once brown dot prices go down, scan the appliances. If it drops too then it will possibly be a penny when the brown dot pennies. 

Other Colored Dots

Red Dot

pillow and picture frames dollar general g

It can be stationary that normally will go down in price and penny along with the back-to-school items. Other red dots that penny together are: pillows, candles, housewares like decorations, pot holders, glassware, shower liners, Ottoman, brooms, etc. You will find more houseware items in NCI stores. These stores do not sell hanging clothes (most are converting to this type).

Purple Dot

Dollar General color codes on items and meaning

Purple dot items: face clothes, towels, houseware, plates, summer-type items, shower liners, decorations, boxes, pillows, cups, baskets, and storage containers.

Green Dot

Penny Trucks decor from Dollar General green dot

The green dot is similar to purple in that you find a lot of the same items except green. Things like towels, cups, houseware, boxes, storage, kitchen towels, and pot holders. If your store still has clothes some of them will be tagged green dot. 

Yellow Dot

yellow dot bags dollar general

Yellow dot can be accessories, clothes,bags, shoes, hats, and decorative backpacks. If you see yellow dot sandals (flip-flops) these are mostly excluded. Some stores will do their own clearance to get rid of them I rarely see this penny.

red clover candle holder dollar general clearance color code
Other Symbols/Color Codes

This is a picture of a candle holder. Dollar General also has different symbols including red and green clovers as well as red and green squares. Occasionally, the shapes of these symbols may change, adding an element of surprise and complexity. Deciphering the meaning behind these symbol variations can be a task in itself.

Dollar General scanned candle holder

The candle holder above scanned for a penny. 0.00 indicates 1 cent at the register. This followed Easter items that were recently penned. If the item is a penny it may also say, .01 or see store for price. 

Yellow tag book, dollar general.

Yellow tags can be found on books. I got books that surprised pennied this year.

Red Green Clover/Red Green Square

In Dollar General, you can often find red and green clovers specifically in the houseware decorations section of the store. If you’re looking for these items, NCI stores are a great place to search. On the other hand, the presence of red and green squares has become less common in recent times. They used to be primarily associated with seasonal clothes and shoes when Dollar General carried such merchandise. However, their usage seems to have diminished over time.

Green Star
green star tee dollar general

You can spot the green star symbol on clothing items, particularly on special tees like those featuring phrases such as “Grandma” or “Grandpa.” These specific garments are typically folded neatly and packaged with label packaging, making them easily identifiable by the green star symbol.

Toys Symbols and Color Codes at Dollar General

Some of the color codes and shapes are similar to the other merchandise at Dollar General but they are on their own time schedule for reducing in price and eventually becoming a penny.

Toys penny in cycles. It’s about every 3 years. For instance, blue star 2019 pennied this year. There are new blue star toys (2023) that won’t penny until 2026. 

Yellow Dot

As of May 23, 2023, yellow dot toys are 70% off. This does not include the newer yellow dot but older toys. These toys will have a 2020 date on it. Not the new 2023 toys. 

F19 Blue Star
Blue Star toy Dollar General
Blue Star

The old blue stars recently pennied. These would be 2019. Toys are reduced in price and penny about every three years. So, since Blue Star pennied this year. Blue Star won’t penny again until 2026. Sadly these toys have already reset. 

Red Square Toy
red square toy dollar general ball

Most red square toys are summer toys. Unlike the other toys red square will reduce in price and penny every year. 

Blue Star F19 without label.
F19 no label Dollar General.

If it doesn’t show always scan using the DG App to check. 

Blue and Yellow Dot Toys

Toys labeled with blue and yellow dots can be easily identified as such. When these toys go on sale and begin to be marked down, their discounted status becomes readily apparent. This makes it convenient for shoppers to spot and recognize the reduced prices on these specific blue and yellow-labeled toys. 

Yellow Star

Once toys enter their cycle of being marked down and eventually penny, you will hear some buzz on social media.

Yellow Star
yellow star toy at dollar general
christmas, decoration, xmas-2937873.jpg
Holiday Symbols

Holiday symbols are easy to spot, and holiday items quickly drop in price. Most will have the holiday name or the color on the label. For instance, red for Christmas, orange for Harvest. Right after a holiday, they may be reduced to 25% off, and the prices keep decreasing until they reach one cent.

Easter pillow Dollar General

Easter Pillow. I was able to find several of these. Note the light pastel colors. 

Easter label on pillow dollar general
Valentine's Day candy 2022
Valentine day candy dollar general
Valentine's Day candy no label.

Candy that follows Valentine’s Day will also be a penny. So anything you notice in the candy section for this holiday will be included. 

Halloween Label
Halloween pillow dollar general
Halloween label dollar general
Christmas candle label red dollar general

Holiday labels can also be recognize by its color. 

Fall Harvest
Fall Harvest dollar general
Vase that followed Easter
Easter vase dollar general

So if you don’t see the holiday name on the item follow the color. This is Easter.

Easter vase label DG
Do you have to remember all the labels and colors?

For those seeking penny items at Dollar General, following people on social media can be quite beneficial.

Many individuals receive a list that outlines which items, along with their corresponding UPCs and the exact day it will become a penny.

Subsequently, people share this information online.

Notably, every Tuesday marks the first day when specific items are likely to be priced at just one cent. By staying connected through social media platforms, you can stay informed about the latest penny deals and plan your shopping accordingly.

boredom, animated, smiley-1977519.jpg
Should you wait until everything penny?

If there’s an item you truly desire, it’s advisable to keep an eye on its price as it gradually decreases at Dollar General. Seasonal items at the store typically undergo price reductions ranging from 25% to 90% before reaching the coveted one-cent mark. Although store managers are expected to remove these items from the shelves before they are sold for a penny, sometimes they are missed or employees may not have sufficient time to pull them. This creates an opportunity for customers to purchase these items at significantly reduced prices. For example, when Fruit of the Loom sweatpants and jackets were discounted by 90%, I decided to buy a few for just $1.25 each to avoid the risk of them being pulled or sold out. Fortunately, I still managed to find many of them available for just one cent. So, keeping a close watch on price reductions can allow you to score great deals before items are pulled or sold out completely.

How Can I Learn when Items will Penny?

Follow social media. Penny shopping enthusiasts have dedicated YouTube channels and Facebook groups solely focused on this exciting activity. These platforms provide a wealth of visuals that can assist you in your penny scavenger hunt. You can find an abundance of videos and posts showcasing the latest penny finds, hauls, and strategies. These resources offer valuable insights and inspiration to enhance your own penny shopping experiences.

So, if you’re looking for visual guidance and inspiration for your penny hunts, be sure to explore the dedicated YouTube channels and Facebook groups dedicated to this fascinating pursuit.

When should I shop for Penny Items?

The optimal time to shop for penny items at Dollar General is on Tuesdays when items transition to being priced at one cent. It is highly recommended to visit the store when it first opens to increase your chances of finding penny items on the floor. However, if you are unable to make it early, there is no need to worry. Numerous individuals actively participate in penny shopping and visit the store on different days throughout the week whenever they get the opportunity. Going in the morning when the store opens enhances your chances of discovering penny items, as they tend to be quickly snatched up by eager shoppers.

It’s worth noting that the duration for which items remain at a penny has decreased in recent times compared to previous years. Previously, you could find penny items still available months or even a year later. However, now they tend to reset back to their regular prices much quicker. Therefore, it’s advisable to seize the opportunity promptly when items transition to a penny.

What is the Dollar General Policy for buying an item for a penny?

According to store policy, if penny items are found on the sales floor at Dollar General, the employees are obligated to sell them to customers. This underscores the importance of scanning the items to verify their one-cent price and promptly placing them in your cart. By ensuring you have scanned and collected the penny items you want, you can confidently proceed to the checkout, knowing that the store is obliged to honor the penny price for these items.

How to Scope Out a store before Penny Day

Personally, I don’t visit stores the day before to scout for upcoming penny items. During my regular visits to Dollar General, I take the opportunity to explore the store and observe which items are on the verge of penny pricing. Usually, you can tell when items are about to reach the penny mark because their prices begin to decrease. Seasonal items marked with colored dots and symbols are particularly good indicators that they will eventually become penny items.

While some individuals may choose to visit the store a day before to see what remains of the upcoming penny items, it’s important to remember that the store still has the discretion to remove these items. Despite the anticipation, there is always the possibility that the store might pull the items before they reach the penny price.

What are surprise penny items?

Surprise pennies are items that turn a penny that the managers do not know about. Sometimes people discover this by scanning an item in the store or having a list of old UPCs that they regularly scan. Then they share on social media with the caption: SURPRISE PENNIES. For more information click here.

What to do with all the penny items?

People have various options when it comes to penny items at Dollar General—they can sell, donate, give as gifts, or simply keep them for themselves. Personally, I engage in all of these activities. Dollar General offers a wide range of interesting and useful products, and being able to acquire them for just a penny is unbeatable. In an economy where prices are generally high, it’s truly fantastic to find items at such low costs. These affordable finds can serve multiple purposes, whether it’s for personal use, to start a side hustle and earn extra cash, or to contribute to charitable causes through donations. It’s a win-win situation that allows us to make the most of the opportunity and enjoy the benefits of affordable items in various ways.

Make sure you know how to use the DG App

I have seen people in stores that didn’t know how to use the DG app. I like to help people to learn how, but it’s not easy if we are all in the store trying to find items to stop. Penny shopping can be very competitive.  Click here to see how to download the app.

Dollar General App, home page

Tips if you have issues with the app

Sometimes the app acts goofy in the store. Here are some things that I do to help resolve it:


  • App is not scanning-make sure you are connected to DG WiFi. Go to connections on your phone. You should see Dollar General. Click and accept connection. Go back to the DG App and click on the scanner to start scanning (which is located at the top in the search bar). 
  • App keeps showing 0.00 and spins back to the home page every time you try to scan.

This happens to me if I have scanned a lot of items. When I scan it shows 0.00 on anything and quickly spins to the home page.  I just restarted my phone and that resolved it.

  • App is still not showing the price of items

Usually, it’s a bad connection in the store. On the home page go to the cart icon at the bottom of the page When you click on it another scanner shows. When you scan, the price should show and it puts the items in the cart. Although I am paying in the store I will use it just to see the price. 

  • App is not working or connecting to the internet

Sometimes it’s just the store. I have one store I go to a lot but for some reason I can’t use their app, my own wi fi or even call out in the store. I can’t use my phone at all. So it’s something in their store. If I go outside it’s fine. There is nothing you can do but just know the UPS numbers to match up and take your chance at checkout. You can take a picture of the items, check the UPC outside then go back in and buy. 

  • App not working in the store because of the internet connect:

Another thing I love to do is call a friend or family member. I have a few that have the DG app. I just read off the UPC number so they can tell me the price. Make sure they are connected to that store. 

Candy from dollar general penny finds.

The Reality of Penny Shopping

Penny shopping is an enjoyable pursuit, but it also requires a lot of effort. The experience can vary greatly from one store to another. Some stores have a lot of penny items, while others may disappoint due to items being purchased during previous sales or store managers diligently removing them as part of their job responsibilities. 

However, don’t give up! To achieve success in penny shopping, one must be patient and thorough, meticulously searching every nook and cranny. Each store visit may yield different outcomes, with some stores proving to be treasure troves while others fall short. Personally, I find visiting around 4 or 5 stores to be ideal, although it can be quite exhausting by the time I return home.

In conclusion, penny shopping is a rewarding venture that requires perseverance and a keen eye, ultimately leading to the joy of discovering great deals and potentially turning them into valuable finds or even profitable endeavors.

12 thoughts on “What the Different Colored Dots Mean at Dollar General”

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