(WTNH) – Many families are searching for ways to stretch their grocery and gas dollars with inflation on the rise. Some are finding that nearby dollar stores could be the answer.

Gas prices are straining budgets, and groceries are nearly 12% more expensive than last year. So, plenty of families have turned to dollar stores to save a few bucks.

“What I’m seeing is that families are going to dollar stores to buy their groceries And then being more cost-conscious, in general,” said smart shopper expert Trae Bodge, from TrueTrae.com.

In fact, some families are relying on dollar stores for more and more of their groceries. Some say it’s more convenient and it’s a lot cheaper than regular stores.

There are over 3,400 dollar-type stores in the U.S., and according to The Dollar General Store, 75% of Americans have one within five miles of their home. So proximity and saving on gas are two reasons why people enjoy shopping there more.

“A lot of good food options are at dollar stores, however, there are also a lot of processed foods, and pre-packaged foods, in general, tend to be less healthy,” said Bodge.

But, it’s not always that simple. ABC News looked at the price of canned green beans at three stores. A traditional grocery store sold a can for $.89, a big box store sold it for $.88, and a dollar store sold it for $.85.

As one may have expected, the dollar store had the cheapest prices.

They also looked at spaghetti in the same three stores. While the dollar store price of a box of pasta was cheaper than a grocery store, selling the box for $1 rather than $1.33, the most affordable price was at a big box store for $.88.

So, before you shop, be sure to do your homework.