On the surface, dollar stores may seem like a great deal—buying something for a dollar pretty much seems like getting it for free! However, the dollar store is obviously making money, or else it wouldn’t be in business. Like any other store, there are some things that are great deals at the dollar store, but lots of things that are a rip off. Here are just a few things you should and shouldn’t buy at the dollar store.
If I were you, I would avoid buying toys at the dollar store. It may be tempting to get something cheap for your kids, but the toys usually break within a few minutes of buying it, especially if your kids play rough. It’s usually better to buy a more expensive, but better built toy that will actually last.
Something else to not buy at the dollar store is anything that you use often. For example, if you go through ten Ziploc bags a day, you’ll probably want to buy those in bulk. The prices are low at the dollar store, but you’re only paying for a few of them. Buying those items in bulk will save you more money in the long run.
Also steer clear of anything that can cause you frustration. For example, don’t buy a can opener at the dollar store if you get frustrated when you can’t open your cans quickly. Again, you’re paying for quality here, and a $1 can opener probably isn’t going to be as efficient as a more expensive one.
I’m always a little hesitant at buying food from the dollar store, especially things I’m buying for their nutritional value. I think a bag of chips or some peanuts is fine from the dollar store (especially if you’re in a hurry), but don’t buy vitamins or “health” food. Because it’s so cheap, the healthy features of these items are often lacking compared to their more expensive counterparts.
Another item to avoid at the dollar store is oven mitts. While they may look the same on the outside as other brands, dollar store oven mitts don’t do nearly as good a job of keeping your hands protected as regular priced ones. The rule of thumb is that, if it has to do with health or safety, consider buying it somewhere else.
Dollars stores make their money because they aren’t selling high-quality products; it’s just a fact of the business. However, that doesn’t mean that you should never shop there. If you’re looking for something pretty simple, then the dollar store can be much cheaper than any name brand. One thing you’ll want to avoid buying at the dollar store is anything you have to plug in. One, you usually can’t test to see if it actually works and, two, because the quality is low, it may not be the safest option. And spending a bit more money for safety is worth the price, I think.
Picture frames are a great deal at the dollar store. If they aren’t chipped or beat up, then it’s probably in good enough condition to be like a firsthand buy. IT’s also really easy to change and modify a picture frame to be the color or style you want, which is cheaper than buying a whole new picture frame.
Gift wrap, cards, and other party and present supplies are usually good things to buy at the dollar store. Really, anything that you don’t plan on having around for a long time (like wrapping paper or paper plates) are good at the dollar theater because they get the job done.
Buy some cleaning supplies the next time you’re at the dollar store and see how well they work. Because cleaning supplies have to actually be what they’re advertised as (dollar stores can’t sell water as bleach), the only thing you’re paying for with more expensive cleaners is the brand.
I enjoy buying my holiday decorations from the dollar store. They’re things that are only up in my house for a few weeks in the year, and if they get ruined or go out of style, I don’t feel bad for throwing them out.
While toys aren’t a good thing to buy from the dollar store, kids’ craft supplies are a great deal! Because your kids probably aren’t worried about the quality of their crayons and paper, you can get away with cheaper materials while still satisfying your kids’ artistic urges!
Brandi herrera says
I stumbled onto your blog and liking it i read a few different things and I enjoyed it until this article. I was floored buy advice you gave about buying medicine or food from a store when they must follow guidelines exactly like the other stores. I buy random items to see if like the taste or just to try something new. My 99 cent store carries pillsbury crescent rolls that sell for $3-4 bucks at the markets. I always check dates even at the market so that’s never an issue – electric items are fin too again laws – I realize your a small time blog and I dont mean this in a grumpy girl way I swear. I just think blanket statement are not fair and we as bloggers have a rrsponsiblity to our readers to be through in research. The cleaning supplies are awesome but like anything some work some dont. For the meds I bought an item for myself then got home and researched product then followed research all the way to mayo clinic best thing I’ve ever bought by far.
A friend of mine works for one of the larger US food distribution companies. They package many of the food items that Dollar Tree sells. They’re just as safe as real brands, because they’re made in the exact same factory.
Hi! I’m a fellow home decor blogger and have to say I really enjoyed this post and your blog looks wonderful! You have very unique posts and they’re so well written! Keep it up!
99 cents store has real groceries. Bargain prices meat-home chargers. dollar store doesn’t have vegetables but the frozen fruit for a dollar wow stock up makes great smoothies, compared to $3. At grocery store. And the toys? I’ve seen kids break $30 toy in 30 sec so it’s the child. 2/1 Birthday-Mother day cards. I’ve even bought books so yippie for dollar and 99 cent store. ☆☆☆
Rita B says
I really hate to say this but you are a shopping snob it seems. I’ve worked in retail in a number of distribution centers and can tell you that the same factories and specs used to make those expensive name brands that you seem so fond of are the same that wind up with a Dollar Tree, Dollar General Store or any of a number of other “dollar” stores. When I first learned this detail at the young age of 21 with my first job as a shipping clerk for a large company that shipped for some of our largest companies nationwide. The item that is most likely to have MINOR changes is the food industry and that is only with sizes and packaging of items, not as much with the recipes. Always try store brands and compare to the name brands to see which you prefer whether its Publix canned spaghetti sauce vs. Ragu or the Dollar Store brand. They aren’t as many differences as you might think. All stores are forced, by law, to use food dates to make sure the food is fresh. But I can tell you from personal experience, just because you paid $6,00 for that milk at Kroger’s instead of $3.27 at Dollar General doesn’t mean that its not sour when you open it, even though the date on the outside says its good for another week!
I’ve burnt my hands on oven mitts I purchased at Sears but did fine with a mitt that my granddaughter picked out for me at the Dollar Tree last year for our Thanksgiving cooking. Took everything out of the oven with that mitt and baked all our cakes and special breads using it and never got burnt once. It was washed no less than once a week between the first of November and the new year without any sign of wear & tear. I have it out ready to get started for this year’s cooking.
Toys will break regardless of where you get them if you are rough with them and a $.99 toy purchased from anywhere shouldn’t be expected to have a long life, depending on the toy of course. My 3 y/o grandson loves to do puzzles, zig-saw puzzles that is. We have quite the collection of 24 & 48 piece puzzles from the Dollar Tree and they have been put together over & over again. Gage knows that when we finish that we put the pieces in a zipper bag then back in the box it came in so that we don’t lose any of the pieces. He’s lost a puzzle piece before & it drove him crazy so he’s very good now about keeping up with all the pieces and putting them away when we are finished.
I too love the cleaning supplies and found the best toliet bowl cleaner at the Dollar General Store that I’ve ever used. A friend that has lots of rental property was about to replace several toliets because they were so stained. I had her try this and she was thrilled saying I had just saved her several thousand dollars. Now you can get the cleaner at Wal-Mart and many other places but in the beginning, Dollar General was the only place you could find it.
Like all stores, you can find poor quality and excellent quality, both on the same rack usually. Approach the stores like you do any other. If its a great deal, then you’ve found a steal and a great way to save money in the future. If the item you purchase isn’t what you hoped for, then you know not to make this purchase again. This is true for ANY STORE where we shop. But don’t let the idea that just because its not a “name brand” from a certain store, that its not “good enough” or worth looking into.
I’m shocked every time I hear 5-6 y/o’s demand designer clothes or the 4 y/o demands the $200 plus American Girl doll instead of the $50 knock-off which would be much better for a child that age (even the AG folks don’t recommend their dolls for girls that young) AND THEN THE PARENT GIVES IN & GIVES THE CHILD WHAT THEY WANT!! I don’t want to be around if we are ever hit by a EMP as the government keeps saying is one of out biggest and most devastating threats. I’d hate to see how many under 30 would be completely lost & useless.
Take a chance and check the stores out and you may find that they are a treasure chest of unfound wonders
From the title, I was led to expect you were going to show me things things I should NEVER buy at the Dollar store, but a lot of them were things to buy. Why is that?
I am judging you harshly for the statement that if the Xmas decorations go out of style or ruined, you can just “throw them out.” Throw away society never considers the real costs – the destruction of the environment is a cost we all pay.
I paint and love buying crafts and paint brushes canvasses and paper from pound stores. Paints i dont buy because their paints r usually not good enough. Kids go there and select all they want and i am happy when they r happy. Kids attention span is not that long so they get to try a lot more things.