Best Things to Buy at the Dollar Store and 3 Things to Not buy!

Published on April 2, 2020 by Lauren

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  • When you think of a dollar store, you think of low prices. It’s no secret you can save a bundle of cash by shopping there. Dollar stores can negotiate lower prices with manufacturers because of their enormous buying power, and they pass the savings on to you. You may be wondering if an item you are about to purchase is actually a good deal, so let me share with you the best things to buy at the dollar store.

    If you’ve never shopped a dollar store, it might surprise you to find name-brand items lining the shelves. Here are the best deals I’ve found to save you big bucks on your next shopping trip.

    This is an updated post from a post I wrote 5 years ago about the 24 best things to buy at the dollar store.

    best things to buy at the dollar store

    Best Things to Buy at the Dollar Store:

    1.) Gift bags and greeting cards

    Gift bags and greeting cards can sometimes cost as much as the gift itself! You can keep your spending in check by stocking up on gift bags, tissue paper, wrapping paper, bows, and greeting cards at the dollar store. 

    2.) Party supplies

    Streamers, table cloths, balloons, and party favors can add up fast if you’re not careful. Next time you’re planning a birthday party for your kids, stop at the dollar store to get festive party supplies for less.

    3.) Travel-sizes perfect for your carry-on

    Grab travel-sized items at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at the supermarket before heading out for your next flight. The money you save can be spent on souvenirs or vacation activities.

    You can use coupons from or from your local newspaper at a store such as Dollar Tree. This can often make these items totally free. Just make sure the coupon doesn’t have a size specified and you should be able to use your coupons on the smallest size possible.

    4.) Picture frames

    The last time I bought picture frames, I couldn’t believe how high the prices were! Luckily, the dollar store has a variety of sizes to choose from. The next time you need a picture frame, make sure you check out the dollar store.

    5.) Beauty supplies and cosmetics

    It isn’t uncommon to find name-brand makeup at the dollar store. If you’re thinking of trying out a new product or color palette, see what kind of selection your nearest dollar store has to save big on those items.

    6.) Pet supplies for your furry friends

    Pets are often considered members of the family. If you like to buy your furry friend treats, toys, or other supplies, the dollar store is an excellent place to shop. It’s smart to check expiration dates on food that you buy, but water bowls and toys are a safe bet.

    7.) Coloring books for the kids

    Kids love coloring books! They make great gifts and are easy to store in the car for long road trips. Instead of paying $3 or $4 for a coloring book from Target, stock up at the dollar store.

    8.) Dishtowels and washcloths

    Thick dishtowels and washcloths are nice, but they can wear out and become stained quickly. For everyday use, you’re better off paying less for these items. 

    9.) Fresh bread

    A loaf of bread can cost you anywhere from $1.50 to $4.00 or more. Why pay more than you have to? Several dollar stores offer fresh bread that’s made out of the same quality ingredients you’ll find at grocery and convenience stores.

    10.) Over the counter medicine

    You can sometimes find name brand medicine at the dollar store. If you buy it at a discount, you can save a significant amount of money over buying it at Walgreens or CVS. A word of warning: Make sure you check the expiration dates.

    11.) Cleaning supplies

    Cleaning supplies can cost a fortune. But dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar sell name-brand dish soap, bathroom cleaning supplies, laundry soap, shampoo, and more for less than you’ll find at big box stores.

    12.) Paper products

    Generic-brand facial tissues aren’t always as soft as Kleenex or Puffs. But you don’t have to settle because dollar stores can have low prices on the well-known brands that you usually buy. The same goes for paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, and plastic cups – brands like Bounty, Charmin, Dixie, and Solo are commonly seen at dollar stores.

    13.) Frozen and refrigerated foods

    Grocery shopping might not be the first thing you think of when shopping at a dollar store, but it’s worth checking out. The frozen and refrigerated foods section can help you lower your grocery spending while still getting brand-names you know like Jennie-O, Hormel, and Michelina’s.

    3 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store:

    The dollar store is a great way to save cash, but keep in mind you might not always get the lowest price or the best quality. Here’s what you should skip on your next dollar store trip.

    1.) Electronics

    The $0.99 phone charging cable can seem like a great deal. But if the item is cheaply made, it could damage your device. When it comes to electronics, stick to brand names you know and trust.

    2.) Toys

    Dollar store toys are usually poor quality and won’t last through the next playdate you set up. If your kids are old enough for puzzles, those are typically okay. Coloring books are another great option, but you’ll want to stay away from cheap toys.

    3.) School supplies

    If you’re in a pinch, the dollar store is a good place to get notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies. But back-to-school sales at places like Target and Walmart will have lower prices, and you’ll likely get higher quality items.

    The dollar store is a great way to save cash. Most carry national brands you’ll recognize at a much lower cost than supermarkets or convenience stores. Whether you’re trying to reduce your spending or like to get a great deal on everyday purchases, you’ll find it at the dollar store. 



  • Batteries are another good thing to pick up at the dollar store, as are calendars and planners. I don’t trust a lot of the canned goods, and definitely, a hard NO on pregnancy tests! Not that I know that first hand. Just guessing.

  • I love love love the dollar store! All of the items you all mentioned but also if your putting together a flower arrangement or centerpiece, you can save so much over big hobby stores etc. on flowers, foam, glue sticks, small bobbles and more. However, I do suggest checking all expiration dates before you buy food. My kids are grown but still tease me today for the stale cookies Santa put in their stockings many years ago. But what a great and funny memory for them. And yes I still occasionally buy food there, especially if it’s a deal to good to larhonda123 up! Thank you for all the tips Lauren!

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