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What Household Items you can Save Money on by Shopping at the Dollar Store

Updated on January 13, 2016

Why the Dollar Store is So Cheap

There are two main reasons why so many common items can be found for cheaper at your local Dollar Store.

  1. You typically get less than you would at a regular store, and
  2. The items aren't the greatest quality.

While these aren't two amazing selling points, it's important to recognize that so many commonly bought household items don't require great quality making anyways. Let's use potholders as an example. It's fun to buy (or make!) cute potholders that match your kitchen and whatnot, but let's be honest. How many of you actually have your potholders out on display? Mine all sit in a drawer for at least 23 out of the 24 hours of the day, if not longer. As long as they protect my hands from heat (which the one's at the dollar store do), then I don't really care how they look.

The best way to decide what items to buy at the Dollar Store is to ask yourself two questions: Do I care what the item looks like, and how long will the item be used for. Party streamers are another great example - I do care how they look, but I'm probably only going to use them for a few hours total before they are torn down, so they're not something that I want to spend a whole lot of money on. A great reason to buy them at the Dollar Store!

What's NOT Safe to buy At the Dollar Store

As you read these lists, I want to point out that they are based entirely upon my personal experiences and the Dollar Stores that I shop at. The same may not be true for all Dollar Stores, so, as with any product, just make sure you read labels carefully before investing in anything. The following is a list of products I recommend you purchase at a regular store.

  • Makeup/Generic Skincare Products: The makeup sold at the dollar store is typically made in China, and they do not have the same FDA regulations there other countries do. What's worse is that they require animal testing. These products have not necessarily been proven safe by all countries, and this is a product that you really do get what you pay for quality-wise.
  • Food: If you've read any of my other articles, you know that I'm invested in clean-eating. The food at the dollar store is likely not going to be "clean." Because it's so cheap, I wouldn't trust it.
  • Medicine/Vitamins: Again, these are not highly regulated products. Even though they likely will not harm you, it could be a rip-off as they might not live up to what they claim to be.
  • Gum: Nothing is wrong with the gum at the dollar store, it's just usually not a great deal. There's so little in the package that it's just as cheap to buy it at a regular store or, even better, a bulk foods store.

Items to Look for At the Dollar Store

Outside of the few items listed above, there are a lot of awesome ways to save money by shopping at the Dollar Store. Here are my favorite items.

  • Cards: It pains me to pay up to $5 for a birthday card that someone reads once. The dollar store usually has cards for 50 cents a piece, which is much more reasonable! They aren't the funniest or the prettiest cards, but hey, it's the thought that counts. They also sell packs of Thank You notes or party invitations for your every need!
  • Party Decorations: If I'm ever looking to decorate for a party, the Dollar Store is my one-stop shop. They have streamers, balloons, tinsel, table centerpieces, plastic table covers, so on and so forth. Some stores will even blow up balloons for you!
  • Birthday Supplies: Outside of generic party decorations, the dollar store also has birthday-specific items, like birthday hats, goody bags, party favors, etc. Perfect for a child's birthday party.
  • Gift Wrap: You can get tissue paper, wrapping paper, bows, and gift bags at the Dollar Store for cheaper than any place else! They also have tins around Christmas time for all that holiday baking.
  • Holiday Decorations: The dollar store changes out items seasonally and they have great decorations if you're looking to save money. Often times these decorations are plastic, but for an item you only use one month out of the year maybe you're okay with that. I've gotten several Christmas decorations at the dollar store, including ornaments and ribbon for my tree. You might be surprised by how cute some of the decorations actually are!
  • Plastic Server-ware: Another party must-have, the dollar store is the best place to get plastic or paper cups, plates, and utensils that will only be used once. They also have napkins, serving dishes, and tablecloths that come in a variety of colors, including wedding themed colors!
  • Real Server-ware: As many know, you can get cheap (but real) drinking glasses, serving dishes, mugs, and plates at the dollar store. You can find matching sets or maybe just buy some for a gift. I've gotten some plates and beer mugs at the dollar store before that I decorated as gifts for others.
  • Mason Jars: Whether you use them as drinking glasses, vases, wedding decorations, or just a fun craft item, mason jars are so popular nowadays! The dollar store has smaller ones that are perfect for an affordable project.
  • Poster Boards: Even throughout college I always needed poster boards for school projects, or maybe you just need one to make a sign for a special event. The dollar store has paper, cardboard, and foam poster boards that work great.
  • Office Supplies: Though not the greatest quality, you can get cheap notebooks, planners, pens, pencils, markers, and even things like staples and whatnot at the dollar store.
  • Silk flowers: Not the greatest variety, but if you just need a few for decoration, I highly recommend checking the dollar store first. I once even helped a friend to make bridesmaid bouquets using flowers from the dollar store.
  • Candles: I love getting candles at the dollar store! They have scented ones, including seasonal flavors, and non-scented tea light candles and votives for decoration.
  • Batteries: You will have to replace your batteries more often if you get them at the dollar store, but in the end you still save money.
  • Cleaning Products: Who needs brand names to clean their toilet? Not me! I haven't ever seen environmentally-friendly products at the dollar store, but if you're looking to cut corners this is definitely the place to do it. I always get sponges, rags, scrubbing brushes, and other cleaning supplies here, too.
  • Tupperware: Again, not the greatest quality, but it's much cheaper. Honestly, I don't think even the more expensive brand name tupperware is that great.
  • Kitchen Utensils: It's no Williams-Sonoma, but if you're in need of a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, the dollar store will do.
  • Towels: They often have a wide selection of bath towels, kitchen towels, and wash rags if you're not looking to spend a fortune.
  • Burner Covers: I HATE cleaning burner covers. So, instead of trying to do so, I just replace them every so often for cheap.
  • Socks, mittens, hats, etc.: If you're just looking for a cozy pair of socks to wear at night or a pair of mittens you can trash while you work in the yard, the dollar store is the perfect place to get them from.
  • Beauty Utensils: Even though I don't get beauty products from here, I get stuff to use my beauty products with at the dollar store! They sell makeup brushes, Q-tips, cotton balls, and pretty much everything else you need.
  • Brand Name Lotions: I don't recommend getting generic skin care products at the dollar store, but I have found some brands I'm already familiar with here for cheap. Udderly Smooth is one of my favorite hand lotions, and every once in a while they will have small bottles of it mixed in with all the other beauty products!
  • Candy: This is the only type of food I buy from the dollar store, if you could call it that. Whether it's stocking up for Halloween candy, a movie theater stash, or treats for others, the dollar store is definitely the best deal on brand name candies. Just check expiration dates first!
  • Toys: Our dollar store has a whole aisle filled with toys for kids, ranging from sports-themed, animal figurines, board games, coloring and activity books, costumes, outdoor toys, and so on. I highly recommend checking here for stocking stuffers, birthday presents, or for those "just because" occasions.

What else can you think of?

Leave a comment and let me know what other great products you have found at the dollar store, or what products you've had a bad experience with!

Thanks for reading y'all!

What about you?

Do you shop at your local dollar store regularly?

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How safe is the food?

Do you think it's safe to buy food at the dollar store?

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    • MarloByDesign profile image


      2 years ago from United States

      Excellent Hub and one right up my alley! I agree with not buying food or vitamins at a dollar store (so unsafe), but cards and decorations are fantastic.


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