Love saving money? For many smart shoppers, it doesn’t get much better than the local Dollar Tree, Dollar General or 99 Cents Only store. Dollar stores offer incredible bargains if you know what you’re looking for, especially for household items like cleaning supplies.

But sometimes dollar store goods aren’t the highest quality, so you might be better off paying a little extra for name-brand items at a regular store like Walmart or Target. Let’s review what you should buy at the dollar store and what you should skip.

By planning your dollar store shopping list ahead of time, you’ll be able to save money while avoiding low-quality goods that just waste your time (and your money!).

A photo of a "Dollar General" store.

Dollar Stores like this one have a great many products that cost less than brand-name versions featured in major retailers.

Dollar Store Do’s: Things to Grab, Every Time

If your local dollar store carries the Sunday Newspaper, you should definitely pick it up. Weekday editions are usually cheap everywhere, but it can be tough to find a Sunday paper for a single buck!

Drug stores and supermarkets often stock a variety of simple reading glasses, but they usually wind up costing around five bucks or more. if your local 99 cents store carries reading glasses in your prescription, pick up a pair or two for a terrific value.

Balloons are great when it’s party time. Don’t bother with expensive selections from the party store when you can decorate your kid’s birthday for a few bucks.

Cleaning products can also be a great value at the dollar store. Items like toilet bowl cleaner and oxygen cleaner at the dollar store are a lot less expensive than their name-brand counterparts, and they work just as well.

Dollar stores also sell microfiber towels, rubber gloves and quick erasers (think Magic Erasers, but cheaper). Every dollar store inventory will be different, but chances are, you’ll find tremendous savings by purchasing these products for a buck instead of paying the full price elsewhere.

You can also find a ton of great beauty supplies when you’re at the dollar store. Name-brand makeup is often in stock for incredibly discounted prices as well as personal items like eyelash curlers, rubber bands, nail clippers and hairbands.

Website Holy Craft advises that you skip the bobby pins, though:

“Honestly didn’t know anyone could screw up bobby pins, but they did. Don’t bother.”

Which brings us to our next section…


Dollar Store Don’t’s: What You Should Avoid

Not everything at the dollar store is the same quality as name-brand products. We recommend avoiding the following items:

Laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid are both good things to pass over. According to Holy Craft, they’re both watered down so much that you’re just going to be wasting your money.

A color photo of a road sign indicating that savings are ahead, for some reason.

Use your best judgement and you can save a good amount of money with your next trip to the dollar store.

Similarly, many dollar store air fresheners are much weaker than the real deal.

You can also go ahead and avoid dish scrubbers and Estracell sponges, as they’re flimsy and will just wear out. Other types of towels and washcloths at the dollar store may not be worth your time, either, but you’ll be able to assess their quality in person.

Toilet paperis usually a poor value, too. Most of the toilet paper stocked at dollar store chains is very flimsy — that four pack might seem like a steal, but it won’t last.


Avoiding Unwise Buys to Save Money

Remember, just because it’s at the dollar store doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the best value, but there’s many great deals to be found if you know what to buy and what to avoid.

So what are your smart shopper tips? Are you a habitual dollar-store shopper? What are some of your best tips for saving money? Are there any dollar store products you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole? Let us know in the comments!


See Also

Smart Shopper: 8 Too Good to Be True Products That Aren’t Actually a Scam
Smart Shopper: The Secret to Getting the Best Online Bargains
Smart Shopper Health: 3 Simple & Cheap Ways to Relieve Spring Allergies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.