What to always buy at the Dollar Store and What to not to Buy

I love shopping at dollar stores.  There are some awesome deals to be had.  Two of my favorite ones are Dollarama and DollarTree.  However, you may wonder what to always buy at the dollar store and what to not buy to save you the most money possible.

What to buy at the dollar store and what to avoid

While shopping at the dollar stores can save you money, there are some products you should steer clear of.  Let’s talk about what items to buy and what not to buy when shopping at dollar stores.


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The following list are some great dollar items to buy when shopping at the dollar store!  These are, in my opinion, my best dollar store finds.

Craft Supplies.  My kids love to be crafty. 🙂  Packages of pipecleaners, stickers, glitter, paint, and everything in between are great options at the dollar store.

Bread.  That’s right, my Dollarama sells bread for 1-2 dollars, depending on the brand.  I have scored bread and bagels there for $1.00 a package many times, and I have never had a problem with freshness.

Storage containers.  I’ve bought tons of storage containers in all different shapes, colours,  and sizes over the years there.

Water bottles.  I like to buy my kids water bottles there because the chance that my kids will lose the bottles are high.  I don’t want to end up spending too much money on something I probably will have to replace.  They sell bottles that are BPA free.

Mugs.  I have purchased some ridiculously cute mugs from the dollar store over the years. My husband would love THIS mug!

Seasonal decor.  I prefer a very simple type of decorating, so I never buy too much, but I love that I always able to find something to decorate for the holidays at the dollar store.

Pregnancy tests.  Okay, I’m done purchasing these for my lifetime hopefully, but after wasting way too much money on the pregnancy tests at the pharmacy at around 15 dollars a pop, I couldn’t believe that the dollar store ones worked just as well!  Save your money and stock up on dollar store pregnancy tests!

Birthday party supplies.  Balloons, streamers, gift bags, paper plates and cups – you name it, they have it when it comes to birthdays.  Party supplies pretty much top the list of one of the best dollar store finds.  Who doesn’t like to save money on throwing their kid a birthday party?

Stocking stuffers.  When it comes to Christmas and stockings, dollar stores are my go-tos.  So many fun things to buy at the dollar store when it comes to filling up a Christmas stocking.  Check out this holiday gift guide from Dollar Tree for some great ideas.

Phone charger cords.  I am notorious for breaking my cell phone cords (okay, AND my actual cell phone) so I don’t want to spend too much money on a charger that I will probably break in no time.  I buy the dollar store ones and they have worked great for me.

Makeup sponges.  Every girl knows you need a good make up sponge for perfect application.  While the top name brands sell them for as much as $20, you can buy a similar one that works amazingly well for a couple bucks at the dollar store.

While I love to shop at the dollar store, there are items I prefer to avoid.  Here are some dollar items you may be better off buying elsewhere.

Toys.  While I don’t need my kids to have the best of the best, I often find when it comes to dollar store toys you get what you pay for.  They aren’t made well and break easily. Cheap, breakable toys do not fall under the “fun things to buy at the dollar store” category.   I’d rather buy a toy from the second hand store that is durable and will last.  There are exceptions to this rule – things like balls, playdough, and stuffies are usually fine, but overall we tend to do our toy shopping elsewhere.

Cleaning supplies.  They sell a lot of the name brand cleaning supplies, but in smaller containers.  When you do the math you find that you really aren’t saving much, if anything at all because the lower price is for a smaller amount of cleaning solution.  Buy your cleaning supplies elsewhere, or just make your own.

Dish towels.  I have found that dollar store dish towels are not absorbent.  I finally gave up on them and paid more money for dish towels elsewhere.

Batteries.  They just don’t last as long and may be prone to leaking.

Tools.  This is another item from the dollar store that are usually of poor quality.  Buy your tools at reputable stores.

Also, be wary of whether you are actually getting a good deal.  Many things in the dollar stores are in smaller packaging so you aren’t necessarily saving money.  Not to mention, very few stores have only one dollar items.  DollarTree is the exception with everything at $1.25, but  Dollarama has products up to $4.00.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t still good deals for $4.00, but just be sure to make sure you actually ARE saving money.

Also, with DollarTree you can shop online!  As a busy mom who lives 40 minutes away from the city, this is a big deal for me.

Next time you are out shopping, remember this list for what to buy at the dollar store and what to avoid.

Related:  5 Frugal Books you Should read to help you save Money

2 thoughts on “What to always buy at the Dollar Store and What to not to Buy”

  1. I agree with you! I have thought that the cleaning supplies are not as effective from Dollar Tree. They must be diluted. One exception I make is to take the grandchildren to Dollar Tree and let them spend $2 and it usually gets spent on those cheap toys. I tell them that they are just for short fun and that when they break they go in the trash which takes the pressure off. They have so much fun shopping that the picking out the 2 items is the real fun anyway.

    1. Yes, I think that is a great idea letting the kids “shop” at the dollar store for a toy. And sometimes you do luck out and it does last!!

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