What to Buy (and not to buy) at Your Local Dollar Store

What to Buy (and not to buy) at Your Local Dollar Store

What to Buy (and not to buy)

Dollar stores lure us in with rock-bottom prices. Sometimes you get what you pay for, but often the things they sell are good products at a tremendous discount — a real bargain. We’ll talk about what to buy (and not to buy) at your local dollar store just so you’re in the know.

Many products aren’t necessarily higher quality just because you spent more money on them — especially more ephemeral or name brand products that you are only going to use temporarily.

Dollar stores like Dollar Tree are a great place to stock up for cheap on some of the essentials in your life. It’s also a place that you can easily waste your money. Learn what to buy at the dollar store to get the most bang for your buck, plus what you should steer clear of! 

What to Buy (and not to buy?)

Party Supplies

You can save up to 70 percent by using party supplies from a dollar store. Get plastic tablecloths, paper plates and cups, streamers, and favors from the dollar store and save a bundle. Don’t forget to look for Mylar/foil balloons, too. These are an absolute bargain and can easily sell for five times as much elsewhere. Because who wants to spend more money than they already have to while throwing a party, right?

You get rid of the party favors after a day or two anyway, so they’re not worth spending more than a dollar on. Plus, at some dollar stores, you can get twice as many balloons for half the price of other popular retailers

Children’s toys

Does your child really know the difference between a $1 squirt gun and a $10 squirt gun?  A toy is a toy when you’re a kid, and the cool thing about getting toys at the dollar store is that everything is a dollar! It’s a win-win situation for you both. While you might not be able to buy a fancy dollhouse or a child-sized kitchen at the dollar store, certain kinds of toys will be just the same, like dollar matchbox cars or coloring books.

However – be careful in choosing toys. With some exceptions, most dollar store toys are low-quality and will break quickly, if they work at all. Some experts also say that parts and paints used for dollar store toys might not meet standards for safety.

Greeting Cards

There is no reason to spend $5 or more on greeting cards when dollar stores typically have a wide selection available for a buck or less. You might not get textured paper or fancy extras such as Hallmark cards, but the heartfelt message you write will be the same regardless of how expensive the card looks. Everyone seems to agree on this one. Why pay several dollars for a card when you can get it for a buck?

Seasonal decor

From a scarecrow to stake in your front yard in the fall to extra ornaments for your Christmas tree, dollar stores can have a surprisingly robust selection of seasonal decor. Pick up some bargain-priced items to decorate your house for less. But stay away from holiday lights; those from discount stores have a poor track record of safety.



Aside from quickly failing, do we really need to explain why a $1 electronic is not a good idea? Cheap electronics pose not only a waste of money but potentially malfunctioning in a dangerous way. Just stay away from any of their electronics because you’re basically throwing your money down the toilet.

Pet Food

Water bowls and pet toys are fine, but all of the experts agreed that pet food is on their “avoid” list. Pet food may be closer to its expiration date, off-label, or made offshore.

Health and Beauty Products

Some personal care items are a steal at the dollar store, but others, such as makeup and hair color, are not worth even the cheap price. Every once in a while you may be able to find name-brand makeup on the shelves for $1, but more often than not the makeup at the dollar store is an unfamiliar brand. When it comes to products used on your face, it isn’t worth the risk of an allergic reaction or rash caused by cheap ingredients. As for hair color, you risk long-term damage to your locks with an unknown cheap brand. Is it worth paying just $1 a box?

Paper Products

You get what you pay for. While four rolls of one-ply toilet paper will be low-cost, the quality is cheap — there’s more sheer product for the lower price, but you’ll end up using exponentially more toilet paper from a dollar store than by paying a little more for a better product from another store.

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