Personal Finance, Saving Money, Shopping

Top Dollar Store Finds

For a store where everything’s a dollar, I’m surprised I don’t shop there more often. I guess I’m a creature of habit so I’m more likely to go to a store that I know will have a particular item in stock. But recently I took a trip to my local dollar store to see what they have to offer. Now the thing about most dollar stores is that because their prices are so low, often times so is their quality. I wouldn’t buy anything at the dollar store that I planned on keeping for a long time. But there are many items that I buy in which I really don’t care about the quality because either they’ll only be used once or it’s just not that big of a deal if it breaks. For these items, the dollar store is my best bet. If you’re like me and you don’t go to a dollar store very often and forget what they carry, here is a list of a few things of notice that I found on my recent trip.

Gift baskets

You can find some cute baskets and carriers and load them up with various items that would make a perfect gift for a gift exchange, housewarming or even a child’s present. If the quality of the gift isn’t of huge importance, a dollar store gift basket can be an inexpensive and nice looking gift.

Gift bags and cards

If you need something to put your gift basket in, or even another gift, the dollar store has great gift bags that are cheap compared to other stores. A regular sized gift bag can set you back $3-$5 at another store, but the dollar store has ones from small up to HUGE for that small price. They also have cards you can buy to go with the present. These also can add up in costs at regular stores and the fact that they are usually thrown away after they are received makes it seem like not as much of a waste.

Home decor

This was the reason I actually made my trip to the dollar store this day, but unfortunately this store didn’t have what I was looking for. But I’ve seen other stores that have a nice selection of vases, fake flowers, glass marbles, and various framed pictures that can help you spruce up your home for very little money.

Picture frames

If you are looking for some basic frames to house some of your frameless pictures around your house, this is a great place to get them. Even simple and basic frames, like the ones the dollar stores usually carry, can cost quite a bit at a craft or other type of store.

Seasonal/holiday items

When I was at the dollar store, I saw a lot of Easter supplies like candy and baskets and stuffed animals, as well as BBQ tool and other outdoor accessories for the coming spring/summer season. In the past, I’ve seen items for other holidays at different dollar stores as well, such as 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc.

Office supplies

If you are setting up a really simple office area at home where you just want to get stuff done, this can be a great place to stock up. They have pens, white out, glue, tablets, staplers, tape and color crayons and markers for the kids. Since many kids leave the lids off of their markers and dry them out anyway, it’s not as bad if they only cost $1.

Plastic dishes and tupperwear

If you have kids, or ever have kid visitors, it’s always nice to have plastic dishes to give them so you don’t have to worry about your good dishes breaking. Dollar stores have an ample supply of plastic dishes in addition to storage containers (since they always seem to disappear from the cupboard somehow).

Basic tools

The kind of tools you can get a dollar stores are more something a single girl would buy for her first place. I say this out of experience. I bought my first set of screwdrivers, a hammer, some nails and some screws at a dollar store. They got the jobs done that I need them to do and they didn’t break the bank!

Cleaning supplies

You can buy basic cleaning solutions like windex and that sort, plus they have a lot of scrub brushes, rags, dusters and anything else you can think of to keep your house sparkly.

Kitchen supplies and tools

The dollar store is the place to go if you are outfitting your first kitchen. They have pretty much every small item you would need in your kitchen (or that you would need to replace). Whether it’s towels, dish rags, sink stoppers, sponges or small kitchen tools such as a can opener, corn holders, a pastry brush, an apple corer, potato peeler (and scrubber) and the list goes on and on.

Car cleaning supplies

When my husband and I moved into our first house, this is what we stocked up on. We got towels, scrubbers, car wash soap, brushes, buckets and spray nozzles to clean our cars. We spent less than $10 and were all ready to wash our cars.

Pet toys

I’ve noticed that buying dog toys is getting kind of expensive. Especially when your dog just chews the toy up in a few days like ours does. So I was kind of surprised to see dog toys at the dollar store. They are not the most durable toys you can buy, but they are cheaper “disposable” toys for my dog!

Another major thing I saw at the dollar store that I’m still not sure about is food. There were about 2 aisles full of canned and boxed food — some you can get at the grocery store for cheaper, but some that were a bargain. I personally have never bought food at a dollar store because I don’t know about the quality of it or how long it’s been there. It could be perfectly good for all I know, but it’s not something I’ve ventured out to try yet.

I hope this list will help you remember that you can save money on certain items you need to buy if you buy them at the dollar store. Just be careful how many of the items you buy because you can spend $100 at a dollar store just as easily as you can at WalMart.

8 thoughts on “Top Dollar Store Finds

  1. Dollar store purchases always should be well thought out as there is a definite pay off to having such a low price. You mentioned plastic dishes but do not mention that many of them leak BPA which can cause definite damage to kids, adults and the enviroment.

    Chilren toys should never be purchased from these stores as they typically are just not safe.

    The rule of “you get what you paid for” is never more true than at a dollar store. With that in mind, I do sometimes head there for certain items but not without fully thinking items through.

  2. As Kevin mentioned the safety of these products are in question since 100% of them are made in China. BPA is a huge problem for cheap plastics and lead paint is another big one. A deal is not a deal when it is at the expense of your health.

  3. The food selection can vary…my husband and I went by one to get some candy (another good deal) and they had the new Curves cereal (almost $4.00 at walmart) for $1.00! My husband stocked up w/ three boxes of the stuff.

  4. Two common sources for dollar store merchandise is damaged freight or a retail store foreclosure, which means that some of the goods offered at the store are exactly the same as those you would find at any retail stores.

  5. Continuing #5’s (Linda) thought, yes, some goods are simply damaged or from out-of-business manufacturers, but many are overseas knock-offs (i.e., potentially illegal in the US due to potentially dangerous or unlisted ingredients; ever have a large, factory-style, staple with your cereal?), or are expired (granted, not usually a problem with dry goods), or are poorly kept (have you seen the baked goods kept near the sun-baked store shelf?), or are mislabeled, or are labeled to appear like a name-brand product (granted, legit stores carry similar products under their brand name), etc. Is it worth a few cents or even a few dollars? How much danger can you be in from electrical tape that doesn’t insulate, or cosmetics made with execessive amounts of lye or other caustic materials, etc? However, having said all this, I’ll admit that I’ve bought numerous goods from dollar stores, and , with the exception of the aforementioned staple, the items were as good, if not better, than their more expensive, retail cousins. Just use common sense, such as washing linens, etc, before using them; examining food, carefully, before eating them; testing cosmetics on body parts that don’t show; etc.

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