Definitely Buy These 15 Things at a Dollar Store

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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.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson talked to a savings expert to find out what types of items you should definitely buy at a dollar store. Watch the video and then keep reading for more dollar store deals.

1. Greeting cards

There is no reason to spend $4 to $5 or more on a greeting card when dollar stores typically have a wide selection available for a buck or less. You might not get textured paper or fancy extras like ribbon, but the heartfelt message you write will be the same regardless of how expensive the card looks.

2. Party supplies

By some estimates, 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.

3. Gift bags, boxes and wrapping paper

While you’re getting your party supplies, look for gift bags and wrapping paper too. You could end up paying two or three times more for gift bags and boxes at other stores. In addition, wrapping paper can be a steal. You might not get the same thickness of expensive paper, but for something that’s going to end up in the trash, why pay more?

4. Seasonal décor

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

5. Reading glasses

As we age, we often lose elasticity in our eyes and that makes it more difficult to focus on close objects. In many cases, a simple pair of reading glasses is all you need, and the reading glasses at dollar stores are as good as those found in other stores. However, if you have trouble seeing at a distance, it may be time to schedule an eye exam and see about getting a prescription pair.

6. Hair accessories

From elastic bands to bobby pins to headbands, you can find hair accessories at a fraction of the price at dollar stores. Combs and brushes can be a bargain too.

7. Pregnancy tests

Grocery store pregnancy tests will set you back $10 to $15, but you can find them at some dollar stores for only a buck. You might be wondering whether a $1 pregnancy test is going to be accurate. That’s a good question and, according to this news report, the answer is yes.

8. Vases and decorative bowls

Don’t bother with other stores for vases and decorative bowls. The dollar store probably carries a number of styles at a price that can’t be beat. You can use vases to skip the florist and make your own, much cheaper arrangements. Or spruce up decorative glass bowls to make inexpensive gifts for family or friends.

9. Mugs and glasses

Like vases and bowls, mugs and glasses are also a good buy at dollar stores. The quality is comparable to what you might get at Walmart or other mass merchandisers. As a bonus, you can typically buy only the items you need rather than being forced to purchase a set.

10. Dishware

Dollar stores also often have a nice selection of open stock dishware. This isn’t going to be top-of-the-line quality, but they’re perfectly serviceable pieces. For those with little kids, dollar store dishes can be just what you need to get you through that phase of life when something seems to get broken in the kitchen on a weekly basis.

11. Storage containers

Plastic storage containers also get a thumbs up when it comes to great dollar store buys. In the grocery store, you can easily pay up to $5 for disposable containers. Get them for a buck at the dollar store instead. You can also find some great deals on storage bags, but be wary of off-brands that may not seal correctly.

12. Picture frames

If you’re crafty, dollar store picture frames are an excellent buy. With a little paint or other decoration, bargain frames can look as nice on your walls as their more expensive counterparts. However, quality can vary widely. Check the joints to make sure they are secure and look for stray glue that may be difficult to remove.

13. Bagged or boxed candy

Checkout lane candy will likely be just as cheap, if not cheaper, at the grocery store, but movie theater-style boxed candy and bagged candy can be a bargain at the dollar store. Next Halloween, head there for your treats rather than paying supermarket prices.

14. Socks

Much of the clothing you find at dollar stores is of an inferior quality and not worth the money. One exception may be socks. Dollar store socks can be as good as department store varieties if you buy the right type. Look for ones made with acrylic or spandex for a comfy fit.

15. Washcloths and dish towels

Finally, the price of washcloths and dish towels at the dollar store can’t be beat. You need to be careful with some towels that won’t be absorbent enough to dry dishes. However, even those work great as cleaning rags.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below or go to our Facebook page to tell us what you think are the best buys at the dollar store.

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  • Andrea

    Tins, platters, disposable cooking/bakeware/tins, serving utensils. During Christmas, they have a great selection of tins and platters for cookies. I like using their disposable cooking tins/bakeware tins and serving utensils for potlucks. That way I don’t have to worry about getting my “good stuff” back.

  • Val

    Grocery items (including condiments and spices): minced garlic, mustard, relish, soup, chicken broth, olives, pasta, fresh tortillas and bread. Also, stationery supplies such as pencils, pens, markers, post-its and tablets. This is why I cannot get out of the store for less than $10!

  • A Farmgirl at Heart!

    I wouldn’t buy the “off brand” storage containers as the lids don’t seal as tight as their counterparts at the grocery store. The grocery store brand has been just as good at the name brands like Gladware! But definiely pass on the the Dollar Store containers!

  • 2abner

    that’s true; only thing is, do the comparison for the amount you’re getting for a dollar. like with the party supplies, I found that Wal-Mart may sometimes carry the same amount for less, plus they’re theme-printed.
    there are other items that have less packaged amount in the dollar stores, so what one needs to focus on is on the unit price.

  • Y2KJillian

    At our local dollar tree, they are having a hard time keeping the ankle and knee supports in stock. I’ve bought many pairs of both (the ankle supports double as wrist supports; the actual wrist supports are weird) — the ankle ones come two to a box, but be sure to check because sometimes someone will have slipped one out. They are a nice blue color, go through the washing machine fine, but I lay them atop the dryer rather than putting them inside. I’ve worn them, given them away, and everyone seems to like them a lot. I’m wearing on right now on my right wrist. Just right.
    Last spring, I got yard lights — two styles, a “rock” and a silver metal spike — for a dollar each, and for $50 I ringed my entire yard. It’s been 9 months? and they are still absorbing light during the day and glowing at night, in spite of heat, dirt, ice, snow…they are super for the price! And my aging doggies seem to be much more willing to go outside at night now that they have night lights. And…they’re fun! !

  • Y2KJillian

    But…the dollar store containers are often name brands! And they seal just great! I agree that sometimes you actually get less for your dollar than somewhere else, so you do have to be aware of what you’re getting…another thing I like is to dash in for a dollar bag of chips and a dollar bag of shredded cheese, race home and make a quick nacho plate for lunch…I got martini glasses there that are quite fun, one in each color so we can tell them apart…I get crossword books there that have $4.98 prices on them (often big print!) — we filled an area of our garden with polished stones that were hideously expensive at the local garden store, though I admit by the time we were done it had cost quite a bit. The dollar store is always a fun place to shop; their merchandise changes over time; right now I’m sad that the big fat bars of “skim milk” soap are no longer present; probably the changing/sinking value of the dollar…just like two years ago when the bigger picture frames disappeared. So…if you do like something there, buy it up while you can, because next month it may be gone. But as always, try not to go wild!

  • linda

    toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Store price $4.88 on sale, dollar store hbrand has exact same ingredients for a buck (and it is made in the USA!)

  • Janet Heggblom

    Pet supplies, such as food, blankets, cat/dog dishes, litter deodorizer powder (as well as carpet deodorizer). Then there’s toiletries, such as body spray, liquid soap, bar soap, hair products. You can very often buy products for a fraction of the price in the drug stores! I live in Ontario Canada and my favorite store is Dollarama’.(I’m going there today!). One thing to remember though, there are no returns or exchanges.

  • LariLee

    Men’s T-shirts (name-brand), house-cleaning agents (name-brand), snacks (name-brand and some of the generics are quite good), craft supplies, school supplies and they have the battery operated wrist blood pressure monitor for $20.00.

    • Y2KJillian

      Oh, our Dollar Trees don’t have adult clothing of any kind or anything over a dollar…darn!

      • Kelly Hendrickson Sattler

        I may be wrong but I think LariLee is talking about The Dollar General or Family Dollar. I’ve been to dozens of Dollar Stores & Dollar Tree stores from upstate NY to Fla. & I’ve never seen a Dollar Tree or $ Store clothing except socks, with the exception of little girls bathing suits,(sizes 12mos.-4T) last year. If I’m wrong I hope LariLee posts where she lives so I can move there..LOL.. : O !!! Dollar General here (Upstate NY, the Catskill Mnt. area, I live 20mins. from the orig.1969 Woodstock site in Bethal,NY.) has great deals on (name-brand)undies,boxers,T’s,PJ’s,clothing vary’s wk by wk.Few mos. ago they had sneakers that looked just like Converse, in great colors like hot pink & teal. Also pots & pans, sm appl, Lawn & garden deco’s like Gnomes & Fairies, Frogs,Birdhouses, etc…Hope u find one to ck it out ! Back to $ Store, if u ever come across universal TV remotes grab a few, I’ve been using same one in my Bed Rm for 4yrs..Last mo.$ Store had them again so I grabbed a few. Also I get my reading glasses there so I can always have glasses to match my clothes..I don’t buy coloring bks & childrens bks anywhere but there b/c the last time I went to buy 4 coloring bks @ Wal-Mart w/ lg box of crayons & it was almost $30..I also buy all their puzzles, play-dough, paints/poster paper, etc..Sorry to babble on.. I hope u r able to find a $ General.. : ), Happy Shopping !!

  • daisy

    arts and craft supplies and most stationery items (binders, erasers, markers, paper, etc )are good deals. their pens arent that good as they dry out too fast

  • BikinBuddha

    I Find that the batteries are a better buy… If you don’t mind changing them more often… Brand name ‘$2/3 for one/pair compared to One dollar for 6… The one/pair last a year in the Remote, The 6 , 18 months… Save a dollar or more, gain 33% more power. Remember to dispose of properly… Now I have to check my power strips, that I NEVER overload…

  • Robin Rice

    You “took” it? So, basically you are saying that you stole it, and now you’re complaining because it didn’t work right for you? Next time, try “paying” for your items. I know of at least 6 or 7 people who have bought & used the dollar store pregnancy test thingy, and were always accurate. It’s possible you just got a defective one, but im willing to bet that it was Karma getting even with you. Crime doesn’t pay!