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What You Should Buy At The Dollar Store

You know them.  You’ve seen them. They’re everywhere. Maybe you shop at them. I’m talking about dollar stores. From the Dollar Tree to Family Dollar to Dollar General, the name says it all. In almost every town in America, you can find some iteration of the stores where everything costs (you guessed it) one dollar.

If these stores haven’t been on your go-to list for restocking certain household items, it may be time to give them a chance. You could spend a fraction of what you’re spending at regular price retailers.

These days, dollar stores are gradually becoming more grocery friendly and are competing to become more of a one-stop shop for all of your basics. I’ve seen ribeye steaks offered for a dollar apiece. Ummm. Okay. I’ll pass, but I’m all about saving on basic household items if the quality is the same.

Speaking of quality, did you know that dollar stores often carry brand name items? In any given dollar store, you could find brands like Maybelline, Nabisco, Pepsi, Reynolds Wrap, Softsoap, Alpo, Colgate and more. Don’t avoid the generic stuff, though. Some of these products can be great, too. You’ll just have to test them to know for sure.

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Here’s a list of regular retail quality, everyday items you should put on your shopping list before heading out to your local dollar store:

1. Cleaning Supplies: Dollar stores are full of household cleaning products, like window cleaner, bleach, and dish soap. These cheaper alternatives get the job done as well as the pricier stuff at the supermarket. Take a look at the ingredients, and you’ll see they’re pretty much the same. The dollar store varieties will just have silly names and cheap labels. But hey, it’s what’s inside that counts.

2. Bathroom Products: For those of us who don’t mind using generic or off-brands toiletries, the shampoos, deodorants, soaps, and body washes at dollar stores have the same ingredients you pay more for elsewhere. In some cases, even, the same companies that make the brand name products also make the generic versions.  First aid items like bandages and antiseptic cream are an especially good buy.

3. Hair Accessories: The brushes, combs, hair ties, hair elastics, and other accessories all get the job done, at a fraction of grocery store prices. Unless you need something of particular quality, a hair tie is a hair tie. Why not save a few bucks?

4. Kitchen Utensils and Tableware: We’re talking spatulas, tongs, mixing bowls, and tableware like plates and cereal bowls. These items are affordable and are often just as sturdy as their pricier counterparts. Other workhorse items, like pots and pans, appliances, and chef’s knives are probably worth splurging for, though.

5. Storage Containers: Oh, how I love organization. And dollar stores are there to back up my OCD endeavors to make sure everything has a place. Most of these stores have organization items ranging from simple baskets to thick plastic containers to declutter your bathroom, cleaning supply closet, or your pantry.

6. Reading Glasses: It’s a win-win situation if you can find reading glasses at your dollar store. First, they are basically the same thing you’d find at the drugstore or supermarket, only a lot cheaper. And second, you don’t have to worry about breaking them or losing them because they’re only a buck. Go ahead. Grab a few pairs.

7. Pregnancy Tests: Most of us know that pregnancy tests can cost anywhere from $12 to $20 at drugstores. Yikes! The good news is you can get the same thing at the dollar store for a fraction. After all, a pregnancy test has to do what it says on the package. If you don’t trust the dollar store tests, grab a few for less than just one at the drugstore.

8. Tools: Want to put together a basic toolbox for small, occasional projects? Start at the dollar store. There, you can usually find decent tools – like screwdrivers, hammers, and tape measures – that work to get the job done.

9. Home Décor: Up your design game with super affordable picture frames, fake plants, and vases. And always keep an eye out for seasonal décor. You can usually snag festive decorations for your home or office for holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s for only a few bucks.

10. Greeting Cards: Before you spring for between $3-$7 for a grocery store greeting card, check out the selection at the dollar store. You can usually find them for only 50 cents each, and they contain the same generic, heartfelt messages inside.

11. Gift Bags and Wrapping Paper: Let’s face it – even the prettiest wrapping paper is meant to be ripped to shreds. While wrapping paper and gift bags at dollar stores may feel cheaper, it’s worth saving a few bucks on something that will only get a minute’s use anyway.

12. Party Supplies: Plan any party, and things start to add up. Cut costs by getting basics like paper plates, disposable cups, tablecloths, and balloons at dollar stores. While you’re there, see if you can find decorations like streamers and confetti, and theater-sized or full bags of candy to make your shindig all the more festive at a much lower price.

13. Canned and Non-Perishable Food: Canned and boxed goods are perhaps the best bargains you’ll find at dollar stores. There is a two-fold caveat here. One – make sure it’s not just as cheap somewhere else. And two – make sure your cart is full of food you’ll actually eat, and you’re not just stocking up because affordable.

Check Out: 3 Ways To Save Big At Target

Cover Image: Kit Leong /

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