Dollar stores are interesting because they make their money by charging a dollar for everything.
So that means things that are typically $2 or $3 are only a dollar at the dollar store. That also means some things that are typically 50 cents are also a dollar at the dollar store.
Then there are stores like Dollar General, which isn’t really a dollar store at all, if you’re going off the “everything’s a dollar” idea. I suppose Dollar General just means everything is generally…close to a dollar, which is more accurate, but still a little shady if you ask me.
I want to be clear that this list is talking about dollar stores where everything is actually…*drum roll please*…a dollar. Dollar stores can save you money, but if you use them for all your shopping, you may be wasting some money. Also, it’s worth noting that some dollar stores accept coupons and that can be quite lucrative, so check into that with your local stores.
Here are 15 things you should generally buy from the dollar store and some ways to save even more money…
1. Home Décor
Home decorations don’t have to be made out of the most expensive materials. Dollar stores offer really nice options for decorating your home, throughout the year or for the holidays.
Save more money: Look at the clearance sections of places like Ross and TJ Maxx. Or why not make your own? Go to some yard sales and bring some life into older pieces.
2. Party Supplies
Plates, plasticware and party decorations. Dollar stores usually have specific designs, like a one year birthday party or a going away party, but if you need a better selection, try Walmart.
3. Holiday Supplies
Almost everything you need for the holidays can be found at the dollar store. Wrapping paper, gift boxes, tissue paper, etc.
Save more money: The absolute best way to buy holiday supplies is to simply go to large retail stores like Walmart, after the holidays. We bought our Christmas tree there for 90% off.
4. Cleaning Products
You may be picky about your cleaning supplies, but if you’re not, dollar stores have a great variety. I use “LA’s Totally Awesome” for almost all my cleaning. $1/bottle.
Save more money: Make your own cleaning supplies for things like detergents or turn to coupons. Coupons may not always be worth your time, but you can get cleaning supplies practically for free with them if you do it right.
The more expensive spices may be hard to find at your local dollar depot, but for the basic spices, go to dollar stores.
Save more money: Why not make your own?
6. Preserved Foods
This one is 50/50, but when it’s a good deal, it’s a really good deal. Try to keep track of what you pay for canned and other preserved foods, on average.
Save more money: Can your own food. The Frugal Farmer is a great place to learn about canning.
7. Food Storage Containers
If you aren’t looking for quality, but just a cheap way to store food or possibly containers you can give away, the dollar store has the best deals.
Save more money: Walmart’s Black Friday, hands down. You can wait a little later after all the crazies leave to buy the storage containers. It will still be there.
Once again, if you’re not looking for quality, but just looking to stock your cabinets, the dollar store is your friend. Cups, mugs, glasses, plates, etc.. It’s really great if you’re just starting out.
Save more money: Black Friday. Kitchenware isn’t the highest demanded thing, so come after the crazy train leaves.
9. Coloring Supplies
Crayons, markers and colored pencils are cheap at the dollar store. And you can usually get actual Crayola brand if you want it. (Because everyone knows the other brands are junk, or is that just me?)
Save more money: Back to school sales. Get there early. Almost everyone procrastinates until the week before school. If you go within the first week of the sale, you’ll be shopping freely and possibly alone in the aisles.
Dollar stores often have name brands for cheap. Like everything on this list, it depends on the store, but if you shop around, you’ll find deals on batteries at dollar stores.
Save more money: If you use a lot of batteries, look into rechargeable options.
This one is especially true for movie theater candy. So if you’re one of those theater-goers with the extra large purse 😉 , you’ll love the dollar store.
Save more money: Look for sales in the actual candy aisle instead of just looking at the checkout counter. Or just stop eating candy.
12. Greeting Cards
This is the best thing on this list in my opinion. I buy all my greeting cards from the dollar store. They usually still have the $3 or $4 price on the back, so you really feel like you’re getting a deal.
Save more money: Make your own printable cards or use a free greeting card service to send an e-card. Saving the trees and saving money, right?
This is especially true for children’s undergarments. Socks and underwear are worth checking out at the dollar store.
Save more money: Outlet malls! Or back to school sales.
14. Crafting Supplies
Crafting items, such as scrap booking supplies are cheap at the dollar store. Once again, you’re not looking for the highest quality, you’re just looking for the visual effect.
If you can find one of those dollar stores that sell the actual mylar balloons for a dollar and air them up for free, you won’t find a better deal. Some even offer a custom design or wording on them.
Every dollar store is different, so don’t be surprised if you have had a different experience with something on this list.
Just remember to check the dollar stores out and know where to get the best prices in your area.
If you want to save even more money, check out the complete money-saving section.
Photo Credit: Charlie Boy Criscola