Everyone loves to get something at a discount. I mean, who doesn’t seriously L-O-V-E a good deal? But how do we know if it is a bargain or not? Isn’t Dollar Tree telling everyone everything inside is cheap, so come on in and shop?
That’s where being a savvy shopper is so essential. It’s easy to let your mind go there and have the kiddos start dumping stuff in the cart because you think it’s only $1.25.
But when you look at the actual price and compare it to other stores, you may be frustrated with the amount of money you could have saved shopping elsewhere.
So, let’s take a look at the dollar store. Is it a more bang for your buck kind of place? Or is it more of a “no deal” situation?
The answer to this question depends heavily on what you intend to buy from the dollar store.
If you like to shop at a dollar store, you might be making the mistake of assuming any item for a dollar twenty-five is a deal, but that might not be true.
Here are a few crucial pointers to follow before your next shopping spree at the dollar store, guaranteeing that you snag some genuine bargains!
Make a List.
Have you ever left your house to only get a few items at dollar tree but left with your arms overflowing, having spent more than seventy-six dollars on items that weren’t even on your list?
To prevent yourself from mindlessly shopping and wasting your hard-earned money on items you don’t need, prepare a list of necessities before going to the store!
My favorite part about shopping at Dollar Tree is how often the front seasonal section changes, and every time I’m in there, I’m reminded of items that are such a steal. The other part I love is that there are no price tags because EVERYTHING is still a $1.25.
If you have tweens, you know the store Five Below, but it’s not $5 and below anymore. There is now a $10 section. The Dollar Tree will forever have my heart for this simple reason alone- it’s the cheapest place.
What items should be on your list:
This is a list of everything worth buying at Dollar Tree. Plus, many of these items you can now shop ONLINE.
- Office supplies
- Art/School project supplies
- Beauty Products (shampoo, soap, ponytail holders, hair spray, cotton swabs, and etc.)
- Batteries (they seem to last just as long as more pricey brands
- Baby Shower Items- they have such cute decorations and little trinkets perfect for a baby shower
- Bins and Baskets
- Bobby Pins
- Bread ( yes if yours has bread $1.25 a loaf is a deal these days!)
- Champagne Glasses- This is a fun one we get for the kids at our New years Eve Celebration. The Welch’s sparkling juice is an excellent deal at BJs too!
- Cleaning supplies
- Dental Floss- They have the name-brand Plackers, too- I always grab these at dollar tree.
- Easter Basket Gifts– Check out my favorite Easter Decor Items from Dollar Tree here.
- A first Aid kit- isn’t always available, but when it is, snatch it up.
- Greeting cards – Yep, you will even see Hallmark cards that can be surprisingly expensive elsewhere.
- Gift bags, Gift Wrap, Tissue paper
- Helium Balloons- You can’t bring in an outside balloon to be filled. You have to choose from the ones in Dollar Tree. You can’t beat a $1.25 for a Helium balloon.
- Home Décor
- Mailing Supplies- The price is way more at the Post Office or UPS store.
- Martini Glass- This is perfect when it’s not an everyday use and was perfect for us when we wanted to make a fancy drink.
- Microfiber Cloths- these are game changers when it comes to cleaning. Ditch the Paper Towels.
- Nail Polish
- Party Supplies and party decor
- Pet Supplies
- Picture Frames- perfect for decorating my tween rooms!
- Poster Board
- Pregnancy Test ( So many of my friends have used it from Dollar Tree- buy two if you don’t trust it)
- Reading Glasses- I can’t believe my husband is at the age where he needs these- but they work great for just a buck and a quarter.
- School supplies- this one can be a hit or miss. I find scissors an excellent deal, but you must watch the quantity of paper and pencils.
- Scotch Tape- Yep, they have this name brand, and it’s the same exact item you would get at Walmart.
- Seasonal Decor- Every holiday, they seem to get more and more items!
- Small Door Prizes
- Stocking Stuffers
- Disposable pans
- Popsicle Molds
- Hostess gifts (bath & body lotion, wash, pretty scented items)
- Wrapping paper- At a $1.25 per 25 sq. ft this works out to $0.05 per square foot, which is the same price as big box stores. So if you don’t need a ton of wrapping paper, gift wrapping from Dollar tree is a win.
Many people wonder if Dollar Tree sells spray paint, I wish they did. Maybe they will in the near future, but Dollar Tree does not carry spray paint.
My personal favorite item to buy at Dollar tree is plastic bins, wire baskets, and organization items and items for special occasions, like Holidays, Birthdays etc.
If your local big box stores do not have a craft section, Dollar Tree is the place to go. In our area, JoAnn Fabrics, a craft store closed, but Dollar Tree has quite a selection of crafts supplies and items for your next DIY projects.
If you are looking for FREE baby items, check out this list that was a life saver for me during those late-night feedings.
What should NOT be on your list:
- Electronics -I learned this one the hard way- it’s just not going to work.
- Medicine (from a financial perspective alone, eight pills for $1.25 isn’t a deal!)
- Plastic Wrap- It is horrible trust me. The best plastic wrap I’ve found is Stretch-Tite. I get it at BJ’s, but you can score it on Amazon too.
- Light bulbs- the cheaper ones tend to buzz and burn out faster, in our experience.
- Loose Paper and Notebooks (Way less paper in each pack than in other stores)
- Travel-Size Items Dollar stores sell some travel-size items, but the real deal is usually found at drugstores. You’ll often get more for your money at those stores, so hold off on buying the tiny bottles of shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste.
- Food items- This can rarely be a savings; you should always have a food item priced out prior.
A can of vegetables seems like a great buy- it’s just $1.25, right? But had you shopped at your grocery store, you could have gotten them for 0.50 cents or less on sale.
It turns out that isn’t such a great deal after all. I have found that Aldi canned food is always cheaper than Dollar Tree. This, of course, means you can’t be a brand snob.
When buying food, always check the expiration date.
Another excellent example of this is meat. Our local dollar store sells bologna, ham, turkey, etc., for $1.25, But it’s a 1/8 of a pound, so I am paying over $8 for a pound of meat! No.
Again, any item you have not calculated at a comparable price at another store should not be bought at the dollar store. Chances are you will be overpaying.
Check Quality First.
Things like kitchen utensils, sunglasses, and anything else made with plastic can crack, melt or break easily. If you buy something that’s not going to last, it’s not a bargain.
Be sure to check the product quality before making your purchase.
Of course, if you are looking for kitchen utensils for a college student- the Dollar Tree is fine- we used this plenty in college, but they don’t last.
When you’re a mom with kids, you need good quality items in your kitchen for easier meal planning.
Where do Dollar Trees Get Their Merchandise?
Dollar stores usually purchase their items in large quantities at a discount. This means they can sell them to you for a low price, such as $1 or $2.
Some of the items may come from liquidation sales, meaning that merchandise was bought from companies that are going out of business and need to get rid of their stock quickly. Other items may come from manufacturers who are looking to unload excess inventory.
Dollar stores offer an exciting opportunity for shoppers, as they frequently acquire and sell tremendously affordable products. These businesses often bid on entire containers of goods at bargain prices from China without prior knowledge of the cargo’s contents– providing a delightful surprise when it arrives!
Shopping at the dollar store can be a great way to save money, as you may find name-brand products for only $1.25! Take Irish Spring soap and ziplock bags: these are essentially identical items that you’d find in a grocery store.
The difference? The dollar store has smaller sizes available—7 or 10 bags instead of 20 —but they still cost less than their larger counterparts elsewhere.
In conclusion, there are some great deals at the dollar store. But, like anything else in life, you need to shop smartly and consider things like quality and comparison pricing before deciding whether something is a deal.
$1 for a product packaged smaller is not a good savings deal, even when it feels like it! Run the numbers before you shop!
With these tips in mind, you will become a thriftier and wiser shopper in no time. Happy bargain hunting!