Best Values at Dollar Stores: What to Buy and What to Skip
- Tracy East
June 6, 2018
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Are you looking for the best values at dollar stores? Typically selling inexpensive items, dollar stores predominantly sell all of their merchandise at a single price of $1 or less. In addition to true “dollar” stores, there are a segment of “dollar and up” stores like Family Dollar or Dollar General, which sell discounted items from $1 and up. The dollar store industry has grown rapidly throughout the United States in recent years. The stores tend to be located in smaller communities that are too small for big box stores. If you are looking to save money, you can find some best values at dollar stores. But be warned: not everything is a bargain.
Here are the best values at dollar stores and what you should skip
- Household cleaners: The dollar & up stores generally carry name brands for less, and some Dollar Trees even carry brands like Lysol and SoftSoap. If you buy off brand products, the solution may be a little diluted so the scent won’t last, but the cleaning power is comparable.
- Shampoo and other toiletries: Many would argue that most shampoos clean the same, but more expensive ones have richer scent.
- Party supplies: Gift wrap, decorations, invitations, balloons, and party favors are a fraction of the cost of party supply stores.
- Some school and office supplies: Such as paper, sticky notes, poster board, mailing supplies, and arts and craft supplies. Greeting cards are a steal at 50 cents or $1 each.
- Holiday décor: You won’t find it any cheaper.
- Holiday Candy: Consider buying your Easter and Halloween candy here (and movie theater boxes of candy, which run between 50 cents and $1).
- MAYBE buy food. Some stores are selling name-brand food, but make sure it hasn’t expired yet.
Skip These Items
- Vitamins and medications: They may not be totally safe and often sit on the shelf so long that the expiration dates have passed.
- Electronics: The $5 MP3 player you buy at a Dollar Store will probably work like a $5 MP3 player. Extension cords and similar items often haven’t been properly tested and could be a fire hazard.
- Toys: Some from dollar & up stores are fine, but many $1 toys are made with questionable materials like lead, and they’re so cheap you’ll just have to replace them anyway.
- Batteries: They’re usually made with carbon zinc, not alkaline, so they don’t last long. You’ll end up spending as much replacing them as you would buying quality batteries the first time.
- Pens and pencils: Buy the office items listed above, but stock up on other stuff during back-to-school specials at other stores for cheaper prices and better quality.
- Pet Food: Don’t risk the health of your pet with off-brand or potentially dangerous ingredients in their food. Many pet foods that are not American made are not subjected to quality control that will protect your pet’s health and well-being
You can find best values at dollar stores if you’re willing to spend the time to separate out the items that are a true value from the ones that aren’t a wise investment. Happy bargain shopping!
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