A Dollar Tree StoreCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Ildar Sagdejev http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Specious

What things should you buy at a dollar store?  The aisles are stocked with many retail items at cheap prices.  What you should look for are product categories in which the name brand or highest product quality is not vital to your purchasing decision.  You don’t want to go a local dollar store establishment and buy jewelry for instance.  You need to walk in the store with a clear idea of the types of things to buy.  Here are some ideas.

Cleaning Products

I always buy cleaning products at a Big Lots or a bargain basement store.  Many cleaning products are ammonia or bleached based.  Having a particular brand of ammonia or bleach really doesn’t matter in terms of cleaning the shower or the sink.  The shower and sink won’t care what you use.  

Thank You Cards

Generally, a thank you card is sent as a token of appreciation of a gift or a dinner at someone’s Aisles of a dollar storeCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Alexpankratzhouse and the recipient is pleased you were thoughtful enough to write without great consideration of the elaborateness of the card.  Simple works for thank you cards.  You might also consider buying holiday cards at a dollar store as well, particularly if you send out a lot of them.  Most of us focus more on what is written in the card or the picture enclosed than the actual card itself.  You can save quite a bit by avoiding Hallmark or other brand name cards for holiday needs.

Hair Accessories

These are items such as combs, brushes, barrettes and headbands.  You should consider adding these to your list of things to buy at a dollar store. The brand name doesn’t really matter and the dollar store products work as well as those from department stores.  Barrettes and headbands from a dollar store also look very similar to those acquired from higher priced retailers.  No one can really see a brand logo on a hair barrette anyway.  Go with what’s inexpensive.

Canned Goods or Products Sold in Glass jars

Most bargain stores have some collection of canned goods for sale.  The idea here is to buy those sorts of things which are basic and specific taste isn’t an issue.  For instance, you probably don’t want to get the lowest price barbeque sauce or spaghetti sauce at a dollar store, but you should consider buying diced or stewed tomatoes that could be added to a pasta recipe.  Canned green beans or lima beans mostly have a generic taste and are good candidates for a dollar A Family Dollar Store at nightCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Bart Everson http://www.flickr.com/people/11018968@N00store purchase.  In all events, makes sure to check out the expiration date on discount store food items.  The retailer could have acquired them wholesale at a discount because the merchandise was nearing its expiration date. 

Plastic Food Storage Containers

You don’t need to go with the Tupperware brand name for food storage.  For many of us, the drawer holding the plastic food containers becomes a disaster area of mismatched tops and containers.  This is a crisis at my Mom’s house.  Whenever my Mom hosts a holiday meal, my daughter and I do the cleanup.  We always argue over who has to dive into the Tupperware cabinet to retrieve containers.  Nothing is matched on the stuff is stacked up like an old Jenga game.  Sometimes things come tumbling out just by opening the cabinet.  Long story short, you can clean out the old stuff and buy new sets of containers with matched tops at the dollar store.  The word to the wise here is to only buy those things you won’t put in a microwave oven.  Poor quality plastic can leach into the food when placed in a microwave, so you do need to buy better brands if you think you might put them in the microwave for reheating later.

Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils

For a large gathering when folks are eating from paper plates, the brand name for the plate that will be quickly discarded isn’t important.  Save some money by adding this category to your things to buy at a dollar store or Big Lots.  Even if the paper plates are too thin you can still double them up for use and still have a bargain.

Party Supplies

If you’re hosting a baby shower or birthday party and want streamers or other similar items, the bargain store is a great source.  These products are always discarded immediately after the party concludes, so you can save some by getting them at a cheap source such as a dollar store.

Some Personal Care Products

A Family Dollar Store during the dayCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Michael Rivera http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MjrmtgSome generic personal care products are just as effective as name brands.  For instance, dollar store hand sanitizers and petroleum jelly are going to work as well as those purchased from more expensive retailers.  Some hand and body lotions at the dollar store will be effective as well.  I typically use lower priced shampoos and conditioners, so most of the time I pick some up at the Big Lots or dollar store.  I know many women have their preferences for name brand hair care products, but for me it doesn’t really matter.  I’ve also found that generic shaving creams from the dollar store work as well as the more expensive name brands.

Crossword Puzzles

If you’re addicted to crossword puzzles or word games, the bargain store can be a great source to stock up.  Many of us now use cell phones or iPads for games when we’re otherwise sitting around, but it’s convenient to have some game books when electronic devices aren’t available or convenient to use.  For instance, I don’t like sitting on the beach playing a game on my cell phone.  I’d rather have a pencil and a cheap game book that can get doused with water or stuck in sand without me crying.


The absolute best dollar stores are those located very close to a movie theater.  The best feelingA Family Dollar StoreCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - Youngamerican http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Youngamerican in the world is going to the bargain store and stocking up on candy before going to the movies.  You can mock the five dollar candy displays as you walk into the theater with your stealth candy supply.  That feeling even makes the movie more enjoyable before you’ve even seen it.

Save some bucks by going to a dollar store.  Just make sure the things you buy are those in which brand name is not important.  Go to the store with a plan.

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