Who doesn’t love the dollar store? You walk in to find an endless sea of trinkets, food stuffs, and household goods for a bargain basement price that you’d swear you have to have.
While in the dollar store, it’s so easy to forget that old adage: you get what you pay for. You have to go into “super-smart-savvy-shopper” mode when you step foot into any discount retailer. Impulse buying can be the downfall of even the savviest of shoppers; so be careful. You can very easily leave with more than you need. Just keep repeating, “Just because it’s a dollar doesn’t mean it’s a deal!” in your head as you shop.
There are tons of items that are poorly made and over-priced at even a dollar. Some items can even be dangerous. (Check all food expiration dates at the dollar store. If you don’t plan on eating it the same day, you should probably skip it.)
Pull up the following list of items you should buy and items you should skip before you head to the dollar store. You’ll save yourself a ton of money and a lot of potential headaches later.
SKIP Baking Soda
You can buy these in bulk for way cheaper at your Sam's Club ,BJ's, or any other warehouse store. (It's okay to buy these in bulk as baking soda's shelf life is extensive - not to mention the fact that there are so many uses!)
Cheap batteries wear out quickly, which will ultimately mean that you'll spend more money replacing them than if you just bought the name brand in the first place.
SKIP Electronics and Cable Cords
Let's be honest - Most electronics that you'd find for $1 are going to be shoddy. Even worse? Some power cords can even damage your high-priced electronic merchandise. Save these types of purchases for your big box retailers, or better yet, your electronics store.
BUY Cleaning Supplies
Things like bleach or glass cleaner have the same ingredients that you'd find in the $3 brand name cleaners that are in your local grocery store.
Even if the cleaner you purchase seems a little diluted, use a little more and still feel confident knowing that you spent just $1.
BUY Craft and Party Supplies
You could end up paying two or even three dollars more for the same exact craft and party supplies that you'd find in a big box retailer.
Stock up on gift bags, tissue paper, craft beads, birthday supplies, and anything else craft or party related. You'll end up saving a bunch in the long run.
SKIP Garbage Bags
You may think you're getting a huge deal, but $1 garbage bags just aren't worth the hassle. They tear easily. Period.
No one wants that headache.
You'll find much better prices on NAME BRAND gum at your local grocer. Better yet? Buy gum in bulk at your local warehouse store for even more savings.
BUY Jarred Foods
Pickles and olives - no matter what they cost - always tend to taste like... pickles and olives. They're pretty much non-perishable. Still check your expiration dates, but feel pretty confident knowing that these are items you can purchase and eat at a really great bargain.
SKIP Kitchen Knives and Other Metal Kitchen Utensils
One word: RUST. Most metal utensils found in a dollar store aren't coated, which basically means they're susceptible to rusting. One spin in your dishwasher, and your $1 item goes down the drain with last night's dinner residue.
SKIP Paper Products
Don't believe the hype! A roll of paper towels for $1 may SOUND good, but it's NOT a bargain. Why? Because most paper products found in a dollar store are single-ply and super flimsy. Use coupons, and save these purchases for your grocery store.
BUY Pregnancy Tests
Yes. Most large dollar stores carry pregnancy tests. Do they work? According to studies, they actually do.
Save yourself 10 to 12 dollars on pregnancy tests and purchase them at the dollar store. If you're pregnant, you'll need that extra cash.
BUY Reading Glasses
As you get older, you lose a bit of that elasticity in your eyes, which means that reading glasses (to see things up close) are probably in your future. No need to spend a fortune on them at your eye doctor. Pick up a pair at your local dollar store! They do the same thing as the pricier kind, and you won't be anywhere NEAR as mad when you squash them.
BUY Seasonal Items
This one is HUGE. You'll be shocked to find that most dollar stores carry quite a seasonal selection. Stocking stuffers and items to decorate your home, you'll find, will be up to 70% less at the dollar store. Stock up!
You won't find anything fancy, but you can't beat spending just a dollar for large containers of your kitchen basics. Stock up on seasoning staples like cinnamon, parsley, and pepper. They'll last for quite some time if stored properly.
You may think you're getting off easy by purchasing toys for the kids at the dollar store, but these types of items tend to be the most poorly made and will break easily. Some $1 toy items could even be made with unsafe materials; so skip the toy section and save these purchases for your local big box retailer.
BUY Vases and Decorative Bowls
The prices on these items can't be beat. Skip the florist and make arrangements on your own, or stock up on quite a few of these items and create simple and chic crafts for friends and family. You'll be saving a fortune.
Do you have a dollar store purchase that you absolutely live by? Did I miss a “must buy” or “must skip” item? Let’s see them in the comments!