I shop at dollar stores. Dollar Tree mainly.
And while my trips aren’t frequent, there are a handful of things I won’t buy anywhere else. I thought I’d share these with you in hopes of saving you money.
1) Greeting cards. I appreciate fine stationery, custom Christmas cards and thank-you notes from local paperie stores (letterpress notes are my favorite), but when it comes to greeting-card occasions such as birthdays, Father’s Day, graduations, Valentine’s Day, get well moments, Grandparent’s Day, etc. I opt for Dollar Store cards. They carry Hallmark and other brands we’re all familiar with and are $0.50-$1 max in price. Can’t beat it.
2) Party supplies. This is where you save the big bucks. Party expenses add up. I know because I’ve thrown a few showers and parties in the past five years. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I started shopping at the Dollar Tree for party stuff, but when you can get 20 paper plates in whatever color you need for $1 … you don’t go anywhere else for your supplies. Plastic silverware, party trays, paper napkins, cups, streamers, mylar and regular balloons, centerpieces, piñatas confetti, and other party decor. ALL $1! I mean, it’s seriously the best place for this stuff – especially since you can get the colors you need or stuff themed to birthdays, baby showers, St. Patty’s Day, bridal showers, luau, Fourth of July and more.
<< ACTUAL SUPPLIES FROM DOLLAR TREE CATALOG >>
3) Gift wrap. (Note that I didn’t say gifts). I get my wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, bows, tissue paper, gift boxes, decorative gift tins and treat bags and tins, tape, gift tags — everything I need to wrap presents – all for just $1. For Christmas, it makes a big impact on our pocketbook, since we wrap so many items and give out so many baked goodies. They get a lot of variety and you don’t have to go early to get the good stuff like you have to do at Target and Container Store. The only downside is that the wrapping paper isn’t as thick as the more expensive kind.
4) Cleaning supplies. These things add up fast at Kroger and Tom Thumb, and sadly I’m too lazy to make a trip to my nearby Dollar Tree to get these after my grocery run, but occasionally I do and never regret it. If you need sponges, paper towels, Brillo pads, bleach, dish soap (Palmolive, Ajax, etc.) and more, go to a dollar store. Most of the cleaning supplies are off-brands, some of which look sketch, but there are several good brands and the off-brands often have the same ingredients. You can even buy a mop or broom for $1.
5) Floral and craft supplies. Before you undertake a major DIY project and hit up your local Hobby Lobby, do one little pop-in at your neighborhood dollar store. Just see if they have anything you need … if you’re making a wreath or centerpiece, creating a floral arrangement yourself and are looking for vases or sand/stones for the vases, dollar stores carry some of this stuff! My Dollar Tree does at least.
PS: Dollar Tree sells online, so you don’t have to be “seen” inside the store if you’re weird about that sort of thing, or if you want to see a larger selection. They have different stuff online than at the stores.
Now, here’s a cheat sheet for things you should NEVER buy at the dollar store:
1A) Food/baby food/drinks/candy. Yes they do sell it and no you shouldn’t buy it. Needs no more explanation.
2) Gifts/toys. They all look super, super cheap and I’d imagine they’re so inexpensive because they’re faulty, unsafe or something else undesirable. They all just look very sad. Just skip ahead to Toys R Us or Walmart.
3) Makeup. I’m not sure you’d buy it even if you saw it, but take my word for it. The stuff looks like it was mixed and packaged at someone’s house. Plus, nothing that cheap can be good for your skin or body (this same train of thought applies to No. 1).
4) Batteries. They’re not safe (think frequent leaking battery acid) and they don’t last.
5) Pet supplies. Remember the Chinese dog food contamination crisis with all the nasty ingredients your dogs shouldn’t be eating in it? Well, where do you think the $1 dog food/bones/treats are coming from? CHINA! That or Mexico, and I doubt either places are making the world’s best $1 dog food. I could be wrong though…
>>> So, do you shop at a dollar store? What do you buy? Where do you get your best deals? Share, share share! I want to know.
Hey, thanks for the info! You’ve convinced me. 🙂
I’m a huge lover of Dollar Tree for many things — I use them for greeting cards, party decorations, seasonal decorations, arts and crafts, cleaning supplies, etc. Your list is spot on! For awhile I would grab some snacks at Dollar Tree such as trail mix and such, and they were fine – but they aren’t as fresh as in a normal store. Great post!
Siren’s Table – I just went last night and got two cards, two tubes of wrapping paper, two huge decorative bows for the wrapping and a picture frame! $6. UNBELIEVABLE, right? (And I’ve totally binged on Dollar Store spicy cheetohs before … just scared me a little about their freshness, same as you, hehe).
I shop there for party supplies & crayons/coloring books for my girls. The seasonal section usually has a few things I pick up. For my daughters frog birthday party I found frog themed bubbles & frog goodie boxes. Can’t beat spending a $1 on those sort of things. http://twopinktutus.blogspot.com/2012/09/masyns-frog-party.html
I usually don’t have a problem with buying candy/drinks from the dollar store, as long as I check dates. There are some candies/snacks that I have a hard time finding anywhere else. Also, I can buy my Arizona tea there when the price has gone up everywhere else. I just make sure it’s not from China.
And of course, I use all sorts of things from dollar stores as bento supplies.
My most recent purchase? flip-flops and a big, floppy summer hat!