Dollar stores are always a really great way to save money locally. They sell a huge assortment of low cost goods that every family should be taking advantage of. These savings can really add up if you pick and choose items selectively rather than buying them at full retail cost through larger box stores. I got the inspiration for this blog entry seeing some other bloggers post about what things you should and shouldn’t buy when you go to the dollar store. So, here is my own version.
Do buy gardening seeds. You can save a huge amount of money by buying your gardening seeds at the dollar store. Instead of paying 1.50 per pack you can pick up these packages for 3 for 1.00!
Seasonal merchandise. Need some great cost effective decorations for your holidays? Pick up a deal in the seasonal section rather than buying these in big box stores. You’ll often only pay 1.00-1.25 a package rather than triple that at Walmart or other stores.
Kitchen utensils. Some of my favorite dollar store buys are kitchen utensils. If you need a new spatula, colander, scraper, pastry brush – most dollar stores are now carrying Betty Crocker style utensils which really are a steal compared to buying them anywhere else. You still get a good brand name utensil but at a fraction of the cost.
Aluminum pans and pie plates! When summer rolls around and you start to use the barbeque more and more these become a lifesaver. Just throw your fresh veggies in an aluminum pan, cover with a piece of tin foil, add a little butter and pop them on the BBQ above your meat and you’ll have a quick, easy and delicious meal. We regularly BBQ potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, onions, cloves of garlic for a healthy meal.
With every dollar store there are things that you probably shouldn’t purchase. I mean – you’re paying for the convenience sized packing of the smaller items like name brand cleaning products but if you’re careful and use coupons combined with a sale you can easily score full sized cleaning products at big box stores for cheaper than these little bottles of 2.00 cleaning products. It really all comes down to knowing your prices, what to buy and where and when.
There is nothing better than a well organized stockpile and you really can’t go wrong buying these little plastic bins which are great for organizing things within your home. Think beyond the kitchen too. These make great divers in drawers for craft supplies, for storing makeup or bottles in the bathroom, for organizing toys in the kids room and more!
You can’t beat the price of a 2.00 frame. Also if you need a way to frame your certificates you can’t beat the cost of the frames at the dollar store. Just make sure the ones you pick aren’t pre damaged before you get them home. Most dollar stores don’t allow returns or exchanges so make sure what you’re buying is in A-OK condition before leaving the store. Document frames in retail outlets can run you 30+ dollars or even more.
Need a candle fix? If you need candles the dollar stores carries them in a wide variety of scents, sizes, colours and you can’t beat the price of a 1.00 for a candle. Lots of retail outlets sell them at a huge markup.
Craft Supplies. Definitely go nuts on the craft supply section. These are just as good quality as the stuff you’ll often find at Michaels Arts and Crafts or other big box stores. Your kids won’t even notice the difference.
Some craft items I suggest you SKIP at the dollar store are off brand Pencil Crayons and Markers. If you want items that really last you’ll want to splurge and purchase Crayola. Honestly – crayola can’t be beat when it comes to making markers and pencil crayons.
School Supplies. Pick up your duo-tangs and folders, binders, pens and pencils, sharpeners, pencil cases when it’s not school supply purchasing time to get good deals on all these items. Often if you’re careful and purchase your school supplies at the right time of year you can get even better deals. But the dollar store makes an excellent one stop shop when it comes to preparedness for school or the office. Buy your couponing supplies here too! Coupon folders, receipt organizers, staplers, pens, calculators, paper clips, and hockey card inserts. CHEAP!
Crayons are another excellent buy at the Dollarstore. They make great party favors or purchase an extra box to keep in a travel kit for on the go kid friendly entertainment.
Pregnancy tests. BUY IT! All strip pregnancy tests are basically the same. There is an agent on the paper that indicates in the presence of the hormone that is released by a woman’s body during pregnancy. Buy it here for a buck twenty five OR over 10.00 bucks at the pharmacy. It’s the same thing, just difference packaging.
Hand Soap refills! Buy them at the dollar store. Off brand hand soap goes further than buying refills at big box stores.
Off brand dollar store chocolate. SKIP IT! Often unless the chocolate is name branded I recommend skipping certain candies and food items. You don’t really know what ingredients they’re using. It’s worth buying a better quality chocolate. This is another case of where QUALITY is better than QUANTITY. Make sure you’re checking for BEST BEFORE dates on candies and food items at the dollar store.
Batteries for toys! Definitely buy them at the dollar store. Way cheaper than buying name brand in big box stores again. And if you go through a lot of them as I do (with a 3 year old at home and the acres of electronic toys we own) it’s cheap and easy to have a drawer full of batteries ready to go when a toy needs a new battery.
Greeting cards. Another great buy at the dollar store. Most people just read a card once and then throw it out so why spend 5.00+ bucks on a card at a big box or convenient store when you know this is the truth. Get your cards for a 1.00 or make your own at home!
Things to SKIP at the dollar store. Pre packaged bread, cookies, crackers, muffins. I mean – it said on this package that these muffins are good until 2014? Really HOW do muffins stay good until 2014 without acres of preservatives? Be good to your body and stay away from the items that are full of preservatives like this.
Canned baby corns. BUY IT! You won’t find these cheaper anywhere. Canned baby corns are great on the BBQ in the summer, and great for stir fries, but don’t pay full prize for them at the grocery store. I have seen canned baby corn for as high as 1.50-1.99 at these larger grocery stores.
If you’re in a pinch and need quick and fast pasta sauce Primo pasta sauce for 1.25 is a pretty good deal.
Allens Fruit Juices. Stay away from the “drinks” that are not made out of real fruit. Check the label for 100% real fruit and save your money by buy these affordable apple juices.
SKIP IT. MINI bottles of Clamato. Why pay 1.25 for a tiny bottle of Clamato juice when you could purchase a full size bottle for 2.50 on sale? Again you’re paying for convenience sized packaging. So if you’re wanting to take it to work or on a trip this may be a good buy at the time, but for regular home consumption buy the full sized bottles when they’re on sale.
Cans of play doh. Personally I would SKIP this one. I recommend not buying single cans of play doh. If you’re going to buy play doh buy it in the larger bulk format of several pots of play doh rather than just one. You get a better deal for your money when you buy several. And if you get them on sale your money will go farther. If you want your money to go even father there are tons of play clay recipes online where you can make your own out of a few simple ingredients that you keep around your kitchen anyways.
Party supplies are always cheap at Dollarstores, a great place to stock up!
Buy your gift wrapping materials here too. There is no reason you need to spend more than 2 bucks to wrap a gift! Same with cards, if you can make it yourself DO! They just get thrown out anyways.
Gardening supplies. Pots are a cheap buy here. They seem to be at least triple the price everywhere else!
I would recommend leaving the oven mitts. They’re not great quality and you will likely burn yourself THROUGH them if not careful. Splurge and get yourself a good pair.
Again kids craft supplies are great. If you need a small amount. If you need larger amounts you’re better to buy in bulk elsewhere. Always check your paint and glue before you buy. Sometimes these items have been sitting in the stock room for a long time and have hardened.
Dish clothes. I’d personally skip it and get some really good quality ones.
Check your tupper ware containers before you buy them. If they’re good quality and strong and the lids fit well you should buy them. If not leave em. A lot of the items you have to investigate the quality before buying.
Dvd’s etc. Leave em. This is a junky buy and not very high quality and almost always an impulse buy.
Need a cheap pair of headphones for the kids to wreck? These will do. Not high quality again. So if you’re a music lover and enjoy quality of sound maybe leave em.
Another favorite buy of mine at the dollar store are these framing kits. These actually retail for quite expensive in professional framing shops. Buy this one rather than paying 10 bucks for the same thing elsewhere.
The silk flowers are much cheaper than anywhere else. If you need fake flowers this is a good way to do it. I actually purchased some really lovely pretty good quality white roses at Dollarama to decorate an outside arbor for my wedding. It was a good buy.
Dollarama cleaning supplies. Personal I’d leave em. I like my name brand stuff and I can get them just as cheap or cheaper shopping the sales and using coupons. Or if you’re extra cheap and want to go with natural just use vinegar and water, and water and bleach.
Slide seal bags. They’re awful – don’t buy them.
Bag clips. Great for keeping all your bags closed to keep your food fresh at home. I swear by these little things and we have a drawer full of em!
Glassware. So cheap. Really a great buy if you need some extra place settings last minute.
So what do you think? What are your favorite things to buy at the Dollarstore? Did I miss anything? All comments welcome <3