Finding Deals at the Dollar Tree

My mom LOVES dollar stores and buys most of our Christmas stocking items at them. I think she’d buy everything at a dollar store if she could! I remember going with her as a teenager and really paying attention to the prices and the items, and I clearly remember when I realized for the first time that not everything in there was a bargain. In fact, some of the things were MORE expensive at the dollar store than at other stores! What a moment that was! I thought EVERYTHING was cheaper at the dollar store. I then developed the opposite understanding: that NOTHING was cheaper at the dollar store and generally tried to stay away from them.

Since then, I’ve gone back and forth in my opinions of dollar stores, but I have determined, after careful research, that somethings are ALWAYS cheaper at dollar stores, and some are ALWAYS more expensive. Here are some of the items that I’ve discovered as being a ‘deal’ at the dollar store near me:

Sunglasses (I’m pretty sure they’re not as good quality UV-wise as the more expensive kinds, but for someone who loses them as easily as I do and then refuses to pay $10+ for another pair for upwards of 2 years, they’re better than nothing and certainly a great deal!)

Super glue : At $1 for three tubes, you can’t beat it!

Plastic containers : I keep a lot of my kids’ clothes items in little plastic bins on a bookshelf and these are the cheapest that I have EVER found them, and they’re the perfect size!

Kids’ craft items : Have you ever been to Hobby Lobby?! They have a GIGANTIC selection and some descent deals, but if you can find anything at the dollar stores, it’s almost assuredly cheaper there.

Party supplies : My dollar store has a huge selection of party supplies, including paper products, decorations, invitations, etc. Target and the likes may have some very cute stuff, but these are just as cute and priced MUCH less. I’ve especially loved finding the plastic ware for parties because you can’t beat the price!

Balloons : If you are needing mylar balloons, the dollar store is the place to get them! They’ve got every kind of occasion balloon you can think of, all very cute, and even some character balloons! I got some Spiderman balloons for my 3 year old’s last birthday and he LOVED them!

Water accessories : Other than certified floatation devices, they have the best-priced pool stuff, from noodles to goggles, also in characters if you want them (again with the Spiderman stuff! We love it!).

In the spirit of thriftiness, here are a few things that are NOT a deal at the dollar store, especially for couponers:

food : it’s overpriced and under-portioned compared to what’s at the grocery stores. There are very few items that I would actually say is a good deal, with large bags of animal crackers possibly being the only one!

pregnancy and ovulation tests : I’ve recently switched my mind about this, because dollar store pregnancy tests were the cheapest I’d ever seen, and I was just amazed at the savings compared to the ones in the store (and trust me when I say that they’re the EXACT same thing!), but I recently bought a set of 25 pregnancy tests for about $5 on Amazon, same price as the ovulation tests. Now, I don’t know if I’ll use 25 pregnancy tests in the next couple of years, but you can be sure that I’ll definitely use more than 5 and be able to let any friends I have use them too, so I’ll be saving potentially a lot more than what it would cost at the dollar store. (Note: I’m not crazy fertility woman, I swear! I choose to not drink AT ALL when I’m pregnant because I’d rather not take ANY chances, so I like to be absolutely sure that I’m not pregnant before I have a drink at a party or a glass of wine at night. Doing this means that I can go through some tests, but the peace of mind is more than worth it!)

Toothpaste, toothbrushes, most toiletries : When you play the drugstore game, you’ll find that you’ll rarely if ever have to pay anything for most of these items, so paying $1 for them is not a deal. In fact, I just got 9 tubes of Crest toothpaste at Kroger for free to prove this to be true. The only exception is kid’s bubble bath or kid’s shampoo/conditioner if you need either of those. They’re expensive at most stores and I don’t think I’ve ever seen coupons for either of them, so those can be good deals if it’s something that you use.

Have you found either GOOD deals or BAD deals at dollar stores?

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