20 Things You Should Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Shouldn’t)

The Dollar store is this magical place where you can find bargains for almost everything.


And we do mean almost everything. Sometimes it’s better to spend a few extra bucks to make sure the object we buy will last longer or look nicer. But really, there are lots of things we can keep simple.

Here are the things you should always buy at the dollar store.

1. Coffee filters

Is there a bargain you could appreciate more on a daily basis? We don’t think so. Coffee should be at the top of the food pyramid. Anyway, coffee filters are an essential item for any office or home. Make sure you get yours at the dollar store.

2. Hair accessories

Bobby pins, headbands, combs, brushes … all here at a bargain price.

3. Plastic buckets

These buckets are always handy; be they for cleaning, washing your car, carrying something…

4. Dish towels and washcloths

You simply can’t be the dollar store price of these items.

5. Greeting cards

You know the heart of the message you’ll write is the same no matter how expensive the card looks, right? Stop spending $5 or more on a single card when you could buy at least 5 for the same price there.

6. Picture frames

Are you crafty? Buy basic picture frames at the dollar store and improve them with a little paint or decorations.

7. Socks

The dollar store’s socks can be as good as the department’s store.

8. Party supplies

Get your tablecloths, paper plates, cups, straws, balloons, streamers and favours from the dollar store and save big. By some estimates, you could save up to 70% by doing so.

9. Pregnancy tests

Drugstore tests can set you back $10 to $15, but you can find them at some dollar stores for only $1. You might think they would be less reliable, but no, they are as reliable as the more expensive options.

10. Vase and decorative bowls

Buy your vase and bowls here, they have a number of styles, sizes and prices that can’t be beaten.

11. Plastic food containers

You’ve got deals such as 4 for $1, or an extra durable container for $1, compared to other stores, where you can easily buy 1 container for more than $5.

12. Chocolate and candy

They will be cheaper here than at the grocery store, especially when it comes to Halloween candies.

13. Notebooks

Notebooks can easily make you go over budget if you shop at a superstore, where they are often between $5 and $10. Buy them at your dollar store and you won’t exceed your budget.

14. Storage containers

Here’s a place where you and please your inner organization freak as much as you want and buy containers for cheap in a wide variety of sizes, colours and prices.

15. Mugs and glasses

Like vases and bowls, mugs and glasses are a good dollar store buy. Also, you can normally buy only what you need, as opposed to being forced to buy a set.

16. Seasonal decor

The dollar store can have a surprising selection of robust decorations, from Santas to scarecrows and Easter bunnies to your typical Canada Day decorations (or 4th of July, hello there southern neighbours).

17. Dishware

Dishes here are simple and serviceable pieces. They’re just perfect for those on a tight budget, students or young parents with clumsy children.

18. Tote bags

We’ve arrived at an age where we start giving one about the environment, so do your part and get yourself a bunch of polyester totes at the dollar store to use them instead of plastic bags wherever you go. The Earth says thank you, and your future great-grandchildren too!

19. Reading glasses

A simple pair of reading glasses is perfect as we age. No need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair when we can get what we need here.

20. Wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes

Let’s be real: your wrapping paper and probably gift bag too will end up in the trash. Why pay more than the dollar store price for that?

21. To Never Buy: Deodorant

You will find many branded items in your local dollar store, such as deodorant and antiperspirant. But before you buy, check the size first. Often, a larger version is available for not much more at the pharmacy, which means it is a better value.

22. To Never Buy: Toys

Dollar store toys are great if they are not going to be used much, but they will not resist regular use. Be careful with toys for toddlers, as some parts can come loose and become a choking hazard.

23. To Never Buy: Tools

Cheap tools are perfect for emergency or if you only use them a few times, but if you want tools that will last for years, you’d better invest a little more to buy good quality.

24. To Never Buy: Batteries

Batteries in a dollar store can be poorly manufactured and empty quickly. Some do not have modern formulations and will let you down, or worse: they will leak. When it comes to batteries, choose brand names you can trust.

25. To Never Buy: Knives

If you need knives that won’t be of much use to you (say for these camping trips twice a year), then go ahead. But if you plan to cook seriously, save yourself a lot of frustration and buy good knives.

26. To Never Buy: Earbuds/Headphones

For a dollar or two, headphones in dollar stores may seem like a good deal, but they usually sound very bad. You can get a good pair of headphones for 10-20$ at any major retailer or online.

27. To Never Buy: USB Chargers

If you are looking for cheap chargers for old cell phones and devices that don’t need a lot of energy, the USB chargers in the dollar store will work perfectly. But if you want to charge the latest smartphones and tablets, you may be disappointed. The charger may not have enough juice to charge your device or, if so, it will charge at a much slower rate.

28. To Never Buy: HDMI Cables

The prices charged by some places for HDMI cables are indecent, so it is not surprising that you are tempted by the cheap variety of dollar stores. Yes, they are inexpensive, but they are also prone to breakage.

The best place for this type of cable is in online computer stores or websites like Amazon. You can always find a good deal and get the quality you deserve.

29. To Never Buy: Plastic Cooking Utensils

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, some plastic utensils may contain chemicals related to health problems. Instead, they recommend buying more expensive stainless steel utensils.

30. To Never Buy: School Supplies

Post-its that don’t stick. Leaking pens. But many other school supplies from dollar stores are very good, aren’t they? Yes, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal says you could find better offers in bulk quantities when big stores have sales.