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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thrifty Thursday - Dollar Stores

Almost every community has at least one dollar store.  Bright and clean, they attract money-conscious people with the allure of bargain goods for only one dollar.  Are they really such a bargain?  It depends.  Some things are definitely worth buying while other items are iffy and others are a definite no. 

The best buys - 

Party supplies - Decorations, balloons, invitations, table settings - Hard to find a better price elsewhere!
Gift wrapping supplies - Gift bags, wrapping paper, tissue,'s all there.
Kids socks - That's right, socks!  Kids go through socks so quickly, it doesn't really matter that the quality isn't the best.  They have lots of fun colors and patterns.  Kids love them!
Disposable baking pans.  If you ever have to take food to a potluck or to a friends house, these are great!
Organizing containers - Caddies, bins and buckets...useful but can be flimsy.  I wouldn't suggest using dollar store containers for kids stuff.  They are easily broken.
Storage containers - same as the organizing containers above.  Great for light use (kitchen, pantry, crafts etc.) Wouldn't use them for kids stuff.
Books, coloring books, activity books - Not a great selection of books but occasionally you can find something useful.  Lots of coloring books, kids books and activity books for trips and rainy days.
Seasonal supplies - A great place to buy stuff for holidays!

The things that aren't such a great buy at dollar stores include -

1. Toys.  Usually of poor quality and broken easily.   Use caution.
2. Medications and vitamins.   Too many unknowns about quality.
3. Most food - Deceptive packaging, possible expired product, some products made in countries not regulated by U.S. standards.
4. Back to School supplies - Can usually be bought cheaper during sales at stores like Walmart and Target.  Quality of items like crayons and paint pretty bad at dollar stores.
5. Batteries and electronics.  Poor quality.

As with all shopping, it's good to compare not only price but quality of the goods.  Sometimes, spending a little more will get an item that lasts longer.  Some things it doesn't matter.  It's all up to you.  


  1. Ah HA!I am validated! I have long been telling sister than batteries from the dollar store do not as long as others, if they work at all. They were probably made back when you only had 3 or 4 kids! ;-)

    1. Funny! But really, have your sister check various research groups online that test the quality of dollar store goods. They all say to stay away from the batteries. You win!