8 things you should always buy at the dollar store


Julie Mitchell

Julie Mitchell

Blog author Julie Mitchell

Julie is a producer of blogs, films and children in Los Angeles.

Published September 29, 2015|5 min read

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Love these tips? Here are 7 more things you can buy at the dollar store to save money.Saving money rarely saves you time. In fact, saving money can use up a lot of your time. It requires research and coupon clipping and going to three different stores to get the best deals. Saving money can be a full time job and I already have a job and kids, and going to the store is always a last minute thing I have to do. I just want to get it over with and not prolong the process to save money.But there is one place worth an extra stop. There is a place that makes it so incredibly easy to save money, it’s worth the extra time.I’m talking about a good dollar store. In your town it may be called the 99 Cent Store, or the Dollar Store, or Dollar General, or the Buck Stops Here. (Is that a thing? Because it should be). Whatever the name, if everything in the store is a dollar and they have a good selection, you should shop there. No, really, you should.

If you aren’t buying these 8 things at a dollar store, you’re wasting hundreds of dollars a year.

1. Gift bags

It happens to me all the time. I go to buy a gift at Target on my way to a party and then I spend $6 more for a gift bag and tissue, when I could have paid $2 for the same thing at the dollar store. You can stock up on fancy bags for all occasions; baby showers, birthdays, graduations, and generics (okay, generics isn’t an official occasion yet). And for the holidays, you will easily save a $100 on bags and boxes by buying them at the dollar store. They have good wrapping paper and ribbons too, but there is not much paper on the roll.

2. Party supplies

For my kids’ joint birthday party last year, we bought plates, cups, table covers, utensils, napkins, and birthday signs from the dollar store. They looked and worked exactly like the plates, cups, table covers, utensils, napkins, and birthday signs that cost three times as much at a party supply store.

3. Party favors, stocking stuffers, prizes, and Easter egg fillers

You can get brand name candy, small toys, knick-knacks, patty wacks, dog bones, dust masks and gauze. What? You don’t send kids home from your party with dust masks?

4. Outdoor toys

At times, it looks like the dollar store exploded in our yard. We have hula hoops, balls, frisbees, pool noodles, jump ropes, bubbles and sidewalk chalk (which my son taste tests every single day) each purchased for one buck.

5. Art supplies

My daughter can go through an entire pad of drawing paper in one inspired art session and I don’t mind because it cost me a dollar. There are tons of cool arts and craft supplies (paint, glitter glue, posters, foam, stencils, etc.) at the dollar store. Sometimes my daughter and I go and let the supplies inspire our next project (AKA my daughter is bored out of her mind and I’m out of ideas so we go to the dollar store and hope that something in the art section will distract us for an hour and save our relationship).

6. Cleaning supplies

I bought sponges the other day. The exact same brand that would normally cost me $4, cost me a dollar. I’d like to say that there was a time in my life that saving money on sponges did not excite me, but I’ve always been a sucker for cheap sponges. You can also buy the serious, chemical kind of liquid cleaners here. Sometimes, the eco friendly spray just isn’t going to eliminate the kind of germs you’ve got going on in your kid’s bathroom.

7. Office, school and organization supplies

I’ve bought envelopes, staples, pens, markers, computer paper, folders, rulers, tape and a hairbrush at the dollar store. The hairbrush is the essential office supply for the modern worker, in case you didn’t know.

8. Holiday decorations

No, seriously. Our Christmas tree is lovingly known as the "Dollar Store Tree". My husband and I bought all our decorations from here in our first and least wealthy Christmas together. And you know what? They turned out so charming, we return to the dollar store every year to replenish our supplies. My toddler LOVES to pick out Halloween decorations from the dollar store too. One dollar cob webs anyone?

Hot, rainy or snowy days are dollar store days in our house. We used to go to the mall when the temperature broke 100 degrees for days in a row and let the kids run wild in the air conditioning. The only problem was that our spending also ran wild. But, when we go to the dollar store on hot days, we each get a $3 limit and can spend an hour roaming the air conditioned aisles trying to figure out which three items are worth our money. Plus, as my son exercises down the aisles, I have the comfort of knowing that anything he breaks won’t break my bank.I highly recommend Dollar Store Holiday too. Take a few friends or family to the store together and have everyone pick out one gift for each participating member. Have fun trying to avoid each other in the store and check out line. Buy the wrapping paper right there, go home and huddle in separate corners to wrap the gifts, and then exchange them. Make a whole, inexpensive night of it.We’ve had a glass porcupine sitting on our porch for six years. A friend picked it out for me in a Dollar Store Christmas run before we even had kids. Now my kids pet it on the way in and out of our house everyday.Oh, Dollar Store, you have my heart.What are your tips for finding the best value at your local dollar store? Share them below!Photo credit: Jed Sullivan