What You Should (And Should Not) Buy At Dollar Stores

You can save a whole lot of money shopping at dollar stores like Dollar Tree or Dollar General. But you need to know what you should buy at these thrifty discount retailers, and what you absolutely shouldn’t.

Luckily, we did the work for you, and we’ve got the tips broken out by category for you right here!

1. Seasonal Decor

You can find some great deals on seasonal decorations. Why spend a ton of money on stuff that you only use once a year?

With some big seasonal events coming up, now is the perfect time to visit the dollar store.  There are typically great items you can find for a dollar, which will help make your house incredibly festive.

Watch Out For: Broken or cracked items or trinkets. You can also find baskets, vases, and frames at a local thrift store for less than $1.00.

Here are six creative ways to use dollar store items:

2. Craft Supplies For Kids

Crafting is a great way for kids to express themselves and stretch their creativity. But! Craft supplies can get very expensive.

Liquid glue, glitter, paint, scissors, brushes, pipe cleaners and much more can be found at many dollar stores. Be sure to stock up here and save big.

Don’t Buy: Glue sticks and Play-Doh (both tend to dry out quickly, if they’re not already dried out upon opening) and crayons (they don’t work well).

These are two fun and easy art projects you can do with your kids!

3. Cleaning Supplies

Buying generic brands from dollar stores will save you a lot of money and not make yousacrifice on quality. Many are made with the same ingredients as brand-labeled products.

Don’t Buy: Garbage bags and brooms, reviews on quality tend to be low. Broom handles may break more easily and bags can tear.

4. Apparel

How many single socks are in your home? Buying items that quickly wear out (or get lost) at the dollar store will save cash—and your sanity.

Don’t Buy: Hangers. You can usually find them cheaper at a big box store in bulk (like Sam’s Club or Costco).

RELATED: How The Prices At Aldi, Target And Walmart Stack Up

5. Cards And Bags

Greeting cards at big-box stores can cost an upwards of $6.00 each! The sentiment is the same, and it’s really your words inside that make a card thoughtful to a recipient.  Gift bags are also a great value.

You can find cute designed large bags for $1 versus more than $6 at other big retailers.

Don’t Buy: Trading cards and books. You can typically get a better value at a thrift store or big box store.

Flickr | Random Retail

6. Party Supplies

Cups, plates, napkins, servingware, and even bowls and tablecloths can be purchased at a dollar store instead of a large retailer. And many dollar stores have holiday and birthday-themed party packs, making your trip and selection that much easier.

Don’t Buy: Utensils, as they tend to break a little more easily.

7. Beauty Supplies And Hair Care

Typically, a full aisle at dollar stores is dedicated t0 quality beauty products and accessories at a fraction of the name-brand price. Don’t waste your money where you can save.

Don’t Buy: Off-brand lotions, cologne, feminine care, and Q-tips. You can usually find these cheaper on sale at other stores.

8. Health Supplies

There’s a surprising number of health and first-aid related products at discount dollar stores. Stock up here and keep a kit at home and each of your cars so you have what you need when you need it.

Don’t Buy: Batteries and light bulbs, as they don’t last long.

RELATED: You Could Have A Rare Penny Worth Thousands—Or Even Millions—Of Dollars In Your Wallet

9. Food And Snacks

Spices, seasoning, trips to the movie theater and goodie bags for birthday parties can be extremely expensive. Buy candy and fillers here to save some cash. Some stores have coupons on popsicles $1/1, which ultimately makes them free!

Things To Watch Out For: Expiration dates.

What are your favorite dollar store steals?