19 Things I Always Buy at the Dollar Store

While everyone has their own savings strategies when it comes to groceries and household goods, I tend to take the easy route. Instead of driving from store to store to snag deals, I do almost all of my shopping at Kroger.

My friendly neighborhood supermarket may not always have the lowest prices, but they usually do. Plus, shopping at just one store helps me save something more important than money – time.

Yet, I always make one more shopping trip each month, and that’s to my local Dollar Tree. It’s right around the corner from my house, and it has some awesome deals. Keep in mind, there are many types of dollar stores, including Dollar General. The store I’m talking about here is Dollar Tree, where everything is $1 or less.

19 Things I Always Buy at Dollar Tree

While I occasionally buy something random at Dollar Tree, I normally go there to stock up on specific essentials. Because, let’s face it, some items at Dollar Tree are so cheap it would be a sin to buy them elsewhere.

How cheap? Well, everything is a dollar or less! It doesn’t get much cheaper than that.

Here are 19 things I always buy at the dollar store:

#1: Flip-flops

It’s hard to beat $1 shoes no matter how cheap or flimsy they are. We do most of our vacations at the beach, and Dollar Tree flip-flops are perfect for those trips.

Lose a shoe in the ocean? Forget them at your hotel? Who cares?

It’s hard to stress over a pair of shoes that costs just a dollar. But really, I’ve had Dollar Tree flip-flops last for years. That’s why I keep buying them. And since most similar shoes would cost $5 or more elsewhere, you can save $4 or more per pair.

#2: Cards

I’m awful when it comes to birthdays and anniversaries, often forgetting about them until the last minute. Fortunately, I’ve learned to keep a bunch of cards in stock so I can mail them out on the fly.

Dollar Tree lets you buy two cards for $1, which makes it easy to stock up on generic cards for emergencies. I typically buy 10 cards every few months – a few for birthdays, and some for other occasions. I also buy Dollar Tree’s blank cards so I can fill them out however I want.

Since birthday and anniversary cards can easily cost $4 or more at the supermarket or drug store, this is a huge savings!

#3: Balloons

While I rarely buy balloons for birthdays and special occasions, there are times when I’ll splurge. At Dollar Tree, you can get a balloon for $1, five balloons for $5, and so on. If you don’t like any of the balloons that are already prepared, they’ll also blow one up for you.

Balloons can cost $5 and up at the grocery store, so this is an awesome deal when you need balloons for any reason. The Dollar Tree doesn’t normally have specialty balloons or large balloons in animal shapes, but the basic balloons they do have are nice.

#4: Party Supplies

Along with balloons, Dollar Tree is a great place to buy party supplies. You can buy solid color tablecloths, plastic cutlery, napkins, and more – all for $1 a package.

I always buy my kid’s birthday party supplies here. They don’t always have the most up-to-date party “themes,” and their stuff isn’t fancy, but it’s good enough for me. Dollar Tree is also a great place to buy paper plates to use for barbecues or dinners when you don’t feel like doing dishes.

#5: Wrapping Paper

If you don’t keep wrapping paper in stock, it’s easy to overspend in a crisis. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve paid $5 or more for wrapping paper in the store when I was in a hurry.

These days, we keep wrapping paper from the Dollar Tree in stock all the time. It’s only $1 per roll, and we try to buy generic patterns that can work for any occasion. I also buy holiday wrapping paper here at the end of the year.

#6: Gift Bags

Gift bags are another Dollar Tree steal that are crazy expensive at regular stores. I frequently see gift bags for $5 or more at the grocery store, yet they’re only (you guessed it) $1 at the Dollar Tree.

The selection may not be that great, but you can’t beat the price. I’ve had the best luck finding gift bags for baby showers and birthdays, but they do have cute holiday bags at the end of the year, too. It’s always smart to keep a few of these on hand. You never know when you’ll have to prepare a last-minute gift, and gift bags make the wrapping part easy.

#7: School and Office Supplies

Since my husband and I work at home, we occasionally need to buy supplies for our office – pens, pencils, Sharpies, and markers. We always find what we need for $1 at Dollar Tree. The only office supply I wish they would carry is printer paper.

We also buy some of our kid’s school supplies here. They don’t always have everything we need, but they usually have pens, paper, glue, erasers, and so on. Whether you’re trying to stock up for your own kids or simply want supplies to donate, Dollar Tree has some good deals.

#8: Paint Supplies

My local Dollar Tree has an entire section full of paint brushes and supplies. They’ve got small brushes for edging or big ones for large walls, rolling pans, and roller brushes. They also have painting tape and other supplies.

Since paint brushes run about $3 to $10 (and sometimes more) at Lowe’s or Home Depot, the brushes at Dollar Tree are a steal. They may not be the world’s best quality, but they work fine for most painting jobs. Since I like to touch up the interior paint of my home occasionally, I keep these brushes on hand at all times.

#9: Medicine and First Aid

Generic Tylenol, Band-Aids, and cough drops are all things I buy regularly at Dollar Tree. They also have eye drops, medicine for kids, and first-aid supplies.

While it’s easy to assume Dollar Tree medicine is sketchy, you can check expiration dates before you buy. We’ve been using medicine and first-aid supplies from Dollar Tree for a long time, and we’ve never had a problem.

#10: Razors

Razors can be insanely expensive at the grocery store or the drug store. But, at Dollar Tree, everything is only $1!

You can buy 5-packs of the flimsy single disposable razors, or 3-packs of the nicer luxury razors. I tend to buy the 3-packs of the nicer razors because they last longer. If you’re not picky about which brand of razor you use, these are a steal.

#11: Dental Care

I buy nearly all our dental care items at Dollar Tree – things like floss, toothpaste, and mouthwash. They have plenty of name brands like Colgate and Crest, and the prices can’t be beat.

Over time, I’ve found it’s smarter to keep extra toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand. That way, I don’t wind up spending more on supplies at the grocery store. I even keep extra kid’s toothbrushes on hand for when our kids’ friends stay the night. Their kid’s toothbrushes are an especially good deal at three for a $1.

#12: Brushes and Hair Ties

My kids go through brushes and ponytail holders like it’s their part-time job. I probably buy 100 plain ponytail holders every few months. They end up in the trash, or stashed somewhere when my kids take their ponytails out.

Fortunately, it’s easy to stock up when everything is $1. I typically buy a few packs of ponytail holders, hair pins, and clips each time I visit the store.

#13: Snacks

While I’m fairly picky about the food I buy at Dollar Tree, I’m not against stocking up on cheap snacks. Whether I’m buying cookies for a party or some chips to snack on at home, Dollar Tree has a pretty good selection at $1 each.

I occasionally buy their canned goods, and I’ve been known to stock up on coffee and coffee filters there, too. Since their food options change all the time, I tend to buy whatever they have that’s a good deal.

#14: Seasonings

If you buy spices and seasonings often, you already know how expensive they can be. At my local Kroger, spices are usually in the $3 to $8 range depending on what you’re buying and how much.

At Dollar Tree, all their spices and seasonings are just $1. They don’t have a huge selection, but what they do offer is a good deal. I regularly buy seasoning salt, garlic salt, garlic powder, and dried basil there.

#15: Plastic Bags

Whether you need small sandwich bags or gallon-size bags for freezing, it’s hard to beat Dollar Tree pricing. They have the same bags my local Kroger offers, but for $1 each.

I try not to use too many bags, but I do keep a stash in case the kids need them for school or something special. Gallon-size bags are also especially handy when it comes to freezing soups or leftovers.

Ideally, I like to use reusable containers when I can – like, for my kids’ lunches. But there are still plenty of occasions where plastic bags come in handy.

#16: Trash Bags

I buy all our trash bags at Dollar Tree, mostly because I don’t mind the generic brands. We have a small trash can anyway, so I don’t mind the type with the flaps instead of the drawstring, either. And I certainly don’t mind the $1 price tag! After all, a box of trash bags at my local grocery store is usually $5 or more.

I also buy tiny trash bags for our bathroom trashcans at Dollar Tree. That way, I have bags available when we run out of used grocery store bags.

#17: Cleaning Supplies

While not all cleaning supplies are a good deal, Dollar Tree does offer an array of smart options for $1. I tend to buy glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, and other basic cleaning supplies there.

I also buy two-packs of those bleach packets for toilets. While those are $5 or more at the grocery store, they’re just $1 at Dollar Tree.

#18: Brooms and Other Supplies

Recently, I bought an outdoor broom specifically for my garage. I’ve also bought dust pans, scrub brushes, and sponges at Dollar Tree. They typically have cleaning clothes, plungers and other supplies as well.

While prices vary, it’s hard to find any of these items elsewhere for anything close to $1.

#19: Batteries

Batteries can be expensive depending on where you buy them. At Kroger, for example, an 8-pack of AA batteries typically costs $5.99 or more. At Dollar Tree, on the other hand, you can buy nearly any type of battery for $1.

The downside here is that the selection isn’t always that great. Plus, all of their batteries are off-brand. If you can get past those issues, you’ll save plenty of money!

The Bottom Line

If you want to save money on food and household supplies, don’t forget to check your local dollar store. While not everything they offer is an excellent deal, there are plenty of bargains to be had. And if you’re willing to make a monthly trip, you can stock up on the items that make sense and avoid paying more elsewhere.

Just be sure to check the size of each item so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison. While it’s possible to score full-size items for $1, dollar and discount stores occasionally offer a sample sizes for the lower price. It’s up to you to compare ounces or amounts of whatever you’re buying so you can ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer and the author of Zero Down Your Debt. Johnson shares her obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel at ClubThrifty.com.

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What do you always buy at the Dollar Store? What would you add to this list?

Holly Johnson

Contributing Writer

Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.