Expert Reveals Best And Worst Dollar Store Finds - What To Buy (And Skip) Next Time You Go
LifeAspire Staff 5/25/2017
Believe it or not, one of the strongest growing retailers in the marketplace right now are dollar stores.
Whether it is because the sluggish economy has made shopping on a budget a necessity, or because dollar stores are just getting better at stocking more products, a trip to this money saving capital around the corner, has been on our to-do lists for a while.
Some of the big store-names in the business include Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General to name a few. The differences between them is slight, with most of them stocking products that range from party decorations, kitchen and home essentials, toys, storage options, pantry and freezer food items, and other knickknacks.
Come on, really - is there anything that dollar stores don't carry?
It can be very tempting to make dollar stores a frequent shopping destination, given how cheaply you can organize and update your home. Especially when it comes to children's toys, the prices there make it possible to buy new things often; just the way the kids like to.
However, there is something to be said about the quality and safety of the products that are sold in these types of stores. There is a reason why things are cheap, and it pays to know exactly how to distinguish a good dollar store buy from an unsafe investment.
To clear any confusion, we have made a list of things that make a good as well as a bad buy at the dollar store. Let's start with some good news first.
Screenshot via YouTube
Dollar Store Items To Buy
- Seasonal decorations are perhaps one of the best buys here. Pinwheels to decorate your yard in the summer, that scarecrow for the Fall, or what about that cute Valentine's day wreath for the door? There truly are a lot options when it comes to these type of items and you can update your home for literally each holiday that comes around.
- Crafting and children's activity items are a dime a dozen here, but many of them like glue sticks, play-dough, or crayons are of poor quality. What does make a good buy however are poster boards, coloring and puzzle books, pom pom and foam shapes, construction paper, and stickers!
- Dollar stores are the mecca for party items like table cloth, gift bags, colorful tissue papers, greeting cards, party hats, party banners, helium balloons, and wrapping paper. You can essentially throw a different themed party every weekend with how well these things are priced!
- Brand name health and food items are often found at many dollar stores. There is no reason not to buy the brands that we trust and are familiar with when it comes to lotions, soap, and even food items like spices, baking mixes, and frozen foods. Just remember to check that expiration date on the packaging!
- In general, one time use items for projects around the house like aluminum foil pans, paint trays, drop cloths, and cleaning gloves, are okay to purchase and toss when done with the job!
Screenshot via YouTube
And now for what we consider an even more important list of what items never to purchase from a dollar store and the reasons why!
Dollar Store Items To Avoid
- Baby and infant items and toys cost a lot and can add up quickly for any budget. However, things like plastic baby utensils, plastic teethers and toys, sippy cups, bath wash, lotions, and baby wipes and diapers sold here are usually off-brand and manufactured in less than trustworthy places. Products that go in your babies mouth or on their skin should not be bought here unless branded.
- Home goods like plastic spatulas, cups and plates, knives, and measuring cups to name a few come in very inferior quality at the dollar store. They are usually made with dangerous plastic materials that can leech toxins into your foods. More importantly the quality of things like knives tend not to last. You are better off investing in quality made products that will last a lifetime.
- Electronics are so tempting to buy from a dollar store, especially when so many of us are guilty of frequently forgetting phone chargers and head phones. But beware because these items sold at the dollar store are so poorly made that often times they stop working after the first use. Even things like batteries which might seem like a cheap buy will run out sooner than you expected!
- Cleaning supplies like disinfectant wipes, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, toilet paper, laundry detergent, fabric softeners are so readily available in dollar stores. But if they are not a brand name, chances are they are not effective at doing their job. It pays to spend the money at the big box store and get products that will keep your home clean and safe.
- Health and make-up goods are also popping up at dollar stores and this is truly scary! These off-brand medicines, vitamins, eye shadows, acne treatments, and foundations can have more bad than good in them! Unless it's a known brand, save your money for the real stuff which won't end up making you sick.
So to wrap-up, as a general rule make sure you are using common sense and checking expiration dates and brand names for dollar store purchases that go in or on your body. For other decorative and one time use items, this is definitely a good place to shop!
We hope that we have armed you with some vital information to help you shop when you find yourself in a dollar store again. It truly is a treasure hunt that can save you a lot of money if you are careful!
Sources: One Good Thing, Lauren Greutman, GO Banking Rates FB Image Credit: YouTube/DoItOnADime, Flickr/Mike Mozart