What to buy (and not to buy) at the Dollar Store

The dollar store is one of my favorite places to shop! I can always find things I need at a great price! However, not everything is a good deal. Some things are actually more expensive than elsewhere or break too easily.

It is always a good idea to have your price list with you, so you can check if something is worth buying there! See my post Keeping a price list for how to create your own.


Note: These items were all found at my local Dollar Tree.


Party/gift supplies – You can’t beat $1 for a nice gift bag. You can also pick up tissue paper, goodie bags, balloons, and helium balloons. Compare paper goods prices with Amazon, Target and Walmart before buying there.

Cheap ponchos – These are good to have on hand for Shabbos guests or when you can’t find your regular one!

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Plastic containers – The Dollar Tree offers a great selection of bins of various sizes that are great for organizing your home or classroom. They are also good for gifts and shaloch manos.

Dish scrubbers – Their handled dish scrubbers with nylon bristles are great for washing dishes (especially on Yom Tov when you cannot use sponges.)


Craft supplies – The quantities are not big, but you can find a variety of craft supplies good for home or school. I try to stick to things like googly eyes, stickers, pipe cleaners, and colored gems.

Games – If you need a deck of cards or have lost dice to games, this is the place to get them!


Certain toys – I like to get glow sticks and wands, puzzles, large bubble wants, silly straws, bug kits, outdoor toys, and stickers at the dollar store. Check to make sure each item is durable before buying.

Food items – I rarely get food items as the dollar store, especially since we shop at Aldi. However, if you are looking for treats for a care package or a quick treat for your kids, then go ahead! Be sure to check your price list before buying food items!


Teacher supplies – The selection varies on these, but I have found cute notepads, accents, timers, stickers, foam stickers for different themes, dry erase markers, and more. I also like their clear contact paper for various art projects. I also buy fake flowers and gardening supplies for my Flowers and Plants theme (pre-K). For more ways to save money on teacher supplies, check out my post Saving money teacher edition (updated).

Shower puffs – Why pay more for a fancier shower puff when these work just as well?

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Cookie cutters – These are great for baking and playdough toys!

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Serving trays – The dollar store offers a variety of trays and bowls. These were perfect for us for our son’s bar mitzvah. They are also great to use for giving a homemade gift or just for everyday use!


Kitchen items – Dollar stores have a great variety of cups, bowls, and plates. These (and the sets sold at Walmart during the summer) are great for picnics, kids’ tableware, camping, and more! We use the plastic reusable silverware in our lunch boxes. Get your matches here, too!


Paper goods, plastic bags, cups, and foil – If you price it out, these items are much cheaper per item at Sam’s, Costco, and Amazon. I will occasionally buy the foam cups if I need them for an art project at school.

Batteries – Again check your local Sam’s Club, Costco, or Amazon for a better deal on better quality batteries.

Costumes – The hats and costumes we have bought at the dollar store often fall apart very quickly. Buy only if you plan on using them one time!

School supplies – Check school supply sales during July and August for the best deals. If you need replenishment during the year, go to OfficeMax, Walmart, or Target for the best prices. See my post It’s time to shop for school supplies! for tips on getting the best deals.

Toiletries and medicines – Unless you need something for travel or camping, stick to Walmart, Amazon, or Walgreens and CVS (with a good sale) for the best deals on these. The varieties offered are not always good quality and often come in smaller sizes (and higher price per ounce). Again, your price list will help you determine if an item is a good deal.

Have I missed any deals you like to buy at the dollar store? Please leave your comments!

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