While researching the worst dollar store buys, it didn't surprise me to find that there were many more items that even Wal-mart and Costco couldn't compete with for price. And, as some readers pointed out, sometimes you don't have either the budget or the storage space for bulk buys. Anyway, here are a few of my picks for top dollar store buys and remember, I can only report on prices that I find in my neck of the woods, so please check prices in your area.
  • Ivory hand soap At three bars for a buck, even the big box stores couldn't compete with 33 cents a bar. Our local Wal-mart sells Ivory bar soap in packages of 16 for $5.98, or 37 cents per bar.
  • Tame Shampoo A similar brand, in the same size costs almost twice as much at Wal-mart. If you don't need or want a fancy shampoo, $1 is plenty to pay.

  • Oral B Toothbrushes Even Costco couldn't beat $1 per toothbrush. They sell these toothbrushes in a package of seven for $14.99, which works out to $2.14 each. You can get other brand-name toothbrushes at Dollarama, too. Colgate, for one but it seems that dollar stores are only getting medium bristles in these so, if you need soft bristles, buy a two-pack of off-brand toothbrushes, an even better deal.
  • Paper coffee cups Dollar store price, 16 cups for .062 cents per cup; Costco price, $12.99 for 200 cups or .065 cents each. Granted, the difference isn't huge, but, if you only need a few of these, the dollar store is still a good deal and probably a lot easier to get in and out of than the big box giant if you're running errands on your lunch hour.
  • Medium freezer bags There was no difference in price for this size of freezer bag. So, whether you're buying a box of 15 for $1 or 150 bags at Costco for $9.99, you'll still be paying about .067 cents each.
  • Garbage bags Twelve 20 x 22" garbage bags cost .083 cents per bag at Dollarama. The same size garbage bag is sold at Costco for $11.49 for 100 bags or .115 cents each. I don't use a lot of this type of garbage bag anymore, preferring instead to use a plastic garbage can. If you're in the same situation, 12 bags are plenty to have on hand at any one time.
  • Breton crackers Wal-mart sells these large crackers for $2.17 for a 225 g. package. Dollarama has Champagne Crackers in the same size for only $1.
  • Lip Balm Buy a tube of Blistex at Wal-mart for $2.43 or a tube of Lypsyl at Dollarama for $1.
  • Cotton Balls Department store cotton balls cost $1.29 and up for a package of 100. The same number of dollar store cotton balls are only $1 and I like their quality better than most of the department store ones I've tried.
  • Dental Floss I used to see the Lavoris brand on store shelves everywhere but, like a lot of brands that have been pushed out of mainstream markets by more popular products, Lavoris is now a dollar store staple. I've been using their dental floss for several weeks and like it at least as well as Johnson and Johnson or Butler Brands. Johnson and Johnson floss cost $1.97 for 55 yds. when I checked recently. Butler floss is available in a 200 yd. size for $3.97. You can have the same amount of Lavoris floss for $2 at Dollarama when you buy two packages.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes articles on budget decorating using only items from the dollar store.


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