Top 25 Bargains at Dollar Stores

Dollar Store The Dollar Tree one dollar symbol inside products cheap Louisana Supreme Wing Sauce  Worcestershire sauce
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Dollar stores have become the go-to destination for everyday bargains, for good reason. By offering savings up to 90 percent on all kinds of household goods and accepting coupons and food stamps, the stores attract all income levels.

Chains like Dollar Tree (DLTR), Dollar General (DG) and Family Dollar (FDO) cover the continental U.S. All three are online, too. Dollar General has a featured blog with useful hints, as does Family Dollar. Each dollar store chain has its own personality. Dollar General offers items in bulk. Family Dollar and Dollar General carry more name brands. Dollar Tree has everything priced at one dollar and offers in-store pickup if you order online.

Caveats: Not everything is cheaper than at grocery, drug and specialty stores. An item you saw last week might not be there the next. To comparison-shop, you may need to figure the cost per unit or price per pound.

The top 25 bargains are (in no particular order):
  1. Batteries. AAA, AA, C and D batteries go for a dollar at Dollar Tree. Compare a pack of 8 AAs for a dollar to upwards of $9 at drug and grocery stores.
  2. Light bulbs. Not the expensive compact fluorescents but standard light bulbs that are becoming harder to find.
  3. Flood lights. These are usually more than $5 at hardware stores.
  4. Brand -name cosmetics. They won't be the newest colors, but name brands are significantly cheaper at dollar stores than at beauty supply stores or drugstores.
  5. Beauty supplies. Hairbrushes, accessories, grooming instruments are all much more affordable.
  6. Over-the-counter medicine cabinet staples. Pain relievers, tummy meds and allergy pills are considerably cheaper than at drug or grocery stores. If you need something in a limited quantity immediately, the dollar store is the place to go.
  7. Canned and jarred goods. Some, but definitely not all, are savvy buys. Pickles, olives and salsa are usually cheaper. The trick is to know what the item costs per ounce at your regular grocery to know if you have a deal.
  8. Movie candy. Soooo much cheaper. Just know cinemas don't look kindly on sneaking it in. But for an at-home film fest, it can't be beat.
  9. Clothing. Some dollar stores -- like Dollar General and Family Dollar -- offer sweats, socks, underwear, T-shirts and children's apparel. Dresses come in limited varieties.
  10. Holiday decorations. Standard stuff for holidays at home and for teachers who like to decorate a classroom. Committed bargain finders should buy these in the days following the holiday.
  11. Greeting cards. When you need a little heartfelt sentiment on paper, go for the dollar cards. Few recipients will notice.
  12. Cleaning supplies. Not as cheap as baking soda and vinegar, but bleach, cleansing powder, dish detergent, spray cleaner and laundry detergent go for less than store brands and much less than name-brand products. Name-brand products are occasionally available. If you're a couponer, stock up on these rare events.
  13. Baby needs. Dollar General has its own store-brand diapers and wipes and offers baby bottles in bulk. Other household necessities are available in bulk discount. Watch out, Costco.
  14. Crafting and scrapbooking supplies. Not everything the die-hard crafter needs is available, but glue sticks, artificial flowers and other doodads are there.
  15. Spices and seasonings. Basic spices are much, much less expensive than at grocery stores. Gourmets may sniff, but no one's ever complained at dinner.
  16. Pet supplies. Cat-box filler and pet toys are usually cheaper. Pet food, on the other hand, may cost the same as at a regular grocery store.
  17. Auto care. Windshield washer fluid is a strong buy at a buck. Car washing accessories are cheap, too.
  18. Men's grooming. Stock up on plastic disposable razors and shaving cream.
  19. Party supplies. Items for goody bags, decorations and tableware are available for birthday, holiday parties and even weddings.
  20. Frozen food. These are usually generic versions of popular brands.
  21. Dental care. Noticed the prices of toothpaste and toothbrushes lately? You can buy name brands -- plus floss and mouthwash -- for less.
  22. Cooking tools. Dollar Tree carries the Betty Crocker line of basic cooking items, like graters and sieves.
  23. Toys. These aren't the hot items that kids whine for but are good as stocking stuffers or keeping the kids occupied on a car ride.
  24. Books. Not new bestsellers but worth it as a beach read or something to carry on a plane.
  25. DVDs. Available on a limited basis.

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Even though I could buy the entire Dollar store including the building with my signature, I still love a deal, if anything for financial reasons.
You can even do better on some items if you make your own. For example, you can make great windsheild washer fluid by adding a cap full of amonia (about 5 cents worth) to to a gallon of water. A 39 cent tube of Comet-like cleanser will do about 95% of all cleaning jobs.
Those powdered cleansers are all the same so why pay for advertising ?
You can buy the dollar towel and cut it into four creating dish towels that cost you 25 cents each.
A caution is to never buy cheap dental supplies. Always buy the very best electric toothbrush, waterpic flosser there is, Listerine germ killer, best toothpaste money can buy. Say WHAT ?
You don't save because if you get even one cavity your savings are erased and then some.
At today's rates an exam, xrays, and a couple of fillings is easily $500.00
If you need a crown it goes four digit.
Most top of the line dental companies, like Braun for example, will give you a coupon if you ask for one - usually $10.00 off. Not bad on a $139.00 tooth brush. Yes, buy the $139.00
electric tooth brush - it will save you a fortune. Did you know the average tooth is worth $2,500.00 ? You have about $50,000.00 worth of teeth in your mouth at the start.

June 08 2014 at 6:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Some of the best buys - in the Dollar Stores are brand new items that manufacturers have changed the packaging on - and they go to the 99c store etc so the manufacturer can wipe out the old packaged products. They are perfectly good ( just the packaging is out of date ) and wow - sometimes as low as 10% of the original selling price!!

May 02 2014 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very informative. Pretty sure that I won't be able to convince my to stop there very often, but at least I feel a lot more informed, for future reference!

April 26 2014 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Merde Alor!

The .99 Cents Only stores sell huge amounts of produce in our area of Phoenix, AZ. Name brand mixed salads (always available), fresh berries, yogurts of all types, and often name brand ice cream are stocked. Often see clerks from main-stream super-markets shopping there. It is a very busy franchise.

April 22 2014 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Al Mallozzi

Give'em a dollar paper coupon and get your 4.6 oounce tube of $1.00 toothpaste for free. Dont purchase store brand dishdetergent though, its terrible. Al Mallozzi

April 22 2014 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The cooking tools are generally rather flimsy, I find. And check to make sure the toothpaste is made in USA. There's some deals to be found, but not everything is a deal. If you're paying a dollar for a third of what you'd pay $2 for elsewhere - that's no deal.

April 22 2014 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Whitfields

I love going to the dollar stores. You don't have top get dressed up there like you would if you were going to Wal Mart.

April 21 2014 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Whitfields's comment

LOL so you go to Dollar Stores in your PJ's? Snickers.

April 21 2014 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dollar General is closing the ones in so so areas but there is a nice new one in the town next to mine.Dollar Tree has a new store near a super WalMart near my home too.My fav thing at the Dollar Stores are the Ajax liquid dish detergents.You can't find the Lime one or the Citrus Twist one in regular stores.

April 21 2014 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I buy Whisk at Dollar General as it is generally $5. A person has to be smart because not all items are a bargain. Check product size - sometimes it seems like a bargain at a $1 until you realize is is only 1/2 a much.

April 21 2014 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


April 21 2014 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply