When it comes to saving money, there are many ways people have thought of to stretch their budget. Some use coupons, others use thrift stores, others go to dollar stores. While I, too buy a lot of things from the dollar store, there are many things that you should avoid like the plague. They always seem like a good buy, but trust me, they’re not. There are also a lot of things that are actually a pretty good deal from the dollar store as well.
These always seem like a great buy. You can buy 10 trash bags for a dollar or spend $11 for 45 trash bags from Target. While some people rationalize their purchase by saying, “You can get more for a little less than half the price” or “You’re paying for the brand name/fragrance.” But in reality, that’s not all you’re paying for. You’re paying for the brand and fragrance, sure. But you’re also paying for the amount of trash that you can hold in each bag (better drawstrings). You’re also paying for a better bag overall.
I usually buy the Glad trash bags with some sort of fragrance (45 for $11). I bought a box of 10 dollar store trash bags and immediately regretted it. I immediately went through two bags due to ripping when I tried to place one in the trash can. They were the correct size and everything! My wife was great at getting it to fit after very slowly, and very carefully, putting it in. Our trash also smelled much worse because there wasn’t a fragrance on the bag.
No-Name Dish Soap
If you go to the dollar store and you see a dish soap you like, such as Dawn or Gain, then buy more than a couple at a time. I say this because they tend to only be around for a short time. When I say “No-name dish soap,” I’m meaning, more or less, the bigger bottles that say “Dish soap” or whatever on the front. I bought one of those a couple times and was quite shocked at how quickly the soap sudsed up and washed out. Some better quality soaps will suds up and clean for a while. In those cases, a little goes a long way. In the case of “no-name dish soap:” A little goes a little, a lot goes a little further.
Towels and Quarts of Milk
Usually, these are just little washcloths and hand towels. However, depending on what you’re wanting to use them for, it may be wise just to avoid them altogether. It’s definitely a case-by-case item to avoid. Milk is the easiest one to explain. Milk at the store costs anywhere between $2.25 and $3.00 per gallon. There are four quarts in one gallon, which means you’d be paying $4 for milk that might not be so great. Either way, if it’s money you’re trying to save, this is a horrible buy.
Bargain Buys Everyone Should Buy
I say that we should avoid a lot of things at the dollar store, but there are usually things you should buy from the dollar store. That is, if you can handle the decrease in quality or quantity. At Target, a 8.2 oz tube of toothpaste is $2.79, or you could even get a twin pack, totaling 12.8 oz of toothpaste, for $3.72. At the dollar store, you could find the same brand (In this case, Crest Cavity Protection) in 4.6 oz tubes for just a dollar. If you bought two, you’re already saving 79¢. If you compare it to the 12.8 oz twin pack from Target, you could buy three 4.6 oz tubes for $3, which not only gets you an extra ounce of toothpaste, it also saves you 72¢.
Toilet paper is another great find at the dollar store. Though each roll has 175 sheets, you can find a pack of six for just a dollar. In other words, 1,050 sheets for one dollar. Target’s up&up brand of toilet paper (6-pack) is $4.19 and each roll has 264 sheets, totaling 1,584 sheets for the entire pack. For $4 at the dollar store, you can get the same exact quality toilet paper, but you get 24 rolls instead of six. How many sheets is that? Well, those 24 rolls collectively have 4,200 sheets. So Target can offer their 1,584 sheets all they want. You’re getting double the toilet paper for 19¢ less than they’re offering.
Hand soap is another great find at the dollar store. The soap my wife and I buy for our bathroom is made by Jergens. It’s a moisturizing hand wash that smells amazing and actually does what it’s supposed to. The only downfall is that the bottle is 7.5 oz. This sounds horrible, but it actually lasts two to three weeks for the two of us. And yes, we wash our hands a lot. Walmart carries this same sized bottle of Jergens hand soap in twin packs. Surprisingly, Walmart charges $9.44 for this twin pack. At the dollar store, you could just buy the exact same thing and save yourself $7.44. Perhaps, you could put that $7 towards toilet paper, toothpaste and a good dish soap you like.