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Dollar Stores: What To Buy and What To Skip



Dollar stores can be tremendous spending traps, but they can also be a great way to snag a bargain. It’s all in how you plan your visit.

Before you start browsing…

Everything is just a buck, you say. How can you possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, with that mindset, you might find yourself going way overboard with your spending. Before you set out for the dollar store, create a physical or mental list of what you need to purchase. Don’t just browse, or buy for the sake of buying. 

Love to throw just-for-fun products into your cart? The dollar store is a great place to do that, so exercise caution. You don’t want to blow tens of dollars on stuff you don’t really need and might never use. Establish a limit of how many of those items you can pick up on your trip before you set out. If you always find yourself pushing your self-imposed limit, only shop with cash so you’re forced to stick to your budget.

What’s HOT and what’s NOT at the dollar store …

CLEANING SUPPLIES

SEASONAL

TOYS

GROCERIES

KITCHENWARE

PARTY GEAR

SCHOOL/OFFICE SUPPLIES

KIDS’ ACTIVITIES

SELF-CARE

When it’s not a bargain

When making a purchase at the dollar store, hold it up to this checklist. If your item fits any of these criteria, you’re better off without it:

  1. It’s sold in tiny quantities. Often, what looks like a bargain is just a product in a really small package. Check the size on food items and cleaning products; you can often get more for less money when you buy a product in a bigger size at a larger store.
  2. It’s made with harmful toxins. Check all health and beauty products for toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.
  3. You don’t need it. A dollar spent on something you don’t need is a dollar wasted.
  4. It’s made super-cheaply. If it’s going to break during the first day of use, or even the first hours, leave it in the store.
  5. It isn’t food-safe. Check all products that will come into contact with food, like serving platters or dishes, for a label that claims they are food-safe.
  6. It’s expired. Be careful to check the “Sell by” date on candy and other food so you’re not paying for expired products.

Learn how to shop smart at the dollar store and you’ll go home with true bargains!

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