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What You Should and Shouldn’t Buy From the Dollar Tree

The Dollar Tree is a store that is in pretty much every continental US State. If you’re not privy to the Dollar Tree, it’s a dollar store where everything truly is only a dollar. Move aside Family Dollar.

I’ve been shopping at the Dollar Tree for as long as I can recall. I remember going with my mom in middle school to make care packages to drop off at women’s shelters during Christmas and taking frequent stops when Michael and I moved into our first apartment together. If you’re interested in saving money, incorporating trips into the Dollar Tree can save you moolah each month. But, there are also some items at the Dollar Tree that are NOT worth even a dollar. So, today I’m breaking down what is worth it to buy at the dollar tree, and what isn’t.

Seasonal

Buy:
Almost all the seasonal items at the Dollar Tree are winners. They are a fraction of the cost of what they might charge you at a party or craft store. Plus, seeing as most holiday’s seasons only last 30 days or so, wasting big bucks on decor can be a big waste of money. I typically hit it up at Christmas time. They have great deals on ornaments (I’ve gotten sets of 6 for $1), garland, and other festive items.

Don’t Buy:
The only seasonal items I would say not to buy is anything you won’t use. It can be tempting to over buy, but just because it’s “only $1,” doesn’t mean you should buy extra knickknacks you won’t really end up using as it’ll just become clutter.

Party Supplies

Buy:
Plates, cutlery, drinkware, etc.: The Dollar Tree is an amazing place to grab party needs in a variety of styles and colors without paying the overpriced party store markups.

Party decor: They also have some decor items, which can be hit or miss depending on the time of year, but can be great party additions. This last weekend when I was there they had all luau themed items like leis, grass skirts, tiki torches, etc.

Serving platters/utensils: The Dollar Tree has great platters, serving bowls, spoons, ladles, tongs, etc. for all your buffet food needs.

Don’t Buy:
Gift bag toys: I’m talking about the little “gift” bags you give away at the end of parties. I guess this one is totally up to you, but these toys are pretty crappy and rinky-dink. I can imagine most moms would prefer their kids didn’t come home with them after a birthday party.

Greeting Cards

Buy:
Greeting and gift cards are always a deal at the Dollar Tree. Most stores will charge you $3-$6 for a gift card but the Dollar Tree has a great selection for only $1, and some are 2 for $1!

Gifting Supplies

Buy:
Gift Wrap/bags: A roll of gift wrap at a party store can put you back $4+ It’s totally not worth it for something someone will rip off and throw away. The Dollar Tree always has a great selection of wrapping paper. Same with gift bags, don’t waste your money on $5 gift bags when the Dollar Tree has a great selection for $1. I actually bought some Dollar Tree Christmas gift bags over 7 years ago that our family still uses!

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Ribbons, tissue paper, boxes: The Dollar Tree also has all your gifting accessories like tissue paper, ribbons, bows, gift boxes, etc.

Office Supplies

Buy:
Poster Board: Poster board at a lot of stores will cost you $1.50-$2 a pop. But the Dollar Tree has them for 2 for $1

Small accessories: Things like paper clips, index cards, post-it notes, etc. These are all about the same price as office supplies stores if not cheaper, so go ahead and stock up here.

Don’t Buy:
Folders/Notebooks: You can get these cheaper at the office supplies stores. Usually, you can get notebooks for $0.49/each at office stores and folders for $0.20 or cheaper. So, don’t waste your money on these items at the Dollar Tree.

Crayons: They are honestly rubbish quality and you can get better $1 ones at Walmart, Target, or office stores.

Scissors: The office scissors at my Dollar Trees are no good. They barely cut and break after a few uses.

Health and Beauty

Buy:
Name Brands: If you can find name brand makeup, then it’s probably a good deal. Just be cautious of the small or travel sized stuff as this isn’t always the best price. And, always make sure to check your expiration dates.

Don’t Buy:
Off-brand items: Listen, this is totally your choice but I stay away from the off-brand beauty items like makeup, soaps, lotion, vitamins, and medicine. The soaps and lotions are usually watered down and you don’t truly know if the ingredients are safe. For medicine and vitamins, I read a study that cited a consumer report that found that less than 1/2 of the vitamins had essential ingredients. While some of the items in this category might be totally safe to use, I prefer to be safe rather than sorry.

Glassware

Buy:
Vases: Why spend $10 on a vase when you can get one for $1? Plus, the Dollar Tree has so many styles and options. They are perfect for around the house, gifting, or party decor.

Drinkware: All the drink items! I honestly love their collection of glasses at the Dollar Tree. Michael is a big scotch lover and actually found his favorite scotch glasses here! And mind you I bought him a really nice pair for Christmas one year, but the Dollar Tree ones are his favorite. They also have great mugs.

Kitchen Supplies

Buy:
Plates and Bowls: The Dollar Tree has actual dinner plate and bowls, not just paper ones. And honestly, they are pretty nice. I bought some bowls here for a Thanksgiving we hosted and actually got compliments on the bowls from my guests.

Kitchen Tools: These can be hit or miss. I’d give any item a good look over and stick to the items at that seem sturdy. Some kitchen tools will be total winners but others will break in a matter of a few uses.

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Don’t Buy:
Cutlery: I don’t suggest the metal forks, knives, and spoons. They seem really shotty quality to me and I wouldn’t trust them.

Cleaning Supplies

Buy:
Cleaning Tools: Things like brillo pads, bathroom scrubbers, and sponges can all be bought here for much better prices than the grocery stores.

Brand name cleaning products: If you can find brand name cleaning items, this can be a great spot to shop. Just remember to be conscious of the sizes and stay away from the little packages as they are likely not the better price per ounce. Also, don’t forget you can use coupons at the Dollar Tree to stock up on a lot of these items.

Don’t Buy:
Off-brand items: These are going to be watered down and you can’t be sure about the ingredients. I say stay away.

Dish soap: Even the brand name dish soap is always such little bottles that I always find it a better deal to grab this item when it’s on sale at the grocery store.

Toilet paper/paper towels: These are never a deal. They typically are going to say they have 150-250 sheets per roll, while the ones in the grocery store have 500-1000 sheets per roll. You’re going to go through it a lot faster and it’s not going to end up being worth it in the long run.

Food

Buy:

Name brand FULL-SIZE items: I did a test the last time I was in the Dollar Tree and took pictures of brand name items and then compared them to the prices at the grocery store. They were ALL a better deal at the Dollar Tree.

The only thing to watch out for here is those little packages. These are almost never a deal. For example, I found a 4-ounce bag of Frosted Flakes at the Dollar Tree but you can get 33 ounces at many stores for $5.

Don’t Buy:
Refrigerated items: Listen, some of these might be totally a-ok, but if you’ve ever bought their “processed topping” thinking you’re buying cheese… you’ll never buy from this section again. It’s basically plastic that they made look like cheese. I prefer not to put that into my body. I say, check the ingredients. I checked the ingredients of cheese from a local Dollar Tree and of the first 8 ingredients, none of it was dairy. You want to be careful and make sure what you’re buying is really what you think you’re buying.

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What do you guys think? What do you always buy from the Dollar Tree?


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