What Not to buy at the Dollar Store part 1






As you found out last month, I live extremely close to the dollar store.
I can't seem to walk in without buying at least $10 worth of stuff
(I mean really, how does it hop in my cart?!)
I seem to have the same problem with the dollar store, that people have with Target.
Can I get an amen?
With that in mind, I have some personal experience about


Not only that,
I also have some experience about the things that you should buy.
I had some wonderful reader comments on my original post, so I will include other people's experience and opinions as well.

So in an effort to save you money and help you live better,
(wait... isn't that Wal-mart's logo?)
 let's start our series of

What Not to buy at the Dollar store...and a few things to pick up.

Sunday Paper-Snag it
You can't find the Sunday paper cheaper than $1.
So on weeks with lots of coupons, or Albertson's doublers, it's worth picking up one or three.


Reading Glasses-Snag it





jjflamingo said... 
                 another awesome snag are the reading glasses. they are $5.00 and up everywhere else.
I don't need these yet, but I hear they are a great deal



Helium Balloons-Snag it




~The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said... 
does yours have balloons?
Mine has helium filled balloons, birthday, sesame street, over the hill, smiley face, seasonal, etc. They are great and just a buck!

I agree!  Helium balloons are a great deal. 


They have a huge assortment, even some of the big names (you know, like Spiderman and Elmo).
Maybe they can work on their display a bit though.


Eyelash Curler-Snag it
I had a friend give me a goodie bag that she scored at an upscale department store 
(not naming any names but it rhymes with Shcmacy's)
I had high hopes for the curler, but it didn't nearly last as long as this one that I bought (and am still using several years later) from the dollar store.


Name brand make-up-Snag it
I don't usually shop in the makeup section but one of my readers (Melissa @ LoveBugLiving) made me aware that sometimes they get big names in there.

I was shocked to find Loreal 


and Maybelline


And also some repackaged Cover Girl makeup


Rubber band elastics: Snag it
These come in a 500 pack and between my daughter and I, they have lasted us over 7 years.
When she was a toddler I would put them in her hair and cut them out at night.  So much easier than trying to pull them out of tangled hair.
Totally worth saving our mother daughter relationship


Headbands-Snag it
Several of you told me that you buy the headbands here.





Brooke said... 
I buy dollar store barrettes and hair bands. (especially the little plasticy ones for my 19month old!)
emiflute said..
I have to second the person that mentioned headbands- the stretchy or hard kinds
So the headbands have the go ahead.


Lysol toilet bowl cleaner-Snag it
I don't use a lot of chemicals to clean my house, but I do use this brand of toilet bowl cleaner.
It costs around $4.99 at other big stores.


Laundry Detergent-Pass
As with other detergents and cleaners, the generics are usually very watered down and don't work as well.
Find a sale and use a coupon and buy my favorite, Tide, it's worth it.


Oxygen cleaner-Snag it




rockinred said... 
I'm a BIG fan of their version of Oxyclean powder. It's sooo much cheaper than the brand name & works just as well.
It's worth a shot if you are looking for an alternative to oxyclean.


Air Freshener-Pass
My daughter recently told me that our house just smells like air, so I thought I would try these air fresheners out.  What I have found is that anything that is supposed to smell (candles, air fresheners, plug in's) aren't worth buying at the dollar store.  They just don't smell.


Toilet paper-Pass
You would be better off going out back and picking up some leaves.  
Actually the leaves might hold up better.  


Microfiber towels-Snag it
I use these towels when I clean my windows and my appliances.  They hold up well, and do the job.


Dish scrubbers-Pass
I like using these detergent filled scrubbies when I do the dishes, but this particular kind just doesn't hold up. The green scrubber peels away and the foam tears, the liquid leaks...it's pretty much like Snooki after a bar crawl...it's a mess.



Rubber gloves-Snag it
I don't like washing dishes without gloves anymore now that I am in the habit.
Just make sure you are looking at the size when you buy them.


Quick Eraser (Fake Mr. Clean)-Snag it
I love Mr. Clean magic erasers.  Like love them so much I would marry them.
They clean and erase spots so much better than I ever thought possible.  So when I saw this knock off a few years ago I had to try it.
Love it!

And i'm not the only one




Flutemom said... 
I stock up on the quick erasers. They look like a Mr Clean Magic eraser but have a sponge back. It seems to be the same material and cleans the same. I think I like these better. As they wear down, the sponge back helps them hold their shape. The leftover sponge is useful too. They polish a stainless since better than anything else I've ever use!


Trash bags-Pass
This isn't just a pass, it's a run from these as fast as you can pass.
These bags are awful!
When I clean out a room, I often put the kids old toys in trash bags so they can't see what I am getting rid of
These bags seemed like they were afraid of being used
I would put one thing in, and it would rip immediately
They were so thin and worthless.





Those are just a few of the snag its and passes at the dollar store today.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a walk down the toy and baby aisle.
If you have kids, it's worth sticking around for!

29 comments

Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

great post. I have never bought the fake oxyclean or magic erasers, but now I'm going to give them a try.

Cerise said...

What a great post! My mother and I are dollar store addicts. I'm usually stocking up on coloring books and puzzles for my kids. Can't beat the price.

sweetboaterchick said...

Oh I will have to try the fake magic erasers. I love them, but they are so expensive.

I love the dollar store and have gotten some great rubber stamps there too.

~Carolyn

latenightplays said...

Great ideas!! I love hair accessories too (for my two dancing girls). Dollar store or not, one should ALWAYS pass on air fresheners. They are really unhealthy!

latenightplays said...

Great ideas!! I love hair accessories too (for my two dancing girls). Dollar store or not, one should ALWAYS pass on air fresheners. They are really unhealthy!

Robin said...

Thanks for the dollar store reviews! So helpful. I've voted for you blog, too!!

robin :-)

labbie1 said...

What fun!

I agree with the eyeglasses! And if you noticed, right next to the eyeglasses is a kit to repair and clean the eyeglasses. I do use the glasses and like to have like a million of them stashed all over the house, camper and vehicles! :)

Hey! Try The Works toilet bowl cleaner--we are in an area with a lot of rust in the water and it cuts right through without a huff or puff even though it is very runny...

Good to know about the magic erasers. I mean, I am so in LOVE with these things! The only thing I use on window and mirrors now--sparkly and shiny and don't have to buy or mix up cleaners! I am going to go and buy a bunch! I line the idea of the sponge on the cheap ones to keep it in shape. I didn't buy any before because I thought they couldn't be any good right? Apparently I am wrong! yay!

Same with the microfiber towels. I thought they must be junk--going to pick some of those up too! I dry the mirrors and windows with microfiber after I use the magic eraser. Bingo! No streaks or smears--just sparkle...

Glad to hear about the Oxyclean knockoff too. yay! A fav of mine for getting rust out of the carpet from furniture legs.

I noticed that the eyelash curler has an extra rubber pad too! Nice!

So helpful and humorous to boot! :)

Connie said...

Thanks for the post! Dollar stores are so much fun to shop at!

Elena said...

Oh my, I do enjoy the Dollar Store.

And now you've just given me an excuse to go.

Thanks!

:) Elena
http://acasarella.blogspot.com

Sheila said...

More great things are dish soap (small bottles of Dawn are only a $1), their face cloths which are surprisingly sot and hold up well, and their plastic dishes. we backpack with ours as we need lightweight things, and some are even dishwasher and microwave safe.

Katie Adams said...

Great post! I completely agree with everything. The magic erasers and microfiber towels are my favorites too! www.thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com

Catherine said...

I love the Dollar Tree like others love Target too! I'm glad I'm not the only one.
I like checking out the toy section and looking for big name toys (spiderman, princess, cars). They make great little gift fillers, or your able to build a big gift basket for cheap!
I will say that I use the little trash bags for my car. They come in a bag and are blue at my store. They are great for quick trash pick ups, wet clothes storage or dirty diaper bags. I use them to fill my 'cereal storage container turned car trash can' and they are perfect.

Alicia said...

Hi! I just wanted to comment about the laundry detergent. The detergent you pictured is a "pass" but I was recently introduced by the cashier at my local dollar tree to a different laundry detergent they sell. It is in a blue bottle and it is called "laundry detergent oxygen" and it has made some "Gain" fans change brands! I tried it and am now keeping my eyes peeled for the next shipment. It works and smell GREAT!

Aunna said...

Am I the only one who snickered at the comparison between Snooki and a worn out dish scrubber? Haha! This is a wonderful post series! I like to get kid's birthday gifts from the dollar store. I just did a gift of a bag of Ring Pops, a princess coloring book, a Disney Princess stamp set, and a tiara for a sweet little 2 year old. Bought an adorable cupcake gift bag and voila! $5 gift! I'll have to try the knockoff Oxyclean in my next batch of homemade laundry detergent.

Lisa said...

I read the whole series! I totally blame you for my recent shopping spree at the dollar store. But! I did make a great find - these mini bread pans. Thanks!!
http://wineandglue.blogspot.com/2012/05/dollar-store-pumpkin-bread.html

Don't Eat Wilbur said...

About the trash bags? We buy the little bitty ones... you know the ones for like a small size bathroom trash can? And use them for doggy poo bags. They're not super thick (but they don't have to be) but they're bigger than most of the bags you buy at the pet store that normal people couldn't get their hands in. AND a whole lot cheaper!! You can get 50 for a buck, instead of 30 for $7 at target!

Rachelle said...

Some faves I like from the dollar tree are: the foil baking pans, great for gift giving foods, potlucks, holidays...the long rolls of foil, great for covering the holiday ham in the roasting pan. I like the vanilla scented trash bags (with handles) for our kitchen trash, just don't pack it too full. 8x10 black wooden picture frames, candies for movies, dishes for my food photos (heck I even has a large set of square ceramic dinner plates we use), Betty crocker kitchen ware/utensils, dish towels (though they will shrink in the wash lol), gift bags and cards oh and pens for my purse! :)

Amanda said...

Such a great post! Thanks for sharing. And I'd add glow stix to the list.

Karen at Bargain-ista.com said...

Thanks for this post - I agree with most of this! Just discovered those magic eraser things and they are fabulous! I want to wipe down my whole house with them ;) I do get the Angel Soft TP and it is acceptable. The lawn trash bags are a joke but I have found some pretty decent kitchen ones.

Bugs and Sunshine said...

What a fantastic post, thanks!

Kat said...

Actually, I only buy their toilet paper. It's the only brand I've bought in the past two years and it actually holds up just as well, but is WAY cheaper. Think about this: a 12-pack of some name brand TP is going to cost you about $10. Or, three 4-packs at Dollar Tree costs $4. For something that I only use for one thing (which is already pretty dirty) it's definitely worth it.

Samantha Riley said...

I love the glow sticks! I work in a hospital and one of my adult patients happened to been in on her birthday. Her family brought food balloons and lots of glow sticks. The staff, other patients and of course that patient were cheered and wore glow sticks all night.

Samantha Riley said...

I love the glow sticks! I work in a hospital and one of my adult patients happened to been in on her birthday. Her family brought food balloons and lots of glow sticks. The staff, other patients and of course that patient were cheered and wore glow sticks all night.

Francine Johnson McGee said...

I love the hair stuff too.I agree with your lists totally, except the potted meat....I'm probably just of an age that grew up with them, they're not as popular anymore. But while on the subject of potted meat, sometimes I have found brand name Spam, and even the genetic had been good.

The one that is far from me has a refrigerated and frozen section. I agree the meat and cheese product (ucky) are too be avoided. They do have frozen fruit at times that is good, with no nasties etc in it.

Suzanne said...

The Awesome Carpet Spot Cleaner seems to work really well. We have two cats that often have hairballs & this stuff does the job really well. No more spots in the carpet for us!

statesong said...

I would probably pass on the repackaged makeup. It's really common for factory owners to snag up all the items that don't pass the quality inspections, repackage them and sell them on the side.

Tania Griffin said...

Their version of a turbie twist is good too...I love their flexible cutting mats...2 in a pack for a dollar, cant beat that!

Alyson Britten said...

Two comments about the sponges and trash bags. Maybe they aren't all great, I buy the blue, 2 pack Scrub Buddies sponges, and they're awesome! Also, I wouldn't buy regular trash bags there, but I do buy the mini ones for my mini trashcans for when I run out of grocery bags and these are great too. :)

Tamar said...

Definitely agree with the handled scrubbies. I am a cheapo and insisted on buying a couple rather than the ones at Bed Bath and Beyond. They lasted maybe a week before the green scrubby started coming off in pieces. After the second one I gave in and bought a $9 fillable scrubby by OXO. It's been a couple of months and so far so good. In hindsight, I'd try to get the same brand on a sale or with a coupon, or another good brand. These just aren't worth it.

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