What Not to Buy at The Dollar Store-Part 3 Personal and food items

What Not to Buy at The Dollar Store-Part 3 Personal and food items

Welcome back to another day of

Where I point out the things that are worth picking up (snag it) and mention the things you should just leave on the shelves.

If you missed the previous what not to buy posts, you can find them here:

We will be strolling the personal and food items today so grab your cup of coffee and make a list for your next trip!

Toothbrushes: Snag it
That is, if you don't get enough from your dentist.
Our family of five visits the dentist every 6 months, so we rarely have a shortage on toothbrushes, but several of my readers pointed out that this is where they stock up.

Electric Toothbrush: Snag it
I had no idea that the dollar store carried battery powered toothbrushes.
I can't rationalize the expense of buying my young kids sonicare toothbrushes, but they each have an electric toothbrush.
None of the kids has had a cavity since making the switch to electric toothbrushes two years ago (another reason we have a surplus of "regular" toothbrushes).
As a bonus, it comes with a battery, so that's even better!

Name Brand Toothpaste: Snag it
I usually shop the drug stores with coupons and can find toothpaste for next to nothing, but if you don't want to bother, $1 is a great deal on name brands from Crest and Colgate

Shaving cream: Snag it
My husband and I share shaving cream so this is a great buy for us.
It works just as good as the other brand names, especially for my husband who has sensitive skin.
Also, my kids love playing in the bathtub or shower with shaving cream. 
Hours of fun for $1.

Soap Roses: Snag it
My 9 year old daughter loves bath "stuff"
It could be fizzies or special soaps, but these special soaps are her favorite.
They are fun in the tub and there are nearly a dozen of them so she doesn't mind sharing them with her brother
(oops...probably shouldn't have shared that bit of information!)

Bubble bath: Pass
Like most soaps or liquids in a large bottle at the dollar store, this bubble bath is so diluted that there aren't actually any bubbles.  

Bandaids: Snag it
Pretty sure every kid goes through a phase where bandaids become fashion accessories.
These are cheap, and do the trick for most kid boo boos.
With all things at the dollar store, make sure you look at how many you are getting in each box to see if it's a good value or not.
We have several boxes of these bandaids and they do the trick even for big people boo boos.  
They aren't necessarily water proof though, so if that's an issue, pass on these.

OTC medicines: Snag it
While I don't have much experience with this one of my readers does 

Heather at Happy Chippy Junk said... 
 I buy lots of medications there. (cold, flu, cough drops)
I'm no stranger to generic medications, so it's worth looking into.

Petroleum Jelly: Snag it
Several of you mentioned that this is something you pick up at the Dollar store.
We still have a jar of it from a few years ago, and it works great.
Rainbowcreek shared a recipe with me for some whipped lotion that sounds heavenly.

rainbowcreek said... 
The Vitamin E lotion is not bad and I use a recipe for body cream that takes a bottle of Vitamin E lotion, a jar of petroleum jelly and any kind of lotion, whip it together with your mixer. It comes out looking like whipped cream and makes your skin feel so smooth.

Digital Thermometer: Snag it
We never seem to be able to find the digital thermometer when we need it, so these are worth having on hand.
I don't actually own one (however ours looks similar) but I did play around with one while I was in the store and it looked like it would do the trick.

Plastic storage containers: Snag it
First off, don't you just love this color?!
I don't think these are going to last long.
While these plastic storage containers are a bit small, they do hold up quite well.
I've had a darker blue version of the rectangle bin in our toy room and in my sons room for the past few years holding random toys.  They have held up just as well as some of the other plastic bins I've bought for MUCH more.

Don't take my word on it...

Brooke said...
I like to buy my plastic storage containers at the dollar store and laundry baskets. I have been using them for years with no trouble!

Kids Sunglasses: Snag it
My kids are constantly losing their sunglasses so for $1, this seems like an inexpensive option to protect their eyes.

Nightlight Lightbulbs: Snag it
There is nothing worse than the light in the nightlight burning out right after you have tucked a kiddo in and read them 23 bedtime stories.
We always have these on hand, just in case.
They last for years!

Watches: Pass
The batteries in these watches seem to know right when you walk out the door of the store.
They literally stop working as soon as you fork over your hard earned dollar.
There aren't many "electronics" that I will buy at the dollar store...well, probably none.
These are on my list of things to skip.

Dog Treats: Snag it
I know it's not recommended to give your dog rawhide, but once in awhile, I will pick these up for my golden retriever.
They last for about an hour (she's a chewer), and keep her busy if we have to leave her for the afternoon.

Dog Shampoo: Pass
I think my dog got dirtier after I used this on her.
It is a job just to wash our 75 pound pooch, so when I do it, I want to do it right.
This ain't right.

Hand Sanitizer: Snag it
Most school supply lists now have hand sanitizer on the lists.
It's a pretty basic "recipe" and seems to do the job.

Hand Sanitizer with lotion: ???
Because hand sanitizer is on the school supply list, the kids are using it like it's water
(literally, usually in place of hand washing, which is a bummer)
My daughter was coming home from second grade with chapped and cracked hands because the alcohol in the hand sanitizer was drying her hands out.
I haven't tried this yet, but I think it would be a nice alternative if you use hand sanitizer often.

Whales: Snag it
If you have a toddler in your life, you know that goldfish crackers are one of the four food groups.

The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said...

Whales are good (cheddar knock off of goldfish crackers).

Sunflower Seeds: Snag it
Little League baseball season is upon us.
For the past 9 years we have been cheering our oldest son on in the stands.
Sunflower seeds are a staple of the game.

Foil Pans: Snag it
Lots of you commented on how you stock up on foil pans at the dollar store.
As you can see they have a HUGE selection and variation of sizes.

Klinkj0806 said... 
The selection of foil disposable pans is awesome! They come in sets of two, all different sizes, with lids! When I would pay $4 and up for that at the grocery store I will take it for a buck - no problem! These are great to have to take dinners to folks who are under the weather, just had a baby or for holiday gift giving... :)

Cheap Soda: Pass
If you really need 2 liter soda it's usually on sale at your local grocery store for 79 cents.

"Honey": Pass
While the bear shaped bottle may fool you into thinking that this "honey" is just like what you would pick up in the grocery store, it's not.
Look closely...it's "honey flavored syrup".
Really?  Honey flavored syrup?  So it's just high fructose corn syrup with some flavoring and dye to make it look yellow.
Honey is a super food.
Pick up the real thing.

Sprinkles: Snag it
This size bottle at the grocery store can run you nearly $5.
It's coated sugar, you can't go wrong here.

Spices: Snag it
Our dollar store has quite a selection of spices and seasonings for much cheaper than you will find at the grocery store.
I pick up cinnamon and it looks like I'm not the only one.

Lisa Roberts said... 
 I always go in there to snag gift bags, tissue peer and don't laugh, cinnamon. It is really expensive at name stores and I mix it with sugar for coffee anyway.

Canned Fish: Pass
Let me just start by saying, I wouldn't buy canned fish any where, let alone at the dollar store.
To me, it's like buying a hot dog at the gas station.
It just won't happen in my lifetime.

Canned Meat: Pass
I mentioned in my original post that you should skip the potted meat.
I had one or two of you that commented that I was wrong about the potted meat.
All due respect, I don't feel like I will ever be wrong about potted meat.

Sardines: Pass
I'm just trying to make my point that you should stay away from any "meat" or "fish" product at the dollar store.
Some things should just be bought fresh.

Shredded Cheese: Pass
At first glance you might think this is a good deal.
Shredded cheese for a buck...stock up, right?  Wrong!
Just look at the label
"Pasteurized Process Topping"
It's not even real cheese.
Please do yourself a favor and buy real food.
You are worth it!

Steak or Pork: Pass
Let's try this one last time,
if you see meat at the dollar store, just pass it up.
Nothing in this "meat" is food that will fuel your body.
If you look at the fine print it says "contains up to 30% of a solution"
My stomach churns just thinking about what the "solution" could be.
I bought real fresh pork chops today at the grocery store for $1.99 a pound.
This "meat" is 3.5 ounces.  
Is it really worth $4.50 a pound?

So what do you think?
Am I totally wrong about the canned/frozen/potted meat?
Did I miss something in the personal/food aisles that you normally pick up?

Stay tuned tomorrow for some of my general household items.
You won't believe what things you can pick up to save you money!

PS- Only 9 days left of voting for the top 25 creative mom blogs.
It takes just a second and I will love you forever!


Tara @ Tales of a Trophy Wife said...

Love the list. Mine carries jelly bellies-way cheaper than Target too. Graham Crackers are a good deal too.

labbie1 said...

All the fixins for smores can be found at the dollar store and much cheaper than the regular stores! Oh and they have the cinnamon sugar grahams too!

Oh come on! You don't buy gas station hot dogs and chicken???? Where were you RAISED????

For those working on having some foods for their 72 hours kits or car kits, this is a good place to get the "potted meat" and I have to say it is better than the Deviled Ham I tried from the regular store. Not something I would want to live on for 10 years and of course it isn't healthy! I mean, what can you do to Vienna Sausage? Not sure I would try the steak or lobster and shrimp though! Of course I am allergic to shell fish so...

They have shelf stable milk too. Good deal on that! I always keep some in the camper in case I run out of the regular milk. Tastes just like normal milk--unlike the canned evaporated milk...

The sugar is pricey at $1 for a 1 lb box unless you just want a small box. My hummingbirds would put me in the poorhouse if I used sugar at $1/lb in the summer though! Yikes!

They have sugar free candy for the diabetics--the diabetics in my family give them two thumbs up!

I honestly never looked at the aluminum pans, though I use them quite a bit since they weigh very little and are disposable for the 5th wheel and little camper...

I am SO enjoying this series and my list is growing with every post! Can't wait to see what is on tap for tomorrow! I see my list growing once again!

Anonymous said...

I SO want to go to the dollar store now!!

Thanks Rachel!

robin :-)

kdavis said...

Love them again! Containers-Yes! One thing I found is butter pound cake! delish! great for eating alone or layering with fruit and pudding. Agree on the honey-found one that was made from rice?

Toughie said...

I loved these posts! I, too, have a hard time getting out of the dollar store with just what I went there for! I have to say, I've never seen canned lobster though! EW! I'm really skeptical about the dog treats though, unless they're brand name (my local $store always has chew-lottas and crunch and clean). There have been too many tainted treats lately to risk it (I don't have link off hand, but if you're interested, I'm sure I can find it).

Unknown said...

Carpet Cleaner is a good one, too! Works just as well as Resolve.

Tiffany said...

With the dog shampoo... I always shampoo my dog twice, once just never seems like enough. So I buy the dollar tree dog shampoo to use for the first lather, then use a name brand for the second. That way I'm not wasting gobs of extra expensive flea or oatmeal shampoo and my dog still smells great! :)

Jenni said...

Be careful buying sunglasses without the 100% UV Protection sticker! Without 100% protection, you can be damaging your kids' and your own eyes! Our Dollar Tree mentions ultraviolet on the tag, but it's deceiving and not full protection my kids' eyesight is worth more than a dollar.

Jenni said...

Be careful buying sunglasses without the 100% UV Protection sticker! Without 100% protection, you can be damaging your kids' and your own eyes! Our Dollar Tree mentions ultraviolet on the tag, but it's deceiving and not full protection my kids' eyesight is worth more than a dollar.

roxy_vixen said...

I just wanted to say that the "cheap soda" at the dollar store is usually 3 liters, not 2, so it is cheaper to grab some while you are there. Not worth the savings if you have to travel further to pick some up, but if you are there anyways, it can save you a few cents :D

Usna said...

i worked at Dollar General and i dont see whats so wrong about the canned food there its so much cheaper then regular stores and just as good

Food for the Single Dude said...

Honestly? Our dollar store sells Jennie-O turkey bacon and, just recently, country ham slices from the Daniel Boone Inn located in Boone, NC. Both were fresh, sealed well, in date, and delicious. It's not that all of the meat they sell is sketchy...it just depends on what is available and your taste. :-)

Iva said...

If you have a Dollar General or a Dollar General Supermarket, their spices are .50. Also, Big Lots tends to have those type of things. TDT is my go-to place *if* I can't get something cheaper, elsewhere ;)

Poptart said...

Just a heads up for people who are trying to avoid Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), the Whales mentioned here do have it, labeled as "spice".
Thanks for the awesome information btw! =)


Amber said...

When I go the the dollar store I always try to grab las totally awesome cleaner. It works for just about every stain I have ever had. My daughter cupped her shirt full of raspberries and left a stain that I couldn't get to for hours. When I got home I sprayed on the awesome cleaner and in twenty minutes the stain was gone before I washed it. It also takes up grease markes in the kitchen without effort. Snag it worthy c:

Chris Bosker said...

Be careful with purchasing OTC meds. I believe Consumers Reports had an article about this recently and how they can be dangerous when purchased from the dollar store.

Unknown said...

I love the dollar store. In regards to the toothpaste, just make sure it is manufactured in the US because some of it is from Mexico and they do not have the same standards of fluoride as we do, they are allowed to put much more then we are, may be due to less availability of good care.
I would also like to comment on the OTC bottle of sleep aid of "relax and sleep". The combination of Valerian, Melatonin and Chamomile works wonderful.

Unknown said...

Band aids aren't great they don't stay on long even when they don't get wet. It was a $1 wasted for me on these at Dollar Tree!

Unknown said...

On the Band-aids they do not work well even when they have not gotten wet. It was a $1 wasted for me.

Katey said...

Hi. Thank you for your Dollar Store posts! I don't shop there often, but I always enjoy looking at all of the items! One thing that's definitely a "pass" for me is any type of kitchen utensil. I outfitted my kitchen when I moved to a new apartment. I got mixing spoons, spatulas, tongs, all of that sort of thing, at the Dollar Tree, and they broke within a month or two. I ended up buying more expensive versions anyway.
I just wanted to say about the canned Lobster and Shrimp spreads...I believe I've seen the same brand at World Market and other expensive retailers! So while I understand if it's not to your taste (it's not to mine, either), those who like it would definitely be getting a deal at the Dollar Tree!

Unknown said...

Well on the subject of meats the brands you showed are the same brands they have at big name stores, so if you want to put meat leftovers filled wIth sodium and preservatives in your body go ahead. They have sergants and Adams brands dog shampoo at my dollar store which is the same stuff I buy at big name stores, so it depends on which brands they have.

Unknown said...

It depends more on brands. The brand of canned meat you showed is the same brand they sell at big name stores. If you want to eat meat leftovers with sodium and preservatives go ahead. At my local dollar store they have Adams and Sergant pet shampoos which is the same stuff i get at big name stores.

Unknown said...

Well on the subject of meats the brands you showed are the same brands they have at big name stores, so if you want to put meat leftovers filled wIth sodium and preservatives in your body go ahead. They have sergants and Adams brands dog shampoo at my dollar store which is the same stuff I buy at big name stores, so it depends on which brands they have.

Mrs. Lovelace said...

The plastic containers are great!! I bought them for my classroom and 2 years later with daily use only 1 was broken! Pretty good considering I left them in the hands of kinder, 1st, and 2nd, graders!!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Be careful of toothpaste.... there are "American" brands made for the Chinese market in China that end up in our dollar stores... they have unsafe levels of lead, arsenic, and other yukkies. Check the country of origin when buying name brands. Same for dog treats... there is no regulation of dog foods in China, so if those products are made there, pass, if you love your pooch!

Unknown said...

*Best shampoo I ever used to clean my dog and kill his fleas, believe it or not, was Suave Clarifying shampoo. Those fleas were done for.
*The grape soda is pretty decent.
*They do these little lemon flavored ice treats -- looks like a yogurt pot -- our family loves them. I think they come 4 to a pack.
*I'll buy the cheap shampoos and use them as a body wash. They work wonderfully and are way cheaper.

Jamie Lynn said...

re: shredded cheese: my local dollar tree used to be a walgreens so they have a cooler in back and have random stuff in there all the time. i looked the day before thanksgiving just out of curiosity and ended up picking up a bag (albeit a smaller bag but still a good deal!) of sargento shredded cheddar! they do get name brand stuff in, just make sure to check the expiration dates.

Mandie said...

I love your blog, I read on the back of that faux shredded cheese it said not made to melt! Ugh, pass

Mandie said...

I love your blog, I read on the back of that faux shredded cheese it said not made to melt! Ugh, pass

PeggySue said...

SNAPPS fried cheese sticks...snag!

They are normal size and 9 in a package. I also love the fried green beans.

Anonymous said...

I'd suggest caution with the spices that are _____-salt, as they are mostly salt with a bit of flavouring, not worth the price.

Good lists, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!!
I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…

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