Why Waste Money When You Can Buy These Items At The Dollar Store?

The cost of living isn’t limited to rent and food. Most people need cleaning tools, office items, supplies, and dozens of other items. Paying for these supplies adds up quickly, which is why you should get many of these at the dollar store. Buying $1 items like reading glasses and plastic buckets can save you $10 per trip. Add that over time, and you’ll keep a lot of money for your next vacation or night out. If you buy all these items at the dollar store instead of a chain, you’ll save at least $160.

Pain Relievers

Person holds pills with a display of a variety of NSAIDs, or anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images
KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

An average bottle of Advil can cost $11 or more at stores like Staples. But you can find all the familiar pain reliever brands at a dollar store. The bottles might be smaller, but would you rather spend $2 on two bottles or $11 on one? It’s all the same product, anyway.

Beyond generic pain relievers, dollar stores also provide medicated muscle patches, decongestants, and oral analgesic gel. If you need an over-the-counter pain reliever for anything, the dollar store will have it.

Sealed Food Containers

Purple-lidded food containers from Dollar Tree store food on a kitchen counter.

If you need more plastic containers to store leftovers, visit the dollar store. They feature collections of Betty Crocker sealed containers for a buck. These safe packs can cost between $7 and $14 at stores like Walmart. According to the reviews, many of the dollar store’s containers can handle the dishwasher and multiple uses.

Plus, these containers are cheap, so if you use a container at work, you won’t have to worry. If you want clip-lock lids, they have it. If you want tiny travel containers, they have it. Packs of four? Only $1. You can’t find a better deal.

Notebooks And Journals

Notebooks and journals from Dollar Tree lean against a peach background.

Have you ever started a notebook that you never filled? You might want to switch gears and purchase notebooks at the dollar store. These notebooks use less paper, which helps the environment and your wallet. Compare a $1 notebook to a $4 one at Target or Staples.

If you need a small notebook for a meeting, grocery lists, or to-do list, you’ll save money by buying them at the 99 Cents Store. For students, they also sell decorated 60 to 100-page spiral notebooks, perfect for class.

Storage Containers

Woman stores yarn in plastic containers in a closet.
Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Susan Biddle/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Unless you need to buy a new cabinet or shelf, you can purchase all of your storage containers at a dollar store. Woven baskets, locker bins, collapsible boxes– are all available at dollar stores. Compare that to $5 or $8 per bin at Target.

If you wanted ten containers to fill a cabinet, you would end up spending $10 at the Dollar Tree as opposed to $60-$80 at other stores. That’s a lot of money that you could save for a nice night out!

Cleaning Supplies

A man in rubber gloves cleans a glass surface.
Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images
Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images

All the items that are bound to get dirty–sponges, rags, plastic buckets–are all available at the dollar store. If they’re going to become gross after the first use, why spend extra money on fancy sweeper cloths or multi-purpose cleaners?

Cleaning sprays can cost anywhere from $4 to $35 at Home Depot and grocery stores. Specialized tools, such as Magic Erasers, usually cost over $20. You can buy all of these for a buck along with air fresheners, dusters, drain openers, and dustpans. The dollar store offers every cleaning tool you’ll ever need.

Party Supplies

Children eat cupcakes at a birthday party.
Felli Loretta/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Felli Loretta/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Did you know that the Dollar Store offers a wide range of party supplies that rivals Party City? At Party City, plates cost around $3, while banners and balloons cost between $15 and $30 depending on the package. You can save up to 70% by buying all of these supplies from the Dollar Store.

Dollar Stores offer supplies for birthdays, holidays, weddings, bridal showers, and even catering silverware. It all looks professional, and it’s all on a budget. If you don’t have time to visit the store, you can get all of these items online.

Paper Clips, Staples, And Tape

Paper clips lie against lined paper in green lighting.
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Office supplies are far cheaper at the dollar store than anywhere else. If you bought paper clips, staples, and tape at Office Depot, you’d spend $2.49, $2.99, and $1.90 at the cheapest. That’s a total of $7.38 as opposed to just $3.

If you wanted to buy bulk at an office store, you’d spend a lot more. A dozen tape rolls can cost around $20 at Staples, while the 99 Cent Store offers six-packs for a dollar. If you’re buying supplies for kids or office-mates, stick to the dollar store.

Picture Frames

A selection of Nikon FX-format digital SLR cameras hang within golden frames.
Neil Godwin/N-Photo Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Neil Godwin/N-Photo Magazine/Future via Getty Images

Picture frames can cost anywhere from $8 to $40 at Aaron Brothers, Office Depot, and Michael’s. But you can buy an equally elegant frame for far less. The Dollar Tree offers the same products at Michael’s–wooden frames, water gloves, grooved black borders–for 92% less.

Some of these frames include posters (beat that price, Ikea) while others are more common, simple frames. Dollar stores offer a variety of frames, including ones that stack photos like collages. You’ll get the same product while not breaking the bank.

Reading Glasses

Woman wears reading glasses while looking down.

If you don’t require a prescription, you can find reading glasses at many general stores. But did you know that dollar stores offer the same glasses you find at CVS? They even sell packs of eight glasses for $1. That’s opposed to $13 for a pack of four glasses on Amazon.

If you want a certain color of glasses, visit the dollar store. If you want hanging beads or colorful frame designs, visit the dollar store. Many dollar stores even sell lens cleaners for cheap! It’s far cheaper than visiting Walgreens.

Greeting Cards

Elderly couple chooses a greeting card from a wall of options.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Cliff Grassmick/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

The Dollar Store provides a wide variety of greeting cards for every occasion. So why would you pay $8 for on at Paper Source or $10 for a pack of cards on Amazon that you’ll never use? Unless you’re buying greeting cards for the next five years, stick to the Dollar Store.

Some stores, like Walmart, also offer greeting cards for $1 to $2. But if you’re going card shopping, you might as well find the cheapest option possible. The quality is about the same for most stores that sell cards.

Present-Wrapping Supplies

A bookseller packs books as Christmas presents
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

As with gift cards, gift bags, and wrapping paper are far cheaper at the dollar stores. Nice gift bags and wrapping paper can cost over $11 on Amazon. If the gift-receiver will likely throw their wrapping away, why would spend so much on it?

At stores like Dollar Tree, you can buy packages of three or four gift bags for only a dollar. They all come in different colors and designs, often themed for the upcoming holidays. You’re spending enough on a gift; why not save $10 to $20 on wrapping?

Holiday Decorations

Halloween decorations are stacked on a desk with a mirror behind them.

Holidays only come once a year. So why would you pay $10 for a Christmas banner or $20 for Halloween wall hangings on Amazon? You can buy mugs, tins, religious candles, wreaths, and even holiday-themed craft supplies for a buck at a dollar store.

Even the “classier” decorations, such as themed kitchen towels and silverware, are available at the Dollar Tree. You can save these items for next year, but you also don’t have to break the bank for your Christmas party.

Cotton Balls And Q-Tips

Cotton swabs and cotton balls are stored in mason jars next to a succulent.

Q-tips and cotton balls are one-and-dones, and yet many people need a consistent supply. At the dollar store, you can buy 350 Q-tips for $1, as opposed to 500 for $3.29 at Target. If you do the math, it’s a better deal. You can also buy cotton balls for $1 at the 99 Cents Store as opposed to $1.89 at Target or $2.59 at CVS.

Some stores, like Walgreens, offer these products for around $1 as well. If you’re buying these items in bulk, though, that 29 cents tax adds up. Save money on these and other items at your local dollar store.

Hair Clips And Elastics

Santiago Canyon College freshman Priscilla Smith adds a poof of color to her hair with clips.
Mindy Schauer/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A packet of five hair clips at Claire’s is $5, whereas Forever 21 hair accessories can go up to $7 for two clips. At the Dollar Tree, you can buy 24 different colored clips for $1. It’s all the same product, so why wouldn’t you go with the cheapest option?

If you need 36 hair ties, mini claw clips or alligator clips for your upcoming hairdo, you can buy them from a dollar store. They also sell other accessories such as head wraps, bandanas, headbands, bows, and brushes at the dollar store. It’s practically an accessory shop.

Kitchen Cooking Utensils

Kitchen utensils hang against a white-tile wall.

Dollar stores sell handy cooking utensils–wooden spoons, tongs, and salad serving sets–for $1. Many of these deals come with packs of two or four, and if you want plastic serving utensils, they offer those too. Compare that against $10 for five wooden utensils at Walmart, or $11 for a pair of tongs at Target.

Many of these dollar store utensils are made of stainless steel, and they sell in bulk packs online. Broke college students will receive the same quality for far less. You could save over $50 by buying these utensils at the 99 Cent Store.


Sally Kingdom pours a glass of water from the sink.
Cliff Grassmick/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
Cliff Grassmick/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

Whether it’s pub glasses, goblets, or wine glasses, you’ll find all at your local dollar store. Many of these deals cost $1 per unit, so four glasses will cost you $4. That’s better than a deal at Walmart, which offers $9.66 for a pack of eight.

This deal won’t work if you need a lot of glasses. For instance, $48 for 48 doesn’t beat deals at Target or Amazon. If you’re in the market for glassware, compare prices. In general, buying 12 cups or less will warrant a deal at a dollar store.

Flower Vases

Glass vases from Dollar Tree hold artificial flowers and candles.

If you’re buying fresh flowers, don’t get the glass vase with it. Visit the dollar store and buy clear or colored vases for only a buck. This beats vases that cost $6 at World Market or $3 at Target. Although it may not seem like a big cost gap, it adds up. Buying five vases at Dollar Tree can save you $29.

Do you need some artificial flowers to fill the vases? Don’t go for Michaels or Ikea flowers, which cost between $1.20 and $12. Get those at the dollar store as well. They have fake succulents, bouquets, and bushes.

Aluminum Foil And Plastic Wrap

A pie is lined with aluminum foil around the edge of the crust.
Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Aluminum foil and plastic wrap can cost up to $15 on Amazon or, on the cheaper end, $3.48 at Walmart. You can buy the same brands of aluminum foil–and even foil pans–for far less at a dollar store. At Dollar Tree, plastic wraps stretch up to 80 sq ft for a buck.

You can also buy other baking supplies, such as parchment paper and wax paper, at the dollar store. If you buy all of these at a dollar store, you’ll save at least $6.28. Add that up over time, and you’ll keep quite a bit of money.

Candy And Chocolate Boxes

A boy excitedly holds bags of candy at Wakarusa Dime Store.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

You can buy candy bags at any drug store or grocery, but your best bet is the dollar store. Most candy and gum costs at least $1.39 at stores like CVS. If you wanted to buy bulk, you’d pay around $10 to $13 at Costco. It’s cheaper to buy a bunch of chocolate and candy bags at the dollar store.

In particular, chocolate boxes can be expensive. Assorted chocolate boxes can range from $8 to over $50, depending on the wrapping and where you buy them. Certain dollar stores offer assorted chocolate boxes, and although they’re smaller, they’re also better for your wallet.

Reusable Tote Bags

Shopper packs her car after shopping at The Big Y grocery store
Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

These days, paper and plastic bags cost money at certain grocery stores. Most people buy their reusable bags at the counter, which cost $4 to $12 at stores like Trader Joe’s. If you plan ahead, though, you can purchase reusable bags for $1. They’re the same quality, too.

Beyond grocery shopping, you can use these totes to transport gym clothes, bring dishes to a potluck, and pack for day trips. Many of the dollar store bags are laminated and have metallic designs. They’ll help you for a long time.