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10 Things You Should Have Been Buying from the Dollar Store This Whole Time

You may think it's filled with junk, but the dollar store could provide you with some great, cheap finds.

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Who doesn’t love a good bargain? While there are some things to never buy at the dollar store, there are certainly plenty of products you should. A low price may be tempting, but you may also be concerned about quality, and rightfully so. You can expand your budget with dollar store foods and dollar store beauty items, but how do you know what’s actually a good deal? We reached out to experts to help guide you on your next trip to the dollar store that will allow you to save some extra cash while getting everything you need.

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Party supplies

Hosting a party? Plates, cups, napkins, utensils, balloons, and even party hats can all be found for just a dollar. “While I love Target, these items at Target or Walmart cost several dollars where you can pick them up at the Dollar Store for a buck,” says John Frigo of BestPriceNutrition.com. You’ll be able to go all out with decorating because you can easily stick to your budget.

RELATED: How Do Dollar Stores Make Money?

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Cleaning supplies

You’re going to need to clean up after your party. Buy sponges, cleaning sprays, and dish detergent on the cheap. “I can say with confidence that the dollar store is the best place to buy cleaning supplies,” explains Chris Willatt, president of Alpine Maids. “Their products are often just as good as other retailers at a much better price.”

Pregnancy testsimarik/Getty Images

Pregnancy test

Bet you weren’t expecting that one! Don’t worry, the 99 cent tests are just as effective as the ones at the pharmacy. “For the average woman, dollar store tests are fine and just as accurate as name-brand tests,” Beth Taylor, an infertility specialist at Olive Fertility in Vancouver told Today’s Parent. You have to be patient though before taking the test. To get the best results, women have to wait until the date of their expected period.

RELATED: 13 Dollar Store Ripoffs You Need to Avoid

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Greeting cards

Buying a card from a specialty store can run you upwards of five dollars. “The dollar store has greeting cards 2 for $1.00,” claims the founder of Restore Decor & More, Brooke Grasley. “You can easily pay $4.00-$5.00 for a greeting card elsewhere. For the cost of two greeting cards somewhere else, I can have a stockpile of 20 greeting cards ready to use when needed.” Save money on the next birthday card you buy and put it towards the gift.

RELATED: Things Dollar Store Employees Won’t Tell You

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Cooking accessories

Cheese graters, salt shakers, ice cream scoops, wine glasses, and more—any cooking supply at the dollar store is usually a good buy, except for knives, which may not be of high quality. “Basic cookware supplies like that are just a no-brainer in my opinion,” explains Alicia Harper of ProbioticReviewGirl.com. “They perform exactly the same, last for a very long-time and you can’t even tell they were bought for a dollar.”

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Paper products

Stock up on paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, and paper plates and cups. Constantly running to the store to buy these everyday necessities can really take away from your monthly budget. “Nobody should be stuck with generic facial and bath tissue when you can get brand names like Puffs, Bounty, and Scott at Dollar Tree for super cheap,” explains Evelyn of The Krazy Coupon Lady.

RELATED: Why Dollar Stores Are So Cheap

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Bread

A lot of dollar stores sell name-brand breads, bagels, and more. Just keep in mind that some of the packages may be close to expiring, so plan on eating them fast or storing in the freezer. “Why pay around $3.49 for Oroweat bread at Target when you can get the same stuff for a dollar?” as said on The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Close-Up Of Illuminated Lighting Equipment Over Red BackgroundDaniela Simona Temneanu/EyeEm/Getty Images

Seasonal items

Like to decorate your home for Halloween or Christmas? The dollar store always has a big selection of festive bargains. “Holiday decor is a must at the dollar store if you want to DIY your own decor,” says Grasley. “You can easily pay ten times the amount for a wood heart at a craft store as the base for your project instead of finding one for a dollar. By shopping at the dollar store, you can make your DIY holiday decor for much cheaper.”

Things-You-Haven't-Been-Buying-From-the-Dollar-Store-But-Really-Should-BeSergey Mironov/shutterstock

Reading glasses

You constantly lose your reading glasses or accidentally sit on them and they break. Don’t waste money spending more than a dollar on your reading glasses. Many dollar stores offer a variety of styles so you’re bound to find something you like. “Understandably, reading glasses are expensive considering the design work that goes into making them,” explains Swati Chalumuri of Hear Me Folks. “The cost is, however, unusually high when buying from a drugstore or opticians. This is despite the fact that you can tell your fit by just trying on a pair. Better yet, if you’ve already had a check up, then you have an idea about the kind of glasses you need, which you can easily pick from a dollar store.”

Close-Up Of Stacked Books Against Colored BackgroundSusanne Kürth/EyeEm/Getty Images

Books

Sometimes you can find popular books by best-selling authors for only a buck. Also, take advantage of the kid books and coloring books. “The Dollar Tree has a shockingly good book selection,” says parenting blogger, Lorie Anderson. “I’ll usually swing by there to grab a book before I head to the beach for the day. These days, there’s nowhere else you can buy a brand-new book for a dollar. It’s not the type of store that’ll have every book you want. It’s more like a thrift store, where you never know what they’re going to have. But if you’re the type of person who’s always looking for new books to read, it’s a great place to buy them.” Now that you know what to add to your cart, check out these 21 things you should never buy at the dollar store.

Sources:

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.