I remember when the first Dollar Tree was built into our local neighborhood mall.
My mom would spend time browsing the store, walking up and down the aisles looking to see what new items were on sale. I thought it was so boring and would opt to wait in the car for her until she was done. Not until I got married, though, did I realize what a treasure Dollar Tree really is.
Starting a new life while spending frugally turned out to be more difficult than I had thought. My husband and I made one of our first shopping trips as a married couple to the dollar store, and have returned many times since.
There’s something intriguing (at least to me) about walking into a store where everything is $1. I mean, what a steal, right? On my first few trips, however, my eyes were bigger than my wallet, and I loaded up my basket with things just because they were a dollar. Unfortunately, even at the Dollar Tree things add up. Over time I learned that maybe some of the products I had purchased weren’t all they were cut out to be. You know the saying, “You get what you pay for?” It can be true! So, after some trial and error, I learned what products are worth spending the “dollar” on, and which products are better left on the shelf.
This inventory was taken from the stores we have in San Diego: the Dollar Tree, and the 99-cent store.
Food: Fresh produce and whole grain bread (sold only at the 99-cent store), salt, pepper, pasta, Raisin Bran, and tea. These are pretty much the only “food” products that I purchase from the dollar store. The rest of the food selection seems a bit too over processed. These pantry-safe foods, however, are definitely trustworthy.
Cleaning Products: Cleaning products can get a little pricy if you’re purchasing them at big, retail, chain stores. I really like buying cleaning supplies from the dollar store because they’re inexpensive (obvi.), and work just like your run-of-the-mill name brand cleaners. Here’s what they offer: Easy Scrub (Soft Scrub dupe.), window cleaner, cleaning buckets, cleaning sponges, brooms, dust pans, latex cleaning gloves, cleaning towels, carpet freshener, trash bags, household disinfectants, dish soap, laundry detergent and baking soda.
Household Items: Candles (of all shapes and sizes), scented candles, matches, glassware (such as vases and tumbler glasses), Tupperware, doormats, various kitchen utensils (measuring cups, cooking spoons, tongs…etc.), tin foil, aluminum foil, Hefty sandwich and freezer bags, linens and dish towels.
Health and Beauty: I would not recommend purchasing anything cosmetics-wise from the dollar store (except for maybe e.l.f. lip gloss). However, there are a few unexpected items that I found and really like: sleeping masks, shower caps, conditioner caps for hair masks, eye mask to reduce puffiness, Epsom salt, foot scrub, heat wraps, ice packs, Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and Band-Aids.
Dollar stores also have tons of miscellaneous items. There are always party supplies, craft supplies, greeting cards, plants and flowers (99-cent store only), and of course seasonal goods, to name a few. You’d be surprised at how many cool little odds and ends you find at the dollar store.
Next time you’re low on cash, stop by the dollar store and save!