Thursday, March 8, 2012

What Not to Buy at the Dollar Store-Part 4 General Items






Welcome to Part 4 of 


Where I share my experience with you about things that are worth a buck
and some things that should just remain on the shelves.

If you missed the original post you can find that here
and our follow up posts in the series
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Snack Cups: Snag it
All three of my kids (and my husband) bring their lunches to school every day.
I try to keep the food waste to a minimum (see my solution here)
and these snack cups are another perfect solution.
I don't spend a ton of money on prepackaged fruit cups but instead will buy a jar of applesauce or a can of fruit and put them in these cups instead.
I've also used them to make jello or pudding in.
They are the perfect size for a snack and so much cheaper than buying the snack sized foods.



Knives: Pass
I like my fingers.  
And have grown quite fond of having ten of them that I would like to keep.
A dull knife isn't worth it.
But that said:









rockinred said... 
We are still using the Dollar Store serrated steak knives I bought when I moved into my 1st apartment...from 10 years ago! They work great and can go right into the dishwasher. Can't beat that for value! :)


Shelf Liner: Snag it
When we moved into our home last year, the first thing I did before unpacking was line the shelves.
I had no idea the dollar store carried this and ended up spending $10 per roll!
Lesson learned!


Contact Paper: Snag it
I've not personally used it but









Tales of a Trophy WIfe said... 
I also buy: Contact paper-way cheaper than vinyl 
I've never tried it as a vinyl alternative, but it might be worth a shot!



Clothespins: Pass
Our family uses clothespins to hold the bread bag closed or the top of a chip bag.
These clothespins break easily or don't work at all
Several of them literally fell apart in my hand when I reached for them.


Oven Mitts: Pass
Pick one of these up and do a feel test
These oven mitts are so thin you could really only use them for decoration.


Chair Protectors: Snag it
Another household thing I paid too much for when we moved.
We have these on the bottom of the chair legs on the hardwood floors.
I spent $7 for a box of them last year.


Work Gloves: Pass
If you are wearing work gloves, it usually means work is involved.
These gloves are so thin you might as well be wearing nothing.
Invest in a good pair of work gloves and save your buck here.


Decorative rocks: Snag it
The possibilities for these accent stones and other decorative stones are endless.
Use these to make a river rock shower mat
or get the pretty clear ones for the bottom of a vase.









Pam Fields said...
At our Dollar Tree they have clear cylinder vases that are closer to 6.00 at Wal-Mart. They also have the colored stones to go in the bottom of the vases.



Hardback books and CD's: Snag it
I have already professed my love of the library here
but I do keep my eyes peeled in the book/CD section just in case.









~The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said... 
Books---hardback nice books are often there.




Photo Paper: Snag it
I don't have a photo printer, but I have heard from several of you that photo paper is nice to have on hand.


School Supplies: Snag it
When I get my kids school supply list I make a master list of the items they need
(5 composition notebooks, 2 bottles of hand sanitizer, 1 calculator)
When I am shopping for items in August I carry that list with me
After I hit all of the super save sales at the big stores
I hit the Dollar Store for some of the remaining items.
Or if the kids run out of supplies mid year when there aren't any sales, this is a great place to find them.


Poster Board: Snag it
Most kids will need this for a project at some point in their school career
It's good to know you can find it here for 50 cents


Foam Board: Snag it
I used foam board for one of my favorite art pieces that I made for my sons room
It's lightweight and can be used for so many things.


Fire Starter: Snag it
We BBQ year round and always have these on hand
With young kids in the house, I would rather have these around than matches or a lighter.


Sharpies: Snag it
Cheap and permanent
I always have one in my purse 


Scented Candles: Pass
I already mentioned in part 1 about buying smelly household items.
The things that are supposed to smell don't 
(and ironically some of the things that shouldn't smell do)
Skip on these


Gift Wrap: snag it
I know most people aren't wrapping present anymore, but when you do, there are some great prints for only a buck.



Gift Bags: Snag it
Out of all of the comments, most of you told me that you pick up your gift bags at the Dollar Store.
I don't buy bags often but there have been times when my supply has been running low and I have picked a few up.







maryjt said... 35
I so agree with the tissue paper and would include the gift bags because sometimes my recycled gift bag assortment amazingly doesn't have just the "right" bag for the occasion.


Party Supplies: Snag it (cautiously)
The party supplies are great for kids birthday parties or school parties but I would skip them if you need heavy duty paper ware.
There is a huge assortment of colors to match any party



Plastic cutlery: Pass
I sometimes buy these to put inside my kids lunches but would be embarrassed to use them for a party.
They are flimsy and break easily and I'm not the only one that hasn't had a good experience with them.








Jessica said... 28
I totally agree. Another pass - the plasticware (to use at parties), breaks as soon as you use it!


Ribbon: Snag it
Several of you told me you pick up their ribbon.
I had no idea the Dollar store carried such an assortment.






rainbowcreek said... 
I like those little plastic treat bags that have pictures printed on them and curly ribbon. I use them to wrap up my handmade items that I sell online. It only costs a few cents and makes my customers feel like they got something special because they get a cute package to open when their order arrives.



Candles: Snag it
Always good to have on hand
You never know when you will need them


Party Trays: Snag it
There are several different shapes and sizes to choose from at our dollar store.








momto8 said...
A thing to snag is the silver trays...they are so pretty to take to a party when I bring a dish to share...and i can just leave the tray..for 1$ it is ok!




Straws: Snag it
I always have these on hand at home.
My kids are too big for sippy cups, but still occasionally spill
I have several insulated cups from Starbucks that we use at home.
A drink is always more fun with a straw in it!


Invitations and thank you notes: Snag it
There are so many ways to make invitations special and do it without spending a lot of money, but if you are looking for doing it the quick and easy way, the dollar store has some great invitations that don't cost a lot of money.
I loved this set that also had matching thank you notes.


Kids Party Supplies/Favors: Snag it
The Dollar Store is always the first place I check for party supplies.
There are several very popular kids themes and you can usually find something to go along with your parties theme



More party items: Snag it






The Bargain Babe from *Zucchini Summer Blog* said... 
You can also sometimes get balloon weights there, much cheaper than the party store.
I did find balloon weights at our store, and cute favor boxes.
It's worth stopping at the dollar store first before you hit the party supply store



Cards: Snag it
Another huge response in my comments section was for the greeting cards.
Our store has a huge selection and always features cards for upcoming holidays (mother's day, graduation, etc...)
You can't beat the price!







Loui♥ said... 
love the greeting cards @ 2/$1! 



Are you surprised about some of the things you can pick up at the Dollar Store?
I know I was!
Anything I missed that you would like to add to the list?









ps-it's a new day and another vote, only 8 days left!
Come vote for Holy Craft to be one of the top 25 creative mom blogs.

37 comments:

sweetboaterchick said...

I love to get clear glassware at the dollar store too. You can get 2 martini glasses for just $1. I painted a few sets as gifts for friends. You can do a set of 4 glasses, 4 plates, and 4 bowls for less that $10 usually. Mine have lasted for years!
~Carolyn

labbie1 said...

I didn't know they had foam core or those floor protectors for the feet of my chairs. Cool!

The cards are so great! I like to send cards and get pretty much all of mine there!

This is kind of in the party supplies and I didn't see it, so I get most of my baby shower and holiday decorations there--especially St. Patrick's Day, Easter, July 4th, autumn, etc. There was a lot of decorations for school classrooms too. I LOVE checking out the holiday stuff!

Good list! Is there going to be a part 5?

Michelle said...

I second the glassware. Have handpainted painted several also and they do not burst in the oven when setting the paint! Same goes for the white ceramic mugs. I've painted lots of those too without many problems. The one thing you do have to watch for on the mugs is chips from careless stocking and sometimes a small dot where the glaze didn't cover. So as long as you inspect them for flaws first, grab those babies up!

Oooh and coloring books and flash cards. Both are crazy expensive elsewhere!

(un)Deniably Domestic said...

What fabulous guidance you offer. Thank you. I will be heading to the dollar store soon to do some snagging! ~Kelly

The Answer Is Chocolate said...

GREAT series ! In the clothespins, I have never tried them for clothes BUT, I use them all the time for the banners I make. I cover w/ a scrap of paper from whatever banner I've made and they work OK for those but we're taking paper / cardstock here...not clothes lol

Noelle said...

I have used the wrapping paper & for me...I like to spring for a better quality. The dollar store paper is thin & depending on the color, you can see what's inside!! Though that's just my experience with it!

Roystalaina said...

Another great post! I use the clothespins for crafts and decor and they work for that but I agree to actually use them, they come apart too easily!

I love those snack cups! I hadnt noticed them..but i will use them for sure! I have a 9month baby, and these will be perfect! and hey if i lose them..theyre only $1! Thanks for that!

Also, You can find some great scrapbooking supplies as well that are worth it..They have the clear plastic page protector sheets for 12x12 albums, and are so much cheaper than the store..They also have held up just fine!

i also agree with other poster about holiday decor..i think most of my holiday decor is from the dollar store..

Reading this really makes me want to go to the $ store now and STOCK UP! :)

Lauren122 said...

Hi, I just found this article on pinterest and I loved it! Our dollar store is usually the first place I go for things. I buy practically everything from there. Except most of the stuff you said to pass on. I agree with them. When I got married, my mom bought all the decorations for the reception there.

I planned my best friend's baby shower last month and we bought almost everything there. The only thing we didn't get there was the game prizes.

Lastly, I like to stock up on cooking utensils and wine glasses. If they break it's not a big deal because they're only a dollar!

Meagan Harris said...

I like to use to overly thin oven mits as fancy gift pouches or stockings at Christmas just to switch it up a little :)

Katie Kamm said...

I Want more!!! i just became a Dollar store shopper my mom never went in there and I cant seem to stay out it so cool what all you can find!! however I love there clothespins I often go in there and buy only that ours is rally tiny :( I have to go to the next town over to get most of the good stuff!!

Cathie Christensen said...

My camping bin is full of dollar store items...the silverware, knives, smaller versions of baking pans, tin foil, the wash rags, list goes on. I like them because if they get lost, ruined on the open fire, so dirty not worth washing you are only out a dollar.

I also have supplemented my ceramic bowls and glassware here. Three boys are rough on them.

April Nicole said...

From what I found through pinterest, Dollar Store is best place to do DIY projects or art/crafts with kids! Lets see what to snag or not to snag when it comes to DIY projects!

Unknown said...

I've had terrible luck with the straws at the dollar tree, specifically the bendy straws. Over half of the straws in one package I bought had pinholes in them right where they flex, and weren't good for anything other than disappointment. They don't have any suction if there's a hole.

Great thing to snag: My dollar tree has sticky notes, like the large sized ones, that are just fantastic for taking notes in textbooks. If you go to staples and look for the brand name, the same size post its are like $10! I also picked up a led light for a closet and it's great for that. My closet has no light so it's great to be able to look in at night.

Best deal: 3 pack of pop rocks.

Look out for subtle knockoff brands in the candy aisle. I came across a bag of what I thought were Sunkist gummies, but they were actually, upon closer examination, "Sinkist" gummies.

And their vienna sausage is actually usually old, usually when I get it (I love it!), the "broth" has sort of gelatinized. Tastes the same, but you do sort of have to deal with not being able to pour off the liquid. (Still yummy)

Unknown said...

Oh, one more thing to buy: Pet food bowls. I buy them for water bowls for my cats because they always want water everywhere in the house, because if you go to a pet store, the big bowls they have for $1 at the dollar tree are at least $6. Oh, scissors, too. I buy them almost every time I go because someone inevitably ends up walking off with them and they disappear.

Also, anyone have a Five Below near them? Are there any items one should avoid when buying there? I've run into a couple: Their generic nail polish, mini polish sets (even name brand, they are SUPER thick & dried out), metal water bottles (they have an odor inside), and their cuticle clippers. Good things to pick up there: Nail polish stickers (the full nail pattern ones), Brand name polish, Lunch boxes (metal!), posters, and their mix and match candy (I stock up on laffy taffy here)

Lauren said...

I love using the decorative rocks in the bottoms of my outdoor planters for additional drainage. They work really well and I just rinse and re-use them. It's much cheaper than anything I've found at Walmart or Lowes.

Kat said...

Actually, the photo paper is AWFUL. We have a brand new printer, but even that doesn't make a difference. The dollar tree photo paper looks fine when it's first done printing, but if you touch it with anything (even just stacking it with other papers) it smears. It's not worth a dollar. The Target brand works just as well and is about the same price.

KelKitty13 said...

Thanks so much for the guidance! I frequent the dollar store and have wondered about some of the very things you've mentioned. Can't wait to try the knock-off miracle erasers. Use the name brand like crazy! Will love saving that money! I know this was time consuming. Thanks again! Hitting the dollar store again soon and experimenting myself.

Stacy Cox said...

Ummm.... hair brushes, hair cuting scissor, & the nicer packs of hairbands there they maybe in less in quantity but are better made the little rubbands for your hair they are the same at walmart just cheaper.
The kitchen utensils are the best I've had mine over 3 years the ones I have except the whisk but I'm not sure if that was the product oor the person uusing it....
The brooms and dust pans are a must and the bleach.
The arts and crafts section LOVE IT....
And the stylus for ur android phones or iphone section get them there they work sometimes better than the 15 dollar ones at walmart I will post more next time at dollor s

Linda said...

Nice post, and I agree with almost everything you say.

One exception is clothes pegs. While I agree that the wood ones are lousy, the bamboo ones are excellent. They're water resistant, don't get weathered, I'm going on year three with them and they look the same as when they were new, and none have broken.

In another post you mentioned toothbrushes are a grab, but the one my husband bought me lost bristles when I brushed my teeth and I tossed in on use number two because ain't nobody got time for that.

Cassidy Elkin said...

First, I love these posts! I have been shopping at the dollar tree for years. I like to buy their candle stick holders and votive holders and glue them together to make topiary jars. I also buy their candles and use mod podge and glitter (and sometimes some really cute tissue paper) to decorate the candles. I even printed photos of my mother-in-law onto tissue paper and stuck them to candles with some gems nd glitter to give to the family when she passed. We are scattered all over the country, but every year on her birthday and the day she passed we light the candles at a specified time so we can at least feel together. I also recommend buying the led candles, but not for the smell (we use wax melts that we buy at Walmart for $2 for 6 squares). I live in Texas, good 'oil tornado alley. While it has been many years since a tornado did any damage in my area, storms have knocked out the power more times than I can count. Frameless candles are a cheap, safe way to feel your way through the dark. Many people don't think about this, but storms, especially tornadoes, can cause gas leaks. Having an open flame is VERY dangerous if a leak does occur. With frameless (ans scentless) candle, you eliminate that risk! They are also easy and fun to decorate!

Cassidy Elkin said...

First, I love these posts! I have been shopping at the dollar tree for years. I like to buy their candle stick holders and votive holders and glue them together to make topiary jars. I also buy their candles and use mod podge and glitter (and sometimes some really cute tissue paper) to decorate the candles. I even printed photos of my mother-in-law onto tissue paper and stuck them to candles with some gems nd glitter to give to the family when she passed. We are scattered all over the country, but every year on her birthday and the day she passed we light the candles at a specified time so we can at least feel together. I also recommend buying the led candles, but not for the smell (we use wax melts that we buy at Walmart for $2 for 6 squares). I live in Texas, good 'oil tornado alley. While it has been many years since a tornado did any damage in my area, storms have knocked out the power more times than I can count. Frameless candles are a cheap, safe way to feel your way through the dark. Many people don't think about this, but storms, especially tornadoes, can cause gas leaks. Having an open flame is VERY dangerous if a leak does occur. With frameless (ans scentless) candle, you eliminate that risk! They are also easy and fun to decorate!

Jennifer Wood said...

While I completely agree with you on snagging foam board, I normally pass on the poster boards for signs and such because they are so lightweight and flimsy. However, I have found the perfect solution (and still less expensive that buying a department store poster board) is to simply attach the colored poster board to the foam board so that the sign has thickness and color. It's a win, win

Bri C said...

I know u said pass on those flameless candles but a friend wanted candles for her wedding but the place where she was doing it said no open flames. So we looked at other places and WOW the cost of those things. So by chance we were at the dollar store for a coloring book and there they were. No they don't have a strong smell but the vanilla wasn't a bad smell and decorated with ribbons and bit of glitter glue she was able to get 3X the amount to line the aisle (it was a night wedding and the path was winding with no electric for rope lights) and have all of the others she truly wanted without spending 100s.
So i think depending what you want to use them for they work great. Another friend put on in her daughter's rm as a "fairy candle" that she can play around without setting the house on fire. And the fairies turn it out each night which her daughter loves.

Alia Rae said...

I am a poor college student and bought packs of silverware from the dollar store and they ended up rusting.

bk* said...

If you plan on reusing a dollar store gift bag, or give a gift to someone who does (I do), or plan to put something relatively heavy in a bag, dollar store bags are not the way to go. they are only a dollar....

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Be wary of "Sharpies" at the dollar store.... put your glasses on and make SURE that is says "Sharpie" and not "Slarpie" or "Snarpie" or something else fake... there are lots of fakes out there.. BTW- you can buy a box of 24 genuine "Sharpies" for $12 at Sam's Club- that's 50 cents each! So unless your $ store sells them in a 2-pack. they are not a bargain!

Theresa said...

Just read through all of these posts. I totally agree with:

1. The socks- I buy the 3 packs of patterned (I don't think they are name brand) socks for my kids and they hold up just as well as other stores but are 3 pairs for $1 or 2 pairs for $1 as opposed to $4 for 3 pair at Walmart. Our store has a nice selection of patterns and colors too.

2. The school supplies- My daughter needed comp notebooks for school this year and even though I could have gotten plain jane ones at Walmart for $0.50- I actually preferred the patterns that Dollar Tree had for $1. Super cute owls and polka dots and chevron- so I bought those at the dollar store. Similar styles at walmart were $2+

3. The gift wrap and tissue paper. I have even found great gift boxes there that don't even need wrapping or are great for storing clutter at home.

4. The glow sticks and bubbles! I never get them anywhere else. The bubbles are actually GOOD bubbles too. I've bought walmart cheap bubbles that just wouldn't blow for anything- but the $store ones are always great for us.

5. The plastic storage bins- I get those at the $store ALL the time!

These posts were great!

Sami McClelland said...

You can also get notebooks and other school supplies for really nice prices elsewhere too. I just saw 1 subject notebooks for 17 cents at target this year. Cheapish, but I "splurged" on the 67 cent notebooks instead!

Sew, Scrap, Make said...

I have those exact same steak knives. I got them about 7 years ago, and they are still going strong.

Unknown said...

I LOVE the Dollar Tree, too. My "cover charge" there is pretty high. I generally agree with what you've learned there. Here are the areas where I've had a different experience.

-Clothes pins. This year I've bought two sets that were packaged differently, and they were great. I use them for everything, even in the freezer.

-Straws. Almost all of my Dollar Tree straws get a hole in them when I pull out the bendy neck. I can find them on sale at Kroger that don't fall apart.

-Decorative Rocks. These are a much better deal than craft stores. When I need the glass "gems" the Dollar Tree seems to be the best deal. BUT, if I need things that look like "river rocks" and I need a lot of them, for crafts or whatever, I get landscaping rocks at Home Depot, probably about 20 pounds for $4. You just have to wash them thoroughly. They've been great in my aquarium.

Thanks!

Rachel

Melanie said...

SERIOUSLY fantastic!! And all so true! I actually bought my sunglasses there. They are cute, sorta look like ray bans, polarized, and work just as good as some nicer pairs I have had in the past. If my daughter gets a hold of them and brakes them, who cares they were a dollar.

Charity Gamble said...

To be honest, I use candles from our Dollar Tree all the time and they have all smelled amazing. Most of the items on all of the lists I have purchased & used and honestly have no issues with at all.

I buy a lot of things like window clings and cheap holiday decorations to put outdoors so if the wind blows them away, it isn't a big loss.

stilllooking said...

I was in dollar tree the other day specifically for over the counter meds (I usually buy the equate brand at Walwart, but could not believe the prices a few weeks ago at Dollar tree).

My son had a scratchy throat and they not only have Luden's cough drops for a dollar they had Ricola (usually much more pricey) and Halls honey lemon. I do believe they were a smaller bag than you'd find in walmart, but how many times have you bought lozenges for a sore throat and you always have leftovers in the bag? They also had their own brand version of these (Cherry Flavored drops" and the Lemon Honey the same flavor as the Halls) and their brand's bag was even bigger for the same dollar.

I usually try to pick up a pack of sanitary pads if I can remember, their mini is barely there , but I like to keep buy fuller sized pads there when I see them, and in the house in case of an emergency, even if a visiter to our needs one in a hurry.

Seriously ladies during that same trip, I noticed they had their own version of Summer's eve spray and cleansing wash maybe even the feminine powder. I don't usually buy these products but I am guessing the original is at least $4.00 and up depending where you buy. Maybe a review or input here. :-)

Jarekojosh said...

LED tealight candles - SNAG IT

I have a Halloween tree every year and I hang small plastic jackolanterns with single LED tealights in them. I used Dollar Tree LED tealights (2pk for $1), left them on, and they lasted all month; I never turned them off. They did slowly get dim but, when compared to LED tealights purchased from Wal-Mart or Michael's Craft Store in different colors for more money in the following years, THOSE tealights went completely out in less than a week.

Dollar Tree LED tealights last so much longer for holiday decorations so I never had to worry about taking them out of the pumpkins to turn them off and on from day to day.

Tonia said...

Another pass- the headphones. My three year old has broke many, and they weren't the cheap ones. We gave up on headphones but had to get some for an upcoming flight. I bought 5 pair, because I knew they were from the dollar store (It was still a lot cheaper than buying them from Target). All of them were awful! They were so quit, didn't fit well and produced a very mechanical sound. Just BAD. Luckily my son slept through all of our flights and it wasn't an issue!

Jessie said...

DO NOT buy the suction cup hooks. they do not suction to ANYTHING. I was so dissapointed. However, their glassware IS awesome, they usually have those old fashioned coke float glasses. excited to learn about the magic erasers as well!

CydB said...

One tip about the candles at Dollar Tree. If you are looking for scent, forget it. However, wax is expensive. When I need wax for crafts, or making my own candles, I buy their white candles, the largest I can find. I melt them in a double boiler and add my own scent. They can also be a source for paintable craft projects for kids. I've been known to buy out their entire supply of little bird houses or frames for my Pioneer Club girls.