There are tens of thousands of dollar stores in the United States, and they’ve been busier than ever during the pandemic as penny-pinching shoppers sought out the lowest possible prices on stuff they might otherwise have bought on Amazon or at pricier big-box stores. The problem is, that’s a fallacy — the dollar store isn’t always cheaper, particularly when you consider the downgrade in quality that so often accompanies a drop in price.
When bargain hunters head to Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar this holiday season, they shouldn’t assume that everything they see is cheaper than it might be anywhere else. Shoppers can rest assured, however, that the following items are almost always a steal at a dollar store. These are the purchases you can make with confidence.
At Dollar Tree, you can pick up a case of 20-square-foot rolls of Voila all-occasion wrapping paper for a buck per roll. Even better, Dollar General is selling Juvilog wrapping paper for $3 for 135 square feet. At Target, on the other hand, you won’t do much better than $4 for 40 square feet. Walmart is even pricier, and neither of the big-box stores offer the option of saving money by buying in bulk cases.
As with wrapping paper, you can save big money by purchasing big cases of holiday cards and greeting cards at the dollar store — but not at the higher-priced retail chain stores. At Dollar Tree, for example, you can get 20 cards — which boast excellent reviews — for $1 when you buy a case of 30. That’s $30 for 600 cards.
At Target, individual cards retail as high as $4, $5, and more. At Walmart, a simple pack of 50 basic greeting cards goes for $14.99.
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Unlike wrapping paper and greeting cards, you can save a lot of money on individual ornaments without — in most cases — buying large quantities in bulk. When it comes to decorating your tree, all three chains — Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar — live up to their names with most ornaments going for just a buck. In several cases, $1 will buy you two ornaments or more. That doesn’t mean you’re relegated to standard green and red balls — those are just $3 for 12. All three stores have selections of unique and interesting ornaments that are truly just $1.
Walmart and Target aren’t even close. For example, you’ll pay more than $8 for 12 standard multicolored balls at Walmart.
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At Dollar Tree, you can score 5 feet of 20-bulb strings of white or colored Christmas lights for just $1 if you buy a case of three — that’s 15 feet of lights for $3. You can do even better at Dollar General, where 20-foot strings with 100 lights are just $2.75. At Family Dollar, you get 20-foot strings with 100 multicolored lights for the same $2.75. At Target, a 20-foot string with 100 lights isn’t $2 or $2.75, it’s $16.99 — and that’s on sale, down 13% from $19.49.
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