These 12 Items Are More Expensive at the Dollar Store

Dollar Tree store
Trong Nguyen /

Items from dollar stores like Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar seem like they would be the cheapest option because of the name of the store, but that’s not always the case.

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First of all, the “dollar” part of the name is usually just that: a name. Dollar Tree prices items at $1.25+, with the Dollar Tree Plus stores selling items for as high as $5.00 each. Family Dollar prices operate more like a traditional grocery store, with some items even going for over $20.

Even at 99 Cents Only Stores, there are products selling for more than $1.00. With these price increases, some items are actually more expensive at these dollar stores than they are at stores like Target and Walmart. Check out these items that you’re better off going to a big name retailer for rather than a dollar store.


If you think powering up at a dollar store is a smart idea, think again. All items must be bought in bulk if they’re bought on the Dollar Tree website. Keeping that in mind, Dollar Tree had 72 AA Panasonic batteries going for $90.00. Meanwhile, Target is selling 48 up & up branded batteries (the store’s brand) for a total of $13.99. For 2 packs (96 batteries), you’d only be paying $27.98. You’d be better off stocking up at Target than Dollar Tree.


Next time you have a headache, skip the dollar stores. A bottle of 40 low dose aspirin tabs from Valuhealth (the Dollar Tree brand) costs $1.25. However, you can get 100 extra strength acetaminophen aspirin pills from Target for $2.19 when you purchase the up & up brand. You get more strength and more medicine for your buck. 

Make Your Money Work for You


You won’t be saving any money on tampons at Dollar Tree. Buying 18 Tampax Pocket Radiant tampons costs $7.50 at Dollar Tree, while a pack of 28 of the exact same brand and type at Target costs $7.99.


The problem with dollar stores is that they typically don’t sell items in packs. For instance, a box of four Alka-Seltzer tablets is $1.25, but there’s not an option to buy a bigger pack. So, for 24 packs, or 96 tablets, you’d spend $30. However at Target, you can pick up three packs of 36 Alka-Seltzer tablets (108 total) for $14.97.

Pet Food

If your cat loves Purina Kit & Kaboodle Dry Cat Food, stick to Target next time you restock. At Dollar Tree, nine pounds of this cat food costs $15.00. You can pick up a 16 pound bag of the same type and brand of food at Target for $11.99. For canines, 12 pounds of Purina Beneful Healthy Weight Chicken Flavored Dog Food costs $40.00 at Dollar Tree, while Target offers 14 pounds of the same food for $16.49.

Name Brand Cereal

Craving Lucky Charms? It’ll cost you more to purchase at Dollar Tree. A 3.1 oz bag of Lucky Charms is $1.25, so if you need a quick fix, you’re in luck. However, if you wanted to make sure you had some around for awhile, consider going to Walmart where a 29.1 oz box is $5.98. A pack of six bags of Lucky Charms from Dollar Tree will cost you $7.50 and you won’t be getting as much. For Cinnamon Toast Crunch, you can get a little more cereal–3.5 oz as compared to 3.1 oz–for $1.25 at Dollar Tree. However, Walmart still has the better deal when it comes to stocking up, since they also offer the 29.1 oz box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for $5.98.

Make Your Money Work for You


You can snag one tube of Colgate Cavity Protection for $1.25 at Dollar Tree. However, a pack of three of the same toothpaste will cost you $4.97 at Walmart, and the tubes contain six ounces of toothpaste each, whereas the ones at Dollar Tree only offer five ounces each. 

Face Masks

Making sure you always have a face mask on hand can get expensive. It might be tempting to pick up two face masks for $0.50 at Dollar Tree, but the truth is, you’re better off going to Walmart. You can pick up 100 disposable 3-ply masks for $10.99. The same masks at Dollar Tree will cost you $25.00 for 100.


If you’re headed to the beach or a pool party, snagging Banana Boat SPF 30 at the Dollar Tree seems like a good deal. The truth is, you’re better off buying sunscreen elsewhere. At Walmart, the same sunscreen costs $1.16.

Colored Pencils

Shopping for school supplies at dollar stores might seem like an affordable shortcut so you don’t spend hundreds every time school starts. The problem is, you’re usually getting less in quantity for the price you’re paying. At Dollar Tree, a pack of 10 colored pencils costs $1.25. At Walmart, a pack of 12 only costs $0.97. 

Travel-Sized Items

Going on a trip? If you stop by Dollar Tree to stock up, you’ll probably spend more than if you went to Walmart. For example, the .5 oz size of Old Spice Swagger costs $0.97 at Walmart, and $1.25 at Dollar Tree. Similarly, you can get 1 oz. of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing lotion at Walmart for $0.97 and at Dollar Tree for $1.25.

Make Your Money Work for You

Macaroni & Cheese

Getting that classic Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is best done outside of dollar stores. At Dollar Tree, a 7.25 oz. box will cost you $1.25, while the same box will only cost you $1.00 at Walmart.

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