Dollar stores aren’t often the most fun places to shop. They tend to be designed with chaos top of mind, with tight aisles and cluttered shelves. Half of the stuff on display is busted and some of the things on sale are so random that you wonder exactly who is handling the buying for these discount destinations.
Still, as weird and even overwhelming as these places tend to be, you can find some pretty significant savings in their nooks and crannies.
With inflation reaching a 40-year high and climbing, and supply chain issues and backups ongoing, getting what you want/need for a price you can afford is far from a guarantee. Unless you stop at the dollar store. There, you can pretty much rest assured that you’ll spend less than you would at Target or Walmart. This is especially useful if you’re shopping for stuff that doesn’t have to be “nice” — like summer flip-flops for the beach or paper plates.
Items From the PBS Kids Collection
“With the kids home for the summer, finding ways to entertain that don’t involve a screen may prove challenging. Fortunately, Dollar Tree has a new collection of items from PBS Kids to help you out,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Shop things like puzzles, storybooks, suncatcher kits and more.
“Plus, there are themed bowls and cups to treat your kids, as well — and everything is just $1.25 each, so you can stock up on plenty of activities to keep them entertained on rainy days and more.”
The dollar store always has fun cups.
“Having a pool party? Consider picking up luau-themed drinkware at Dollar Tree for $1.25 each,” Ramhold suggested. “They include designs like pineapple and palm tree cups, as well as plastic goblets with flowers around the stems. There are even summery-themed sippy cups for smaller kids and plastic hurricane glasses for the older crowd as well.”
Charcoal and Lighter Fluid
“If you’re prepping for a big day at the grill, consider picking up charcoal and lighter fluid at Dollar General, especially if you only need a small amount,” Ramhold said. “They have various sizes of both items, but the truth is that unless it’s super convenient, you’ll likely find a better price for these items by shopping elsewhere.”
“Whether you want to make a drink with your favorite tequila or prefer a mocktail, nothing beats the summer vibe of margarita glasses, especially when you can get them for less than $2 each,” Ramhold said. “Perfect for sipping by the pool, these glasses at Dollar Tree are cheap enough that if you break one, there’s no reason to be upset, and since you can buy them individually, you can buy only the amount you need, rather than having to shell out the cash for a whole set elsewhere.”
“Especially if you’re hosting a themed party or a smaller one, Dollar Tree is a great place to start shopping for party supplies,” Ramhold said. “Choose from solid-colored items, or opt for themes like mermaids, dinosaurs, sharks, unicorns, princesses, desserts and more. You’ll be able to find plates and napkins, as well as decorations for many of these themes, so you can get everything you need in one trip.”
Father’s Day and Other Greeting Cards
“If you plan on buying greeting cards for sending out invitations or thank-you letters, buy those at the dollar store as well,” said Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer. “These cards cost anywhere from $1.50 to $7 on average when you purchase them at places like Target or Walmart — and, if you have to buy a large amount of them, that’s a lot of money wasted on something that people will typically just throw away after reading once.
“When you buy these cards at the dollar store, they end up being just on $0.45 to $0.95 average, saving you a ton of money. Plus, the selection is usually just as large, so you have plenty of great options to choose from.”
“One of the best summer essentials to buy at a dollar store is an extra pair of flip-flops for the beach,” said Christen da Costa, CEO of Gadget Review. “Flip-flops are around $1.25 at most dollar stores, but they’ll typically cost at least twice as much at big-box stores. For the price of a pair of flip-flops at Target, you could buy yourself a pair for the beach and a pair for the pool.”
Kids Polarized Sunglasses
“The Dollar Tree brand of kids’ polarized sunglasses provides the same UV protection as the Target brand (which costs more),” said Tai Kennedy, owner of the lifestyle and parenting blog Kennedy’s World. “Plus, it comes in several fun colors perfect for the summer. Stock up on these if you have kids.”
“Sun hats protect you from the scorching summer sun and are a must-have for traveling,” Kennedy said. “If you are looking for a general hat that will shade you from the sun, the Dollar Tree version will save you money.”
“You can buy a 10-pack of paper plates from the dollar store for $1.25,” said Rose Wismans, founder of FudgeMyLife.org. “When comparing it to the Great Value brand, which is $6.82 for a 50-pack, you are saving money with the dollar store version. You might think because the Walmart pack has more in it that you are saving quite a bit of money, but it is in your best interest to instead buy five packs of the ones from the dollar store to keep some money in your pocket.”
“I have three kiddos under the age of 7; and, come summer, boredom sets in quickly,” said Carolyn Truett, founder of Caramel and Cashews. “The dollar store is a great resource for summer crafts. Each craft pack is only $1.25. The same type of crafts are $3 at Walmart and Target.”
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