Thrifty Shoppers Shared The Best Dollar Tree Bargains – And The Items You Should Always Avoid

The name says it all. Yes, at the Dollar Tree, you can score a cart-full of items for just one dollar each. Although there’s no “catch,” regular shoppers have found that while some items are a great deal, others prove that you get what you pay for. Keep these 40 items in mind next time you visit so that you, too, know what to buy… And what to leave behind.

BUY: Artificial flowers and accessories

Whether you’ve got a wedding to plan or a house to decorate, you need some flowers in your life. Unfortunately, both real and faux flowers can really break your budget – and that’s where the Dollar Tree comes in. They typically have a colorful selection of everlasting blooms, as well as vases and ribbons for arranging.

AVOID: Tools

It’s not uncommon to see an old toolkit laying around – high-quality equipment is built to last, and it does. Dollar Tree tools, on the other hand, don’t hold their weight next to hardware-store buys. Previous purchasers have said that they last for only a handful of uses before they need to be replaced, so you might as well invest from the start.

BUY: Pregnancy tests

Yes, it seems an odd item to buy from the Dollar Tree. Not least because a pregnancy test is something you definitely need to work properly. But Lydia, the blogger who runs Thrifty Frugal Mom, stands by the veracity of their kits. “We used these pregnancy tests to find out if we were pregnant with four of our five children and they were totally accurate,” she wrote.

AVOID: Plastic products

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Although you can get cost-effective plastic cups and containers at the Dollar Tree, don’t be too quick to throw them in your cart. Sometimes, plastic products contain chemicals that can seep into your food and drinks. And buying cheaper options means they’re likely of lower quality. In other words, you don’t want to risk putting your food and drinks in them.

BUY: Gift wrap

It seems strange to pay a high price for wrapping paper that someone will just rip off to reveal their present underneath. So, head to the Dollar Tree, where you can find gorgeous gift wrap for a dollar. They also sell all the accessories you need to make gifts look perfect, including bows and bags.

AVOID: Chips

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Even if chips are cost more at the grocery store, you get extra snacks for your money if you buy them there. That’s because regular snack bags often weigh more than those for sale at Dollar Tree. So, even if the discounted bags cost less, you actually get more per dollar if you pay full price.

BUY: Kitchen utensils

A seasoned chef might not be able to work with Dollar Tree utensils. However, if you find yourself regularly ruining or misplacing your kitchen gear, then you should definitely peruse the selection that the discount store has. Sometimes, they even have high-quality brands available, such as Rubbermaid.

AVOID: Paper products

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Toilet paper or napkins for a dollar sounds like a great deal… Until you realize how few units you get in a Dollar Tree pack. In most cases, you can buy the same product at the grocery store for a higher price, but get more per dollar. If you’re searching for paper party supplies, though, you can find plenty of great, cheap options at the Dollar Tree.

BUY: Cleaning supplies

If you think about it, there’s really no point in buying a really nice set of rags or sponges if all you’ll do is clean with them. That’s where the Dollar Tree comes in. They have all of the above, plus brooms, buckets and even bleach. That’s everything you need for some serious cleaning.

AVOID: Cleaning solutions

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While rags and sponges definitely count as a bargain, other products don’t. Indeed, the actual cleaning solutions you’ll use to cleanse your home do not come at a good price. Again, the amount you pay per unit ends up being higher if you buy from the Dollar Tree than if you went to a big-box or grocery store.

BUY: Greetings cards

Whether you want to tell someone “Happy Birthday,” “Get Well Soon” or “Congratulations on Graduating,” the Dollar Tree has a card for you to send in commemoration. Better yet, you can pick up two cards for the price of one. And, at the Dollar Tree, that means the pair costs just one dollar.

AVOID: Gum

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Gum is inexpensive as it is, so grab a coupon and buy a few packs at the grocery store if you’re in need of the chewy stuff. Don’t buy it at the Dollar Tree, though, because their packs contain less pieces per container. Again, the per-unit price makes it more expensive than the packs you buy elsewhere.

BUY: Body wash

You can’t go wrong with body wash for a dollar. Particularly when you consider the variety of scents and ingredients that Dollar Tree’s selection has. For example, you can just as easily find a rugged men’s body wash as you can a sweet-smelling shea butter soap, all for an unbeatable price.

AVOID: Children’s toys

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Let’s face it: most children’s toys will end up in their mouths at least once. This is precisely why you should avoid playthings from the Dollar Tree. That’s mostly because flimsy pieces can be easy to swallow. Moreover, the low-quality plastic can contain additives that might be unsafe if your child chews on it.

BUY: Reading glasses and sunglasses

If you need reading glasses, you know how annoying it can be to have just one pair – it never seems to be with you when you need it. The same goes for sunglasses, which end up in the wrong car or purse when it’s actually sunny. So, head to the Dollar Tree and pick up multiple pairs to place around the house or into different vehicles. That way, you’re always prepared.

AVOID: Batteries

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Batteries come at a pretty big price, so a Dollar Tree set might entice you. However, the packs you find at the discount store won’t have the same lifespan as the ones you buy at a regular price. Where batteries are concerned, you get what you pay for, so spend a bit more for longer-lasting power.

BUY: Holiday decor and supplies

Just as the Dollar Tree makes it affordable for you to wrap presents and send greeting cards, you can also pick up all the decor you need to celebrate holidays year-round, too. They’re especially good at Halloween decorations, but you can also find Christmas options and Easter basket-stuffers.

AVOID: School supplies

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One dollar for pencils, pens, notebooks, paper… It appears to be a great price. However, the Dollar Tree can’t compare to the back-to-school sales you find at big-box stores, such as Staples and Target. At that time of year, you’ll nab your child’s supplies at a low price. Not only that, but you’ll also get more per pack than you’d get at the Dollar Tree.

BUY: Toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss

How often do you lose your toothbrush? If the answer errs on the side of frequently, then you should definitely start buying yours from the Dollar Tree. There, you’ll often be able to find name-brand dental care supplies. And that includes a variety of toothpastes and even flossing picks, too.

AVOID: Soda

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Nowadays, you can get a two-liter bottle of brand-name soda at the grocery store for a steal any day of the week. Even without a coupon, your favorite drink is unlikely to cost the Earth. So, opt to buy your sodas there instead of downgrading to Dollar Tree stock, which includes lesser-known brands.

BUY: Party supplies

Next time you throw a party, plug the nearest Dollar Tree’s address into your GPS. There, you’ll find everything you need for your soiree at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a traditional party store. This includes plastic and paperware, celebratory hats, streamers and even helium balloons for – you guessed it – one dollar.

AVOID: Pet food

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As much as we love our pets, raising them can be expensive, to say the least. Food from the Dollar Tree, then, seems like a good way to defray the costs. But once again, the unit price makes it clear that the dollar price tag isn’t that great. You’re going to get a better deal from the Costcos and Targets of the world.

BUY: Hair Accessories

How often do you drop a bobby pin and fail to pick it up? How many hairbands do you snap each year? You shouldn’t invest in these items, nor should you spend big bucks on clips or bows for kids who will lose them, too. Hit up the Dollar Tree instead for all of your hair-accessory needs.

AVOID: Hair care Products

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Unlike hair accessories, you should avoid shampoo, conditioner and other hair care products at the Dollar Tree. These items may appear to be the same as the ones you buy in other stores, but they tend to have different formulas that could adversely affect your hair. Stick with what works safely on your scalp.

BUY: Reusable grocery bags

Note how we advise you to buy multiples. Why? Because reusable grocery bags never seem to be in the trunk when you actually need them. So, stock up the next time you go to the Dollar Tree so that you have enough for all of your vehicles, whenever you head to the store.

AVOID: Medicine

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The Dollar Tree has plenty of name-brand medications on sale for only a dollar. However, they get you with the amount of pills per packet. In some cases, you might only get five pills for your 100 pennies. You’re much better served by generic meds purchased in bulk – sometimes you can get hundreds or thousands of pills for less than ten bucks.

BUY: Drinking glasses

You can find drinking glasses at the Dollar Tree that compare in quality to the ones you’d buy other at big retailers. But there’s another benefit to buying them for a dollar apiece. Rather than purchasing a pack of four, eight or 12 cups at once, you can pick up just enough to fill your cabinet, making them more cost-effective.

AVOID: Potholders

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When you reach your hand into a hot oven and grab something inside, you want your appendage to be well-protected. So, don’t rely on a discount potholder to do the trick. Skip the Dollar Tree version in favor of a high-quality, well-insulated option from a respected brand.

BUY: Coffee filters

You use a coffee filter once a day – at least – so you should definitely try to buy them at the best possible price. At the Dollar Tree, you can pick up a whole stack of them for a dollar. Which means you can always have that much-needed caffiene-boost. And you can keep your office and home stocked without breaking the bank.

AVOID: Hair Dye

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When you buy hair dye, you want the end result to look just as it appears on the box. You can always expect a very close match when you buy an at-home dye kit from a quality brand – and follow the instructions as presented, of course. However, some of the options at the Dollar Tree will underperform. And they may leave your hair a completely different shade than you intended, so skip them.

BUY: First-aid basics

If you need to build first-aid kits for your home, car or work, stock up at a Dollar Tree. You can find all you’d need for a minor scrape or bump – band-aids, waterproof tape, gauze and peroxide, for instance. For more involved supplies, though, you might have to shop elsewhere.

AVOID: Steak

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Shockingly, you can buy steak in the Dollar Tree’s frozen-food section. The cheap price tag comes at a cost, though, as up to 30 percent of the product’s weight can come from liquid. In addition, the meat itself is often a very small slice. And those who have tasted the discounted meat have reported that the texture isn’t great, either.

BUY: Shelf organizers

You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to get your cabinets and shelves outfitted with organizers. Instead, head to your nearest Dollar Tree, where you can buy baskets, dividers and other containers. Install them yourself for a much more cost-effective upgrade to your storage spaces.

AVOID: Windshield-washer fluid

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At the Dollar Tree, windshield-washer solution is cheap and you get a lot for your money. However, their store-branded washer fluid doesn’t work in the winter, when those faced with snow and ice actually need it. Spend a little more for a formula that won’t freeze when the weather does.

BUY: Puzzles

The puzzles you buy from the Dollar Tree won’t be as high in quality as those you buy elsewhere. However, they do the trick – you can find easy ones for little kids and tougher options for grown-ups. Plus, you won’t be mad if and when you realize you’ve lost a piece, since you only paid a dollar for the jigsaw anyway.

AVOID: Canned food

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You can always buy cheap canned food at the Dollar Tree… But, when it comes down to it, you can buy cheap canned food at just about any grocery store. In fact, when you find great coupons or discounts, the grocery-store cans often sell for much less than the dollar ones.

BUY: Lint rollers

We can all use a lint roller from time to time, although the little tool never seems to be around when we actually need it. Dollar Tree’s lint rollers could be the solution to your problem. They’re even cheap enough that you can buy one for your bedside table, your office and your car. No more fuzzy clothes!

AVOID: Flip-flops

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If dollar shoes seem to good to be true, then they probably are. In the case of Dollar Tree flip-flops, The Frugal Convert’s blogger, Gina, described how they damaged her feet “with sores and blisters.” She suggested that interested buyers spend a few more dollars for still-cheap, higher-quality sandals from Old Navy.

BUY: Coloring books

Whether your kids love to color or you see it as a therapeutic activity for yourself, head to the Dollar Tree to stock up on the books you need. You’ll find that the discount store has plenty of design options for both children and adults. And as always, they come at a very respectable price.

AVOID: Candles

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Finally, don’t let the Dollar Tree’s candles draw you in. When you first pick them up, they seem to waft a great scent. However, once you take them home and light them, they don’t give off nearly as much fragrance. Spend a few dollars more for something more perfumed and enjoy!

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