Dollar stores may seem like a great deal, but when you dig a little deeper you will find that they might be wasting your money instead of saving it. If you are a huge dollar store fan, take a look below at 7 reasons you should never shop at dollar stores. While dollar stores are great for some things, they aren’t great for all. Here is what you need to know.
7 Reasons You Should Never Shop at Dollar Stores
1. Sizes are smaller.
Sure the item only costs you a buck, but the sizes are much smaller. For a few pennies more you could buy a full size item at your local grocer or retail store instead. Always consider the size of the item when buying.
You can download our Stockpiling Price List here, this has our Buy Prices on over 200 items and the Unit Price, when shopping at Dollar Stores the total price is sometimes lower, but the per unit price is higher because box sizes are often smaller.
2. You impulse purchase.
While shopping, chances are you see so many other things you “need.” Because the item is only a buck you toss it in the cart without thinking. Before you know it you have spent $25 on stuff you didn’t intent on buying.
3. Quality isn’t always up to par.
Some of the items are not up to par when it comes to quality. Many of the kitchen items and tools are not made well and will break after a few uses. You would be better off spending a few dollars more and getting a well made item.
4. You don’t have many healthy food options.
You may notice that dollar store don’t offer many healthy options. You have a lot of sugar and salt choices when it comes to food, when shopping at stores with Fresh Produce you will find healthier options to choose from.
5. Avoid the knick knacks.
You may notice that dollar stores sell a great deal of knick knacks. If you are trying to simplify this can be an issue. Avoid the dollar store and avoid the knick knack trap.
6. A buck isn’t always a good deal.
Often times you can find dollar store items for less elsewhere. For example, toothbrushes are often less than a dollar at most retail stores. You can also find soda, mac and cheese, and most canned goods for less than $1 at most grocery stores.
Walmart has an entire section of Pharmacy Items priced at just $0.88 which is less than shopping at the Dollar Sores!
7. Lack of name brands.
If you are true to certain name brand products, you won’t find them at the local dollar store. Sure they carry some name brands, but the rest are small and lesser known companies.
If you are going to shop the Name Brand Items make sure you check out our Dollar Tree Deals we update this list every week with coupons for name brand items at The Dollar Tree.
As you can see, shopping at the dollar store doesn’t always promise you the best deal. You may find occasional deals and now that stores like The Dollar Tree allow you to use Manufacturer Coupons (See the Dollar Tree Coupon Policy Here) you can get better deals but it’s important to know what you are looking for and avoid these traps. Just keep these tips in mind the next time you are tempted to go to the dollar store and spend your hard earned money.
Make sure you check out our Saving Money Blog and also our How to Coupon Page for more tips, tricks and videos on saving money and using coupons.
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Original Photos used under Creative Commons License, Credit to Mike Mozart,
I have had the smaller size issue. I went the other day to get some werthers candy to take on a trip and they had multiple sizes, one was 3.5 Oz and one was 5.2 oz. Glad I looked before I bought them!
Sizes are smaller – in some things. Not everything. But being the Dollar Store, I think we know this. I buy at the Dollar Store and 99 Cent Store because it’s for my guest bathroom, or goodie bags, or my college kid’s goodie boxes I send.
You impulse purchase – you do that anywhere. Literally – the gas station, Walgreens, the grocery store, Michaels….there are impulse buys anywhere.
Below Par Quality – I think this is a given. It’s the dollar store. But when I can get parchment paper that does the same thing and pay about 300% less than the grocery – I’m going to get it. Or tupper wear. Or coffee cups. Glass plates. Baking pans to throw away after one use.
Healthy Options – Who goes to the dollar store for healthy options?
Avoid knick knacks – I happen to like knick knacks. They make great stocking stuffers and holiday gift baskets and when the neighbor kid comes over for me to baby sit, it’s awesome to send her home with cute little things I get and keep in the cupboard.
A buck isn’t always a good deal – True. Name brand isn’t always a good deal either.
Name Brands – Who cares?
As someone who sticks to a VERY strict budget and also LOVES to entertain and has two children, has a blog, loves to cook and blog about it – Dollar Tree is a lifesaver. Holiday decorations are an awesome thing to get there, Xmas tree decorations make it affordable for me to have a themed tree every year.
Why have an article on your site about free shipping on Dollar Tree and talk up the store, to only talk it down in this one?
Thumbs Down on this.
I think these are great things to AVOID at the dollar store, but I LOVE the dollar store! There are definitely many things that you can find for a good price there. I actually have two whole posts on how you can create boredom busters for kids there for a good price! Good reminders of what NOT to buy. :)
I don’t know where you are buying toothbrushes for a dollar unless they are the ones for babies. Also mac and cheese goes on sale for more than a dollar. Dollar stores do have some good deals but obviously is not for all items or all shopping.
I only shop at Dollar Tree – NEVER at Dollar General or Family Dollar, they are definitely rip offs. And, everything is not a dollar except at Dollar Tree.
Never buy food, or cosmetics, but a great place for gift bags and odds and ends for kids birthday parties, etc. You have to be careful, but there are some good values there. Ours has grab bags for $1 which have been wonderful diversions for bored kiddies on car rides, etc. Just junk, but keeps them occupied for awhile.
The impulse thing is a problem, DIL and I pick up everything and then discard most of it before we check out, LOL.
As with every store you shop in you have to be an educated consumer…BE choosey.
You forgot to mention the high lead content found in many of the items at the dollar store, particularly children’s items like toys and play jewelry.
Totally off the mark. Reasons are incorrect. Also so many good reasons to shop there especially if you are on a budget.
I 100% agree with comment above..I am a poor 20 something year old and I have been SMARTLY shopping dollar stores for years, and let me tell you, the kitchen utensils that I paid $1 have lasted me for years, the glass food containers with lids have held up and are still BPA free, and non chipped, and the pens and pencils, notebooks, folders and other school supplies I purchased saved me major $$. Also they DO have full sized bath and body products, many name brand. Maybe try a different location?
I agree with every point in the article!
Sorry – I do not agree at all. This teacher survives because of their school supplies. When you have to buy supplies for all of your students you have to shop cheap. I also love their gift bags!
I buy my bread there for $1 when it’s over $2 at the grocery store. Say what you will about Dollar Tree, I think you can get some great deals there. I haven’t noticed that the toothpaste is any smaller than what is sold at the pharmacy. However, I don’t buy just regular toothpaste. I need sensitive formula and prefer tooth whitening.
I wouldn’t totally dismiss Dollar Tree. You can get good deals there, as with any other store, you do have to watch to make sure it’s a deal.
I agree with all of these! However, I do go for one thing. Awesome. It is the best cleaner and I have never found it elsewhere. But I know where that is and I grab it and leave. :)
This list, for the most part, should be ignored.
I work for a dollar store and if it wasn’t for dollar stores people with low income could not shop and get the deals they do to survive
I totally disagree on every point :( Here’s why: http://bit.ly/1wHQmpu
Linda.. Where do you live? It seems your $.99 store is much better than that dollar store we have here. I shop there sometimes but only for specific things that I know I will spend more elsewhere but I have never seen fresh produce ever. The pics you posted are a lot of things I look for and would love to find at the dollar store but the quality and brands just aren’t what I’m looking for. I would love to visit your $.99 store. It seems to have much better deals. Lol.
99 Cent Only are mainly in California and Nevada. The prices went up for certain fruits & vegetables but it still helps out.
#1 and #7 are not always true. I have seen name brands at dollar tree as well as full size packages of things.
I have noticed that dishwashing liquid such a Dawn, Palmolive, etc is not the same as the soap that you buy at the big supermarkets. The ones that you buy at Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Big Lots are watered down. They may only cost a 1.00 but they are not a bargain.