10 of The Worst Things to Buy at The Dollar Store

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Are you a Dollar Tree Shopper? Over the years I have purchased many items from the Dollar Store that are just not worth the money.  Please don’t waste your money. See my list of 10 Dollar Tree Deals to Avoid. 

10 of The Worst Things to Buy at The Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase.

When you’re on a budget and grocery shopping is one way to help cut costs many choose to shop at their local dollar store. But deals may be deceiving. If you find yourself filling your basket with dollar-store buys that you never use because the quality is poor or the brand is unfamiliar, then you’re simply wasting money.

Sure a dollar is a dollar, but when you have 5 extra things in your cart you are unsure about, that money can add up quickly. First, your local Dollar store is fantastic for finding deals.

There are great finds that pop up every day in various departments, including brand-name goods, home décor, and even food! My favorite is shopping for seasonal favorites. You can spruce up your home for every season of the year without breaking the bank! 

However, there are some Dollar Store deals you should avoid.  It can also be a huge money pit if you let it be. If you were honest, you would admit that you have walked in just to pick up a few items with all intentions of spending a few bucks.

After checking out (facepalm to forehead) you just overspent. 

It is VERY easy to do.

We have all been subjected to impulse buying, especially on what seem like great Dollar Tree deals. Don’t beat yourself up too much if it happens. To keep it from happening, you need to learn which items to skip and which to buy

First, as a Dollar Tree shopper, make sure you are a part of their Value seekers Club.

Avoid Buying These Items from The Dollar Tree

Before shopping, it is important to note that looks can be deceiving! Compare sizes and prices to what you’d normally pay at your local grocery store after coupons. To keep the cost down, you will find smaller packaged items at your store.

You may be surprised that some of these items are really not good deals at all. A dollar might be pocket change to some, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. Saving money is a big deal, learn more about how to save more with these money saving smart phone apps.

These discount retailers stock plenty of bargains, but not all of the merchandise is worth the buck, especially since Dollar Tree’s price increase.

Canned Vegetables

BIG SKIP… Think about it. You will be paying a dollar per can. When in fact you can go to the grocery store and pay as little as fifty cents per can or less with a sale.

Even regular grocery prices still tend to be less than Dollar Store deals on some items. It is very tempting to stock up on can good items. But a word of wisdom, check your local grocery market first and keep in mind the best buy date.

Beauty Products

The general rule is if you are going to ingest it or put it on your skin, be extra cautious. Off-brand products may contain harsher ingredients or be watered down (such as shampoo and conditioner) to keep costs low.

If you have sensitive skin, avoid the Dollar Store beauty section. You will get what you pay for. You will not find quality skincare products. I also wonder how long these products have been sitting on the shelves.

I can’t imagine makeup being a higher-selling item at this type of store. There is a slight exception to this rule; nail polish. If I see a brand name (and only brand name) polish at the Dollar Store for just a buck. I will pick them up.

I have spotted Revlon and Maybelline nail polish.

Mac and Cheese

While Dollar Tree obviously offers bargain-basement prices, Mac & Cheese is often cheaper when they’re on sale or sold at the grocery store.

In fact, you can purchase organic mac & cheese for a dollar or less. Don’t forget to use that coupon! A dollar is a dollar – until it’s $1.25. 

Plastic Wrap & Aluminum Foil

While it might seem like an awesome deal to grab a dollar for a box? In reality, you’re getting a much thinner piece of foil and a non-cling “cling” plastic wrap. The problem is that the foil is not only cheaper, but it is thinner.

I can promise you that you will end up using much more than you normally would. When you use more, you buy more…and the cycle of wasting money starts. You’re better off buying this at a supermarket unless you can find brand-name plastic wrap or aluminum foil at dollar stores.

Power Cords

While shopping at the Dollar Store, you will notice tons of different kinds of power cords. Such as cell phone chargers, power strips to extension cords. After much research, and purchasing a few myself, you will find that they are of low quality and are sometimes dangerous.

Don’t risk a bad experience and avoid buying any type of power cord.

Dog or Cat Food

While dog and cat treats can be a good deal at Dollar Tree (versus a non-deal price at another store), steer clear of the actual pet food. Why?

It may be cheap, but unfortunately, it is mostly made of filler content and isn’t nutritionally good for your pets. Experts warn about the lack of quality standards when it comes to non-name brand dollar store pet food.

You may want to stick to pet stores and other retailers for larger quantity purchases and brands with stricter ingredient guidelines. Water bowls and pet toys are fine to purchase. Just avoid items that could be consumed.

cleaning products

Brand Name Cleaning Products

It may be tempting to buy frequently used cleaning products at dollar stores, but you may be wasting money on a weak product. Over time, cleaning products do lose their efficacy (or effectiveness) and if they have been shitting on the shelves for a long period of time, you better believe they will lose their cleaning powers.

Second thoughts – Scooping up brand-name cleaning products may seem like a steal of a deal, but they really are not. You see, they may seem like a deal, but more often than not, these cleaning products are packaged in smaller quantities than you’re used to seeing on the shelves of big-box stores.

This means that you’ll end up paying more per ounce.


The batteries you will find at your local dollar store are deceiving. You see, the life of that battery is short. And in short, you will have to buy more in order to keep your battery-operated items going strong.

Just avoid, purchasing these and go for the brand-name batteries at your local hardware or grocery store. The high cost is worth it when quality and life are expected. I did notice all the Dollar Store brand batteries (also labeled as Panasonic) contained a warning label that stated: “Use for low-drain devices,” such as remotes and clock radios.

I don’t know about you, but if I lose power and have to rely on my battery to work my alarm, I just don’t trust it.

Paper Products

You see, a roll of toilet paper or paper towels for just a buck and you think, “SCORE!” While it may be tempting to pick up a few rolls the quality and quantity are not worth the dollar you are spending.

Usually, the rolls are much smaller than normal, and the experts point out that the quality is about as low as it can be. This also goes for paper towels as well. Most likely you are purchasing cheaper quality. And who wants a paper towel that doesn’t soak up a spill?


Finally, don’t pick up your shaving gear at Dollar Tree. Aside from the fact, that they only sell those horrid two-blade razors, you can pick up the cheaper version at Walmart. For more expensive razors, shop at your local drug stores when there are coupons and a deal to go with them.

While there are a lot of other items that you should not buy at Dollar Tree, there are plenty that you should.

Do your price research, pay close attention to the price per ounce, and watch your spending. Once you get into the habit of it, you will soon be using Dollar Tree for what it should be used for.

The occasional deal on a great product. Shop your local Dollar Tree deals wisely to save more money in your budget instead of spending needlessly. *At Dollar Tree, you can use manufacturer’s coupons to increase your savings!

Plus, they accept coupons for over a dollar on multiple items as long as the coupon amount does not exceed the combined retail price of the items indicated. Be sure to print the store’s coupon policy and bring it with you while shopping.

Other Great Savings Tips:

10 Grocery Items You Never Knew You Could Freeze

How To Save Money On Coffee

6 Clever Ways to Eat Healthy on a Tight Budget

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  1. The batteries they are very cheap and last shorter time although buying them at better stores can be expensive it’s better to do that

  2. You might want to add bleach to your list. We have found at some dollar stores the bleach is really diluted to a very weak bleach to water ratio. We stick to Walmart for that also.

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