What to Buy at the Dollar Store (And What Not to Buy!)

What to Buy at the Dollar Store (And What Not to Buy!)

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I spent some time…actually a lot of time at Dollar Tree and scoped out the “Good” and “Bad” buys. I also asked for YOUR opinions on the Raining Hot Coupons Facebook page and so many of you gave me some great tips on items you love and items you don’t really care for from Dollar Tree. Thank you all for your tips. Below you will learn what to spend your money on at Dollar Tree (this may apply to other dollar stores as well since they all kinda carry the same stuff). Enjoy…Also, I would love to read any other tips you have in the comments!  🙂

I am going to break it down into categories and different sections of the store. 

Household Cleaning:

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Things to Buy:

  • ANY of the L.A.’s Totally Awesome products – I had a TON of readers says that they are like magic. The spot remover works awesome and the oxygen power cleaner works as good as the other expensive brands. I recently purchased the Orange cleaners from them and it really is wonderful and quite awesome.  😉
  • Fabric softener – believe it or not, this stuff smells great, comes in a big bottle for a buck and is perfect for refreshing couches, rugs, and even pets!
  • The Works cleaner – I have not tried this but a lot of readers swear by it. I can’t wait to try it!
  • Palmolive Dish soap – there are often coupons available for these so you will get a great deal.
  • Sun detergent or dishwashing soap – again, these often have coupons so keep an eye out and if a coupon pops up, you will score a nice deal.

cleaning 2 cleaning off brand

Pass on these:

  • Brooms – the handles often break on these
  • Garbage bags – a TON of readers had negative things to say about the garbage bags, the rip and tear easily.


Health & Beauty:



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Things to buy:

  • Pregnancy Tests – these work really well and have always worked for me as well as all the readers who also recommended them! 
  • 3 pack loofah sponges (these are perfect for kid’s baths)
  • Hair bows, ties, bobby pins, headbands
  • Shaving Cream – this stuff really does work and smells pretty good! I love it for just $1!
  • Close-Up mouthwash – this is the only brand I would recommend (the others are not so great)
  • Triple Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Scotties tissue – these will often have coupons so you will get great deals
  • Cotton pads
  • Name Brand make-up – I have spotted Elf and Maybelline and once again Maybelline always has coupons!

Pass on these:

  • Q-tips (this isn’t the brand but pass on them) they bend and are not strong and the cotton on the end is very fuzzy
  • Off Brand Lotions
  • Perfume and Cologne


Birthday Items:


birthday 3

Things to buy:

  • Wrapping paper – I am shocked at how much wrapping paper has gone up in price so the $1 store paper is a great deal and you can get a few different designs!
  • Gift Bags
  • Cards
  • Candles
  • Streamers (these come with 2 so they are only $0.50 each!)
  • Cups
  • Birthday decor (party hats, balloons, invitations, favor bags, etc)
  • Mylar balloons
  • Tissue paper

Pass on these:

  • Plastic utensils (they break easily although I do recommend the table liners which is in the same section)

Food and Candy:




Things to buy:

  • Movie candy – stop by on the way to the movies and pick up the boxes of candy for just $1! You may be able to find these at Walmart for $0.97 but if you’re closer to a Dollar Store then you may want to stop there instead!
  • Candy for Pinatas and Party favor bags – they have several bags of candy that have individually wrapped pieces so this is perfect for Birthday parties! For example, ring pops, suckers, avengers candy pieces and more.
  • Popsicles – These have $1/1 coupons which makes them FREE!!
  • Soda Pop – I love these, they are off brand but they are huge and perfect for Birthday parties. In my opinion they taste like Shasta.
  • Popsicle Molds – a pack of 6 for just $1 – that’s awesome!
  • Hormel Pepperoni – Once again, there are often coupon for $0.50 to $1 off which makes them only $0.50 or FREE!
  • Drink mixes – these are fabulous, just add 1 to a water bottle and it flavors your drink…they even have sugar free.
  • Seasonings – can’t go wrong for $1!

Pass on these:

  • Check expiration dates on all the food items…sometimes they tend to have things that go past that date.  😐

Kitchen and Bath:


Things to buy:

  • Tupperware
  • Tubs and Bins for organizing
  • Glass Vases
  • Foil baking tins (perfect for Thanksgiving and way cheaper than other stores)
  • 3 pack kid’s toothbrushes – there are often coupons that make the kid’s toothbrushes free and sometimes the come with travel cases and covers
  • Bathroom Decor – for just $1, that’s a steal!
  • Shower curtain – I have heard of people painting these and coloring them for the kiddos bathroom!
  • Shower curtain hanging rings (not sure what they are called exactly but they hold up the curtain and are normally very pricey)
  • Kid’s bubble bath – this stuff works great and lasts a long time!
  • Hefty plastic bags – normally coupons for them which makes them a great deal
  • Napkins – they come with a ton and work great
  • Tupperware – can’t go wrong with these packs
  • Mason Jars – you can do recipes in these, cookies jars, gifts, crafts and more!
  • Plates, Cups, Mugs, bowls – this is great if you need to just get a few or want some variation in colors
  • Kitchen Towels and Mits – look how cute these are in the picture above..I love the green and purple and for just $1!

Pass on these:

  • Pie Tins (these are not good for baking because they tend to rust) ALTHOUGH, they are good for kids crafts and play.
  • Candles – they don’t smell that good and even if they do in the store, the scent doesn’t last once lit in my opinion
  • Coffee Mugs – I have heard from several readers that these leak and the lids don’t stay on
  • Toilet Paper – this is usually very thing and doesn’t work all that well.  😳


Art and Supplies:


Things to buy:

  • Large Activity Coloring books – these are very big and the kids will have a blast with them (some even have stickers)
  • Teacher corner – there are great tools here for not only teachers but homeschoolers, preschoolers or just if you want to teach some fun stuff to your kids. They also have sticker books which would be great for chores!  😉
  • Sewing kits with bags – $1…enough said!
  • Pom poms, felt, foam board, craft supplies
  • Safety pins – I hear these run out often so if you see them, snatch them up!
  • Vinyl Decals for decorating and for kid’s rooms – these are SUPER cute and can totally change the look of room or bathroom for just $1…I say yes!
  • Poster board

Pass on these:

  •  Glue sticks – they tend to be dried out or dry out fast after opened
  • Frames – these usually break when you are trying to even just put the photo in… see what I mean?
  • Garage sale signs – I say no because you can easily look across the aisle and find the BRIGHT colored poster board priced at $0.69 then cut them in half and you’ve got 2 signs so just about $0.35 each instead of $1.
  • Crayons – they don’t work… weird huh? No really, the color is super dull.
  • Playdough – this stuff is usually dried out….if you find one that’s not, you’re lucky!
  • School supplies – you can usually always get better deals from places like Staples, Office Max etc as long as you buy at the right time…starting in about July and August they offer $0.01 deals, freebies and more. Just watch Raining Hot Coupons and I post them all Summer long.



Things to buy:

  • 3 pack socks that makes each pair about $0.33 each!
  • Disposal bags for when walking pets – you get a ton for super cheap
  • Big bottle of Bubbles – lots of Summer fun with these!
  • Flip Flops – now I can’t say these are going to last but I’ve found that most $1 flip flops anywhere you get them don’t last long. They are great for public pools, the beach, etc so you don’t have to worry about someone taking them.
  • Puzzles – great for the kids or even party favors or Birthday party game gifts
  • Pack of Littles Toys – I LOVE to use the packs of insects, glowing stars, dinosaurs, erasers, etc for Pinatas! They work out perfect because you get quite a few for just $1.

Pass on these:

  • Toy Cars – these tend to be very cheap and break (the plastic is flimsy)
  • Outdoor lights – this may seem like a great deal but they don’t last long at all
  • Lighters – don’t really work long
  • Goggles – the water seeps through  😐
  • Batteries – don’t last
  • Anything electronic – according to many readers opinions and my own, anything electronic never last long.

Hope that helps….do you have anything to add to the list?! I would love to hear….

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