Dollar stores don’t get nearly enough respect. They have items that, yes, can be chintzy and weird and low-quality at times. But they also have items that are just as good as the ones you’d buy elsewhere and pay through the nose for, and we’re here to bring those items to light. You’re overspending on a lot of specific goods if you don’t buy them at a dollar store. Here they are.
1. Gift wrap. Seriously, you just throw this stuff out. Wrapping paper, bags, and tissue are a must from here, with the exception being if you need something exceedingly specific for some reason (like a licensed character or brand you can only find in a larger shop).
2. Party supplies. Paper plates, napkins, plastic forks and spoons? Why would you pay more for these color-themed things than $1 a pop?
3. Storage supplies. While you may not necessarily be able to get a giant Rubbermaid bin here, the dollar store has a lot of options to get organized, from storage cubes to baskets to vacuum bags to drawer organizers and liners.
4. Cleaning tools. Brooms, dustpans, gloves, sponges, scrub brushes, buckets, spray bottles, dish pans—get these at the dollar store, because they work just as well as name brands (and in fact, some of them are name brands).
5. Hair items. Bobby pins are pretty standard wherever you get them. Get them here. Same goes for basic barrettes, hair donuts, foil wraps for dye, foam rollers, elastics, and mirrors.
6. Office and school supplies. Staples, tape, pens, Post-Its, envelopes, bubble wrap! Teachers, this is a biggie for you especially considering the new tax plan will only let you deduct $250 worth of supplies: Construction paper, classroom decor, notebooks, filler paper, folders, poster board, dry erase markers and boards.
7. Toys. In a pinch and need to keep your bratty nieces and nephews quiet for a few hours? Get coloring books, crayons, puzzles, Play-Doh, card games, board games at the dollar store. They have a lot of licensed characters, too!
8. Bar soap, bath sponges, shower poufs. Seriously, get it here. Brand names, super cheap.
9. Candy. Especially movie theater boxes!
10. Food storage. Containers, plastic and foil wrap, disposable pans—get it all here without the insane markup you’ll find elsewhere.
11. Care package supplies. For when you’re done being selfish, you can build a super-affordable care package for troops with supplies from the dollar store. Here’s what they want, and here’s how to send one. They’ll appreciate it.