You know. The store where everything is a dollar… or less. You can buy a lot of stuff you need there, but it is not always the best deal in quality or even quantity. Yes it’s fun for your kids to use their pocket money on candy or an interesting toy that is pretty much dead within five minutes of use. There is a lot of junk there not really worth a dollar. But here are the things I think are totally worth that buck.
1. Gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, crepe paper, foil/mylar helium balloons, and party favors. You will pay at least double (but easily triple and beyond) for this stuff anywhere else. One time we wanted to get a balloon for our son’s birthday but we were out late and the only place open was Kroger. We picked one nice helium-filled mylar balloon and imagine our shock when it rang up for $14.99. WHAAAAAA?
2. A 20 oz. bottle of Coke (or Coke products) to go from the cooler. You will pay at least $1.59 for this anywhere else.
3. AIM Toothbrushes. These are my favorite toothbrush for quality and cleaning—better than the more expensive $3 and $4 ones you can get anywhere else.
4. “Generic” Magic Erasers. A two-pack. Once, my Dollar Tree was out of these, so I bought the “Mr.Clean” brand for more than three times the price, and they did not even clean as well!
5. Planners and appointment books. Even the cheapest appointment books on Amazon or at Office Supply stores start at $10 (but easily $20-$30 and more), and the formats you can find in the Dollar Tree are often nicer.
6. Poster board and Foam Board. More than half the price of anywhere else and just as nice.
7. Aluminum cookware, tins, and “tupperware”, for cooking for a crowd or for cooking to take to someone else.
8. Dishes. Even the plainest ones at Walmart are $1.50 each. Dollar Tree has lots of nice choices for building a collection of dishes.
9. Yardley of London bar soaps. My grandmother always “splurged” to use this as her everyday soap. Now it is your cheapest option for a quality-made milled soap in wonderful, more “natural” fragrances.
10. Coloring books, drawing paper, construction paper, elementary writing tablets, composition notebooks, and practice workbooks for preschoolers and kindergartners. I have found some of the most wonderful science-themed coloring books of animals, plants, insects, and more, as well as coloring books of all my kids favorite characters, including Dora, Diego, Precious Moments, Disney, and superheroes, as well as wonderful “beginner” coloring books with large, cute pictures, and other themed books such as doodle prompts, princesses, fairies, vehicles, and more.
11. Glue, glue sticks, glitter-glue, post-it notes, stickers, rulers, erasers, calculators, binder clips, paper clips, push pins or thumbtacks, BIC white-out, reinforcement stickers for notebook paper (you know, the little white donut-stickers), regular white envelopes (both sizes), manila envelopes (including padded envelopes), file folders, foam craft stickers, popsicle sticks, google eyes, pipe cleaners, pom-poms. Now, to make it easier, here is what I do not recommend in the school supply area: Pencils, ink pens, markers, binders, colored pencils, ruled notebook paper. You can get Crayola markers for $1.00 a pack or even less during school supply sales, and even sometimes get 24-packs of Crayola crayons for 25 cents (Walmart especially).
11. Hair ties, scrunchies, headbands, clips, hair brushes, combs, and more. You can’t beat the price anywhere else and there are more than enough options to keep your little girl well-stocked and coordinated all the time.
12. Mascara, blush, eyeliner and eyeshadow. Check if you’re in there. This section changes more than all the others. You will score when they have full-sized mascara, and it’s a great way to play around with new colors before investing in your favorite designer brand.
13. A colander (strainer). The cheapest plastic colander I remember seeing outside of the Dollar Tree was $9.00. My $1.00 colander lasted me 15 years (and I have seven children—that’s LOTS of mac-n-cheese and spaghetti, folks), so even if I have to buy a new one every 15 years, I still come out way ahead in my lifetime.
14. Tape. Especially packing tape, masking tape, and tape refills for your “Scotch” tape dispenser (no comparison on that last one—the price difference is VAST).
15. Mini-laundry baskets and newspaper bins. Very sturdy and very handy.
16. An umbrella. If you catch yourself out running errands in a downpour, don’t let Walmart or the grocery store get you because they will move an umbrella display to be the first thing you see when you walk in, and you will pay $6-10. Instead, run into a DollarTree, and then keep the umbrella in your car for emergencies.
17. Candy. Anything over 4 oz is the best deal. Also, they have a wonderful selection of sugar-free candy to satisfy a sweet tooth.
18. Kettle-cooked chips.
19. Fudge-covered graham crackers and fig bars.
20. Reading glasses, and neck chains for glasses.
21. Travel mugs/cups (insulated, with straws). Yes, they’re not quite as nicely made, but they are a fraction of the cost and plenty nice enough.
22. Drink bottles. Not just any. You have to look harder for the nicer ones! Don’t fall for ones that are too fat for your car’s or backpack’s drink holders, and don’t buy them so skinny they are tippy!
23. Books. But you have to look. They have nice board books and children’s stories sometimes. They have devotionals and Bibles, reference/educational books, and cookbooks. We even super-scored on some crochet pattern books before.
24. Waxed paper.
25. Baby rattles, teether toys—some really cute ones for stocking the diaper bag or tying onto the bow of a baby gift.
26. ???? What have I missed? Leave your best deal from Dollar Tree in the comments!