Monday, December 1, 2014

The Best Deals at Dollar Tree

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!