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Jun 22 2018
4 months ago
2:36 PM MDT

18 Things You Should Buy at the Dollar Tree — And 5 to Avoid

Jun 22, 2018 @ 2:36 PM MDT
Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Whoa, when did Dollar Tree get so good?

I’m here to tell you that you if you’re still overlooking Dollar Tree for things to buy, you’re seriously missing out! There are great finds popping up every day in various departments between brand-name goods, home decor, and even food!

things to buy at dollar tree – collin shopping for must buys

Check out our list of items you should buy at Dollar Tree for only $1 before purchasing for more elsewhere – and see which products we think you REALLY should avoid.

What to Buy at Dollar Tree:

1. Candles and candle holders

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy candles and candle holders

Candles are beautiful, from their scents and packaging to the ambiance they create. But when did it start becoming popular to spend over $60 on a jar of scented wax?! Check out the selection at Dollar Tree and you’ll even find dupes for well-known scents similar to the Capri Blue Volcano (a brand that the Hip2Save team LOVES) for just a buck!

2. Planters and gardening supplies

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy gardening supplies and planters

You’ve probably seen your local hardware stores full of tools and supplies to start working your green thumb. However, at Dollar Tree, you can find dowels, planters, and even soil to make your garden blossom for less!

3. Vases

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree — buy glass vases

The assortment of vases at Dollar Tree is MASSIVE — tall, short, round, square, clear, colorful… seriously, you can find just the vase you’re looking for without paying more than the flowers.

dollar tree buy and avoid — vases

Hip Tip: Check out this fun custom photo DIY using Dollar Tree vases!

4. Makeup

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy elf and name brand makeupThis one’s for the beauty lovers out there! The makeup section is full of cheap finds from popular brands like e.l.f., L.A. Colors, and Wet ‘N Wild — all for only $1! Stock up for less than the cost of your makeup bag.

Even sweeter, you can use coupons at Dollar Tree which makes for some significant savings on name brand cosmetics! Take some time to scope out the beauty/personal care section for name brand items mixed in with all the other stuff.

Brittany says: “I LOVE the Wet n Wild mascara in the teal tube. It layers really well, doesn’t clump, washes off easily-yet doesn’t smudge, streak, or run while wearing it. I highly recommend it.”

5. Organizational products

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy organization trays

Whether it’s for your makeup, your bathroom counter, or your junk drawer, acrylic organizers are a must-have for any neat freak! They come in a variety of sizes and layouts so you can mix and match for your own perfect set. But that’s not all — they have a TON of other organizational products for your home!

6. Classroom supplies

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy teacher classroom decor

Teachers, rejoice! We know you spend your own hard earned money outfitting your classrooms to be fun and functional for your students. To make the space beautiful on a budget, give Dollar Tree a look before the school year starts for decor, learning tools, and classroom supplies!

Chantel says: “I love their school supplies. I don’t get pens and pencils, but I do get dry erase markers and things from the teacher section. The calendars and posters are 2 packs for $1.”

Hip Tip: For the kiddos, check out these 15 finds at Dollar Tree to make back to school easier!

7. Picture frames

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy picture frames

It’s picture frames galore at Dollar Tree! Similar picture frames may cost $5 or more at other stores and look just the same. Sure, they’re not the highest quality frames but they’re great for crafts and inexpensive decor! A quick tip — before purchasing, check that the hanging bracket or hook is securely attached.

Hip Tip: Lina used Dollar Tree frames to make these! 😍

8. Gifting supplies

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy gift bags

Just because you’re generous with gift giving doesn’t mean you need to be generous toward expensive gift wrap. You’ll find inexpensive cards, bags, and wrapping paper so that you can allocate the majority of your budget toward the actual gift! My all time favorite buy at Dollar Tree is (and always will be!) their LARGE assortment of gift bags!

One Hip reader says: “We buy our greeting cards and gift bags there! Saves a lot of money for us!”

9. Clothing care essentials

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy laundry and clothing storage essentials

You’ll find everything you need to make caring for your clothes a touch easier with laundering accessories and storage bags.

Hip Tip: Near this section, they have a bunch of bags that make packing for travel a cinch!

10. Batteries

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy batteries

Due to overwhelming comments of readers saying they’ve found batteries at Dollar Tree that work just as well (if not better) than popular name brands, we HAD to add these to the list. While the user experience varies, most think the performance power of these batteries merits snagging a few while you’re at Dollar Tree.

Jen says: “Dollar Tree is the ONLY place I buy batteries! Have never been disappointed yet!”

Joan says: “I use a lot of batteries and have done a lot of research into which batteries are the best, and it’s my conclusion that the cheaper batteries are better than the name brand batteries. They sure cost a lot less so I will continue to buy batteries at Dollar Tree. I’m very happy with them!”

Tim says: “I buy all my batteries at the Dollar Store. Look for ‘alkaline’ marked on the package and avoid the batteries marked ‘heavy duty'”.

11. Reading glasses

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy reading glasses

Glasses for a buck?! Seems like a bargain to us! 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for prescription strength fashion reading glasses for just $1 per pair, which normally sell for several dollars at other stores.

Also, if you’re anything like me and have lost or broken expensive pairs of sunglasses in the past, you may want to grab a couple of pairs of $1 sunglasses to have on hand!

12. Bread Products

You really can’t beat $1 for name-brand bread! If it’s close to the expiration date, just throw it in the freezer. There are different varieties from multigrain loaves to mini bagels — take advantage and stock up when they have a nice selection.

Hip Tip: Take a look at some of Collin’s favorite Dollar Tree products she picked up on a prior trip!

13. Books

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy books

You may be able to find best-selling books (by authors such as Nicholas Sparks or Janet Evanovich) priced at just $1 each! These books retail for over $8+ at your local bookstore, so this is a great deal for new reading material.

dollar tree must buys — books

14. Pregnancy tests

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy pregnancy tests

Why pay $8-$10 (or more!) for a pregnancy test at the drugstore when you can find pregnancy tests for just $1 each at Dollar Tree!? Most readers seem to agree these tests work just the same as other name-brand tests.

Jackie says: “I was unsure at first but they work just as well, if not better, than regular tests. I found out I was pregnant with my daughter using one.”

Briana says: “I can confirm that the pregnancy tests at Dollar Tree work JUST as well as the expensive ones you find at Walgreens. With my first pregnancy, I spent at LEAST $50 (probably more) on 7 pregnancy tests. With my second I wised-up and went to Dollar Tree so I could take as many tests as I wanted without breaking the bank. I got very clear results 4 days before I was supposed to take the test. I’ll never buy them anywhere else again. 🙂”

15. Toys and kids gifts

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy kids toys

You’ll find your kids’ favorite characters and products in the aisles of Dollar Tree — seriously! These are perfect for gift bag fillers, stocking stuffers, and rewards for your kiddos. And they’ll have no idea you only paid a buck for them!

For younger children who are prone to put objects in their mouth, you may want to reconsider purchasing any small toys that could become a choking hazard.

Leighann says: “My younger two have grown out of the ‘puts everything in the mouth’ stage and are both now in the ‘constantly needs bribes to do ANYTHING’ stage. So, I bribe them with ‘credits’ that they can spend at Dollar Tree. They spend them on bubbles, balls, hula hoops, squirt guns, and other cheap toys. I know these toys aren’t going to last forever, but each child averages one ‘prize’ per week and actually cares about the toy half as long, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting money.”

16. Party supplies

You’ll love the selection so much in the Dollar Tree party supply section that you’ll start celebrating in the aisle! Throw the best parties on a budget with $1 finds – tableware, decorations, and other party goodies.

Mar says: “One of the things my kids, teachers, friends, and I look for at Dollar Tree is party favors — it’s awesome in that department!”

17. Holiday and seasonal buys

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy holiday and seasonal items

Jazz up your home year-round without breaking the bank! You’ll have no problem finding HUGE assortments of holiday and seasonal decor, gifts, and accessories. The only issue you’ll have is finding the space to store it all. 🤔

Gigi says: “Another thing totally worth buying are the Christmas ornaments! They have absolutely BEAUTIFUL Christmas ornaments that sell out quickly. I’ve found amazing ornaments that looked like they cost way more than a dollar, and the ones that I’ve purchased get raves every Christmas.”

Hip Tip: Make beautiful holiday decor that your guests will never guess is from the Dollar Tree!

18. Pool toys

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – buy summer finds for the pool

Dollar Tree supplies endless frugal fun in the sun with their selection of pool and beach toys! Since they’re bound to get lost (or take a beating during the summer), you may as well pay the least amount possible for them.

What to Avoid at Dollar Tree:

1. Brand name cleaning products

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – avoid brand name cleaning products

These may seem like a deal but more often than not, these products are packaged in smaller quantities than you’re used to seeing on big box store shelves. This means you’ll actually end up paying more per ounce. 😯

Instead, look out for the cleaning products from LA’s Totally Awesome and Fabuloso — readers and reviewers absolutely LOVE these great budget cleaning products.

One Hip reader says: “Dollar Tree has some cool cleaning products not found anywhere else. Fabuloso smells amazing! Get the seasonal scents!”

2. Brand name pantry foods

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – avoid pantry products

As with the cleaning products, either the packaging sizes for their name brand foods are small, or the price isn’t a deal for a buck (that’s about the same price they go for at big box stores!). You may sometimes stumble upon a good deal like this Hip2Save reader did, but we can’t guarantee the stock is constant.

Hip Tip: Give some of these brands a try — like this kid-approved list of Dollar Tree generics!

3. Pet Food

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – avoid pet food

The price per ounce on name brand pet foods can be much higher than if you’d bought a bulk bag at another store. Also, 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 just pet stores and other markets for big quantity purchases and brands with stricter ingredient guidelines.

Ash says: “I do not buy pet food from the dollar store. Besides being of questionable quality, it’s cheaper in bigger sizes from other stores. Also, NEVER use the flea and tick products from dollar stores. I’ve seen dogs with chemical burns from cheap flea treatment.”

4. Brand name baby products

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – avoid brand name baby products

Brand name baby products are hit or miss depending on the size of the product you find, and most of the time, it’s better to locate these brands in bulk. That said, if you’re looking to put together baby gift baskets for friends or family, you can find these brand-name goods for basket fillers on the cheap!

Hip Tip: Save money on generic baby products with this top 10 list of highly-rated baby product options!

5. Tools

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – avoid tools

Don’t buy your tools at the Dollar Tree unless you’re only planning to use them a couple times (the quality isn’t that great). Consider investing in a more expensive tool set during a sale or around the holiday season.

Some other Hip Tips…

things to buy or avoid at dollar tree – brand names Tide and Huggies

  • Looks can be deceiving! Compare sizes and prices to what you’d normally pay at your local grocery store after coupons before deciding on purchasing. A 3-count package of size 4 Huggies diapers or a 6-load bottle of Tide Simply Clean & Fresh for $1 each may not end up being the best price per item/ounce.

  • At Dollar Tree, you can use manufacturer’s coupons or occasional store coupons for increased 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.

  • If you have issues using coupons at Dollar Tree, contact the Dollar Tree customer service by phone at 1-877-530-TREE, or via the contact form to share your positive and negative feedback.

What are your favorite items to buy at Dollar Tree?

Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer in self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.

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