Here are 8 Things NOT to Buy at Dollar Tree

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What should you not buy at Dollar Tree? We’re breaking it down!

Dollar Tree storefront

Not sure what to buy at Dollar Tree anymore since the price has gone up?

We all know and love the convenience of Dollar Tree and how many options there are for pretty much everything we need. Although there may be a few exceptions, the majority of store locations and online have officially switched their pricing to $1.25.

While that’s still fairly inexpensive, this price increase means that not everything is worth $1.25. After shopping this new pricing structure for a few months now, we’re finding there are many items actually cheaper if you buy them at other locations like Walmart, Target, and your local supermarkets.

Because of this, you may be wondering what should you not buy at Dollar Tree now that the price has increased, so we’ve come up with 8 things to avoid!

1. Cake and Brownie Mix

cake mix are something you should not buy at dollar tree

Baking mix for a dollar is a pretty good deal but definitely too pricey at $1.25! Walmart sells store brand cake mix for less than a dollar. Plus, they have major brands like Pillsbury for a buck, too!

2. Canned Goods and Non-Perishables

canned goods

Canned goods including soup and beans are better to be purchased elsewhere. In most places, they are less than $1, so it’s not worth picking up at the Dollar Tree anymore.

Target’s Good & Gather brand has canned goods starting at 59¢ while Walmart’s Great Value canned goods start at 58¢. Aldi is another great place to purchase your canned goods at a lower price than Dollar Tree!

3. School Supplies

school supplies dollar tree

School supplies like glue and scissors often go on sale during the back-to-school season. If you’re lucky, you can definitely score these for under a dollar. As a year-round example, Dollar Tree has a pack of two Elmer’s glue sticks for $1.25 while Target has a pack of six Elmer’s glue sticks for $2.99. That’s 62¢ each from Dollar Tree and 49¢ each from Target!

4. Notebooks


Notebooks are something you can easily grab for less than a dollar throughout the year. Walmart has a large notebook selection, starting at just 35¢. Target also has notebooks available for 99¢, so no more visiting Dollar Tree for any notebook needs!

5. Pasta

dollar tree pasta

If you don’t have a brand-specific preference, pasta is something you should never be paying more than $1 for! Pretty much every store brand, from both local supermarkets and big box stores, will sell their own pasta for less than $1. You can find Great Value pasta for 92¢ at Walmart and Good & Gather for 95¢ at Target.

If you prefer Barilla pasta though, it is most likely cheaper at Dollar Tree. Just keep an eye out for the contents’ size as brand names at Dollar Tree tend to be in smaller packaging.

6. Branded Soap

softsoap is something you should not buy at dollar tree

It’s not worth making the trip to Dollar Tree for name-brand hand soap anytime soon. You can grab Softsoap hand soap at Walmart for a penny less than Dollar Tree!

Beyond name brand soaps, generic soaps from Dollar Tree also aren’t worth the price either! Target-owned brands including Smartly and Up&Up both have hand soaps under a dollar and are highly rated.

7. Spices & Seasonings

spices at dollar tree

Initially, spices and seasonings were something we bragged about buying from the Dollar Tree. However, at $1.25, that’s pretty much the same price as buying from your local supermarket. Plus, our favorite place to buy seasonings is Aldi, where they’re priced around 97¢.

8. Cleaning products

la totally awesome cleaner

We’ve been fans of LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner for quite some time and still stand by it today. While a 25¢ increase doesn’t sound too shabby for this cleaner, Dollar General actually still sells it for a single dollar. Every penny counts, so that’s where we’re stopping by to purchase our favorite cleaner.

Check out the Dollar Tree deals you can save big on!

About the writer:

Kaitlyn has a Bachelor's Degree from St. John's University with 2 years of writing experience for LinkedIn, Celeb Magazine, and other various publications.

Join The Discussion

Comments 33

  1. Jackie

    I know, I know, it’s only 25 cents more but I have cut my stops to the DT but a lot after that 25 cents increase. I used to go by at least 3 times a week and now I’m lucky if I go once every 2 weeks. Last time I was there was to get a Father’s Day card. Thank you for these tips Hip2Save!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re SO very welcome, Jackie! Glad these are helpful. 🥰

  2. tt

    Honestly, I’ve almost completely stopped shopping at DT all together…I know it’s only a quarter but it racks up FAST when you’re going on several occasions, and sometimes just for fun. When I DO go now, I’m definitely more aware of what we’re purchasing…I would dare to say almost EVERYTHING now is over priced in comparison to other stores/online retailers. Of course there are the few hidden gems, but now those are even harder to find.

  3. MrsBK

    I have also cut my trips to DT down considerably. No more going just to browse and say it’s only a buck why not. And it’s a bummer, used to be my fun and frugal guilty pleasure.

  4. Mell

    I’ve been looking at CVS, riteaid and dollar general at the $1.00 aisles getting tooth past at dollar general now dollar tree isn’t as fun anymore!

  5. No

    I cut my trips to dollar tree significantly. I go once a month now to buy greeting cards for the month.

  6. C Robin

    I hit Target dollar spot much more than I used too. I pay .95 vs 1.25.

  7. LB

    Regarding the cake mix, it is true that Great value and Pillsbury brand mixes are $0.98 to $1 at Walmart. However, other name brand cake mixes at DT may be cheaper. For example, the Duncan Hines Signature cake mixes run $1.24 to $1.38 at Walmart so the mix may be cheaper at DT. Also worth price checking regularly b/c Walmart prices have been slowly going up so a $1 item today may be higher when you go to buy elsewhere.

  8. Joss

    I have observed that our Walmart has dropped a lot of great value items, namely the cake and brownie boxes, leaving you with name brands that are over $1.25. So, that can vary. Also, in regards to canned items, the can size and content matters. I have scored Libby canned pineapple for cheaper than great value brand at the dollar tree, as well as 1 lb cans of spaghetti o’s. I have also found name brand scrubbing bubbles at the dollar tree for only $1.25. I think a deeper dive reveals that we all will have to look closely at the unit price/brand/quality. One other thing Dollar tree has working for it is it can’t raise prices all the time like Walmart, so as inflation goes up, Walmart can and does continually adjust their prices, while DT has to stay the same unless they do another sweeping price hike.

  9. Randi

    I haven’t been back since they raised the prices. Many of the items had already shrunk in size and quantity. I rarely spend money on useless junk any way .

  10. Anniebananie

    I buy candy now at Dollar General which is still a $1.00

  11. Angie

    Thanks for posting this! Because so many things there are smaller sizes, it is not worth it for me. I was wondering if others felt the same. Even my teenagers don’t go there anymore.

  12. bunny

    I disagree on the soft soap. They have huge refills for 1.25. Not everyone wants to shop at Walmart because they are horrible and have taken American manufacturing jobs. Never shop at Walmart.

  13. Laura

    Dollar Tree has special sizes made for them by the manufacturers. So while they can’t raise prices like other retailers during inflation, they can get their products made in smaller sizes.
    **I did a school research project on this.

  14. hip2trade

    I love dollar tree (products) but the recent price hike was disappointing but not surprising. I always find something I can use. The store version of Vicks vap-o-rub is a good deal and it seems to be of the same quality. The worst part about dollar tree is the treatment of employees. Very overworked. At least at my most frequented dollar tree. I found all this out simply on my shopping trips. They were always upset and complaining verbally. One of the managers finally had enough and left. I doubt they get paid enough for all the work. It’s a shame to learn all this during shopping trips. It was also a super busy DT with long lines.

    • Lori

      I was talking to a cashier before the increase in my area. She said they were having trouble hiring…..Paying $8/hr 🤯.

      • LS

        Minimum wage in Colorado is $12.56. 👍

  15. Lolie

    The blue bag Canine Carry Outs dog treats are cheaper at the Dollar General since Dollar Tree raised prices. $1 at Dollar General, $1.25 at Dollar Tree.

  16. Maggie

    I strongly recommend ditching the cheap dollar at *any* store. They’re old, low-quality, and one-dimensional. Instead, go to Sprouts or any natural grocer that sells BULK spices buy the ounce. Whole Foods also has very reasonable, pre-measured small bags of popular spices on a peg board (they got rid of their bulk jars). Buy fresh, high-quality spices that will last for a few meals for not much more than your dollar spices, and then re-up with fresh when you need them again. ou’ll find your cooking improves and flavor “pops” more, without changing the recipes — it’s the fresh, high-quality spices that make the difference. Packaging is the biggest cost input in spices, so if you buy in bulk, you avoid paying for packaging you don’t want or need and just pay for what you really want: good quality herbs and spices.

    • Maggie

      /ditching the cheap store SPICES

  17. Arie

    Our local Dollar Tree was so disgusting that our health department recently shut it down. Not sure when or even if it will reopen. And not sure I ever want to shop there again if it does. Makes me feel sick to think of the food I’ve eaten from there.

  18. tracey-3

    Dollar tree is my go to for some holiday decor…items that accentuate my good quality decor. And my go to for garden seeds. AND definitely my go to for storage items. But I’ve never pick up foods.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      YES! I love Dollar Tree for holiday decor too! 🤗

  19. Sara

    What I hate is that half of the frozen section at my preferred location is now filled with full sized name brand items that are priced between $3 and $6.

    The frozen section was my favorite because they stocked smaller sizes. You don’t always need a multipack when one will do. This applies to many items at Dollar Tree.

    • ruth

      Went to Dollar Tree to pick up bread. Still a bargain at a $1.25. However, picked up 4 things in the frozen food thinking they were $1.25. They were NOT marked and rang up $4.00. Quite a surprise so I the cashier remove them.

  20. Emily

    Agree, I went to dollar tree for the first time since the price hike to grab Easter items. I went to the grocery store right after and was dismayed to find many of the items that I bought at the dollar store were cheaper at the grocery store – most especially any candy items. However, the items that I purchased that I feel were a good deal at dollar tree were: hallmark pack of blank cards, board books, small wire storage baskets, gardening seeds, and the casino played cards (our favorite cards for games).

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks, Emily! We sure appreciate you sharing this feedback. 💗

  21. C

    I use to go to the dollar tree A LOT but since the increase I don’t go as often and when I’m there I only buy what I need because it does add up very quickly. Their balloons are still a great price so I will buy that when I need it for birthdays and graduations. The last time I was there I also grabbed a few items in the frozen food and they rung up between $4 and $6. I was so surprised because I thought DT was only increasing prices by 25 cents.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks, C! Good to know about the frozen foods. I agree about their balloons still being a great value! 💕

  22. Cindy

    Party napkins and plates are still only a dollar at Walmart. I’m getting my party good there now. Thanks to everyone for their posts. It was great information!

  23. Chelsea

    I still love the DT since the price hike they have had more name brand items I recently found big bottles of tresemme Barbsol big cans have put away so much stuff for when my kids get invited to birthday parties I bought bulk caboodles and filled them with pop it’s JoJo bows jojo necklaces name brand lip glosses and name brand scrunchies sets I also found glass canisters for my kitchen and also peg board sets to organize my cricut stuff with all that said you really have to look thru because yes not everything this worth it but you can find name brand stuff that’s worth jt !!

  24. Debbie

    DT still has some favs; Totally Awesome vinegar cleaner, bounty paper towels, some nail polish, makeup and hair ties and bows, bags of chips, individual snacks for travel and almond milk and 3 liters of drinks and kitchen supplies I just watch how many trips I’m making and its all good.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      I like to grab that cleaner, hair ties and the paper towels too, Debbie! Thanks for letting us know what items you score at your Dollar Tree! 🥰

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