15 Things you should NEVER Buy from the Dollar Tree

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It’s a lot of fun going to the Dollar Tree, especially with my girls. We tend to go about once a week and find ourselves walking out with a bag full of screaming deals!

When I was newly married and we were still in debt, I’d shop there out of necessity. Now, that we’re debt free, I shop there because I love all of the great deals I find. Saving money is always a top priority. 

Not everything from the Dollar Tree is a good deal. There are some things you should never buy from the Dollar Tree because you can get them at a better price somewhere else. Other items may not the best quality, even for the small price tag.

But, there are some great things that I bought from the Dollar Tree that have literally lasted me for years and I still use them today.

While there are plenty of Dollar Tree products that get me excited, like their makeup and nail polish section (psst! sometimes you can find national brands!), some things are just not worth it and should be avoided.  

dollar tree

Those items are just not worth the purchase, even if it is just one dollar. And since most of us shop at the dollar tree to stay on budget, it’s a good idea to know what’s worth your money. 

I’m here to tell you what they are, so when you walk out of the dollar store next time, you only walk out with real deals, and not get duped on items that you could have purchased a better price or had better quality elsewhere.

Let’s Dive In- Here Are 15 Things You Should Never Buy From the Dollar tree

Hair Products

While their hair products may have a similar look and name to their national name brand counterparts, they’re far from the same quality of ingredients.

Many of them are made with harmful chemicals and the cheap quality won’t help out your hair in any way.

Stick with coupons at the drugstore and often times you can get great products for almost the same price as the dollar store.

The trick is to wait until there’s a sale on an item you have a coupon for. Double-deal!

Cleaning Products

I’ve never found a good deal on their cleaning products. Sure, they sometimes carry brands like tide and bounce, and sometimes you’ll find Clorox wipes, but the per unit price is so much higher than if you bought the same product (but a bigger size) at Target, for example.

The per unit price is super important when looking for a good deal because it tells you how much product you’re really paying for.

If I buy 1 oz. tide for a dollar at the Dollar Tree, but could have purchased 60 oz. tide for $10, then basic math says I’m not getting a great deal at the dollar store.

The 60 oz. product comes out to 6 oz per dollar whereas the dollar tree charged me $1 for only 1 oz. Doing the math will help you see if you’re really getting a good


I know people who get their produce from the dollar store and although it seems like a great price,most of the time it isn’t.

Aside from the fact that you get a very small portion of food that’s not fit for a family of 4 (in my case), again, the per unit price plays a huge role.

If you buy a 1 lb. bag of carrots for $1 at the dollar store, you may be sad to hear you could have gotten a 5 lb. bag of carrots from an international grocery store for $0.69 most weeks. Doing your homework pays off.


The Dollar Tree candles smell so good in the store, don’t they?

But, you get none of that great smell when you actually light the candle. I’ve been disappointed with the purchase of their candles more than once.

When I was a young newlywed and we were just starting out, the Dollar Tree was my go-to store for home-related shopping, and I’ve always loved candles, so naturally I tried them out.

The candles had absolutely no scent, which totally defeated the purpose. 

You’re better off trying a discount store like Ross or even Big Lots for good candles that smell wonderful at around $3-$5 and their size is comparable to the Yankee or Bath and Body Works candles. You won’t even feel the difference, except in your wallet.


This is another per unit trick from the dollar store. They offer name brands like Tylenol, but they give you a 5 count for a dollar.

You can get the generic brand of acetaminophen (what Tylenol is made of) at Costco for under $10 and you get two huge bottles each holding 500 pills. The math says it all.

Even if you don’t shop at the warehouse stores, you can get it cheaper at the drugstores when they have a sale.

I’ve purchased great deals on medicine from CVS when they have a sale, they’re offering a store coupon, and I combine that with a manufacturer coupon.

Even if you don’t have the triple-threat to save big, you can still save enough money to make it a good deal by shopping their ads.

Pot Holders

This is more of a safety thing, you’re getting what you pay for here, maybe even less in this case. Their pot holders are so thin, you might as well hold the hot handle or tray with a paper towel.

I hope the come out with new ones to try, but the ones they currently have burned me, literally.

These are a for sure no-no, okay? Okay.

Plastic Kitchen Cooking Supplies

They’re cheaply made and they don’t work very well. Stick with their Betty Crocker silicone line (which is limited) or get your kitchen tools from Big Lots or Walmart.

dollar tree

Kids Toys

Unless you’re getting the name brand ones (and then you need to check the unit price) you should stay away from the toy aisle.

Their toys don’t last more than one or two play sessions and are so cheaply made that you’re pretty much buying a disposable toy. Your money is going straight in the trash.

Stock up on toys when they hit rock bottom prices at Target or Walmart. You’ll get a much better deal for a better quality toy.


Have you ever looked closely at the sign they have posted up? I’ll paraphrase it for you, basically it warns consumers that their lotions and body sprays may contain chemicals that cause cancer.

Yeah, let’s not buy any of those. That’s not even a money thing as much as it is a safety thing. Why do they even sell such items?

Frozen Food Items

I love buying their name brand chips and chocolate, but you’ll never catch me buying their frozen food. I saw once that they had a 4oz. steak for a dollar.

While that may seem like a good deal, a lot of times that 4 oz include bone and fat. By the time you get to the meat, you’re not getting a great deal. 

Also, if you buy enough steak to add to 1 lb., the price would be $4/lb. You can buy decent meat when on sale for about the same price or sometimes less than that and get it straight from the butcher at your local grocery store.

Cat Food/Dog Food

You can get a better per unit price at Costco or even the grocery store with coupons. I’d skip this at the dollar store, you can get more for your money somewhere else.

Hair Dye

Let’s just say you’re getting what you pay for: under performing hair dye that won’t even give you the desired color even on day 1. Skip it, skip it now…just keep on walking girl.


Okay so they might work, but they don’t last nearly as long as the more expensive ones. I’d stick to buying it on sale and if you have coupons while they’re on sale, you’ll come out with a decent deal.

Flip Flops

The quality isn’t worth the buck. I once had to buy them because my flip flops ripped on the go. I ended the night with sores and blisters. Don’t buy them for anyone you love.

Old Navy usually has a crazy sale on flip flops at least twice a year , and they end up costing around $4. The extra comfort is worth the extra few bucks. And they’ll at least last for a season or two.

Canned Food

This really gets to me. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t find great deals on canned food- with no coupons needed, I might add.

They come out to about 2 cans for $1 at grocery stores and sometimes you find them even cheaper. The canned food at the Dollar Tree will always be overpriced compared to the regular grocery store.

If you’re like me, you’re a deal seeker. And the dollar store is such a great place to find some awesome deals, as long as your know what to watch out for.

What items do you avoid from the Dollar Tree? Comment below!

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177 Responses

  1. I agree with SOME of their candles are not with it. But I purchase the Air Fresh 2 in 1 candles and I love them. Those are the only ones I buy from there. The blue Morning dew/ Tranquil lake I like and once in awhile the pink one ? Forgot name. I have also bought the Jennie O turkey burgers for a quick meal if I have a taste for one. A dollar is good once in a while. If your buying more you are better off buying a lb or more adds up.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Maryanne! I’ll have to try those Air Fresh candles out! I’d love to find good candles for a buck because I use candles all the time. They don’t carry Jennie O turkey burgers at my store, but that sounds pretty cool! How many come in a pack?

    2. I like the greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift bags and dog leashes. Also the “Awesome” brand cleaners are awesome. Roasting pans and storage containers, baggies and every day foils. I like the sweetners, juicie juices, hair supplies and maje up for sure. I get stocking stuffers there every year for the holudays. Crazy savings. And bithday party stuff i have saved a ment. Yes the dollar tree is the boom!

    3. I love those candles too. They smell so good when they are burning. A lot of times at Christmas they will have nice smelling ones too. I just bought a cherry chutney one that smells so good. Too bad I got the last one lol.

      1. We like to buy our name brand toothpast to take om trips…Pastic bags of all kinds…The Awesome BIZ…type pre wash is great…Puzzles for all ages from 24 pieces to 1000 pieces. Dog leashes…marbles …Vases…Holiday hats and head bands..Luau decorations. All good buys…Agree canned item …not eorth it..some spices are okay. Thanks for article.

          1. I don’t know where you live but at my dollar tree they have dermasil brand and its actually a decent body lotion. There are 2 or 3 sections of lotions though. At least where I live. You can find lotion in the baby isle, lotion in the beauty section, and lotion by the medical stuff. I go to the medical isle to get lotion and thode brands are pretty decent. If your talking about the beauty section. Yeah they have alot more harmful chemicals due to.creating the smelly stuff and that can cause health issues. Not all lotions there are bad. I love my dermasil with cocoa butter.

      2. I’ve been burned and blistered using their potholders twice! Lesson learned the hardest painful way. The medicine though, I disagree you get 100 Benadryl for a buck at my local DT. At a regular store that’s like 5$ also scented candles maybe a dud there but I buy candles for when there’s a power outage at DT.

    1. Haha thank you for this. I missed her misspelling as she must’ve updated by the time I read the story, but I did notice a couple of people using the incorrect form in the comments section.

      1. I just thought I’d say that I agree with you and that iv shopped dolor tree for years and learned some very good lessons. You get what you pay for is exactly the way to think when you shop at any discount store right? Saving money forces us to use our heads and think corporate meaning how would you go about making money while making people think they’re getting a real bargain. For the most part the dolor tree is a great place to shop. Thanks for listening

        1. Thanks for your comment Fawn! Yup, I agree with you, corporations are looking to make the biggest output with the least cost, which most of the time means less quality. Glad you liked the post!

          1. I’m sorry it sounds that way. There are definitely a lot of things I love but these are the things I don’t recommend. ?

          2. I like your article. You complimented their various great deals then suggested very specific things to avoid and why to avoid them. Good job. Thanks! I shop Dollar Tree and similar stores often for party items and seasonal decor. They’re perfect for that. Keep up the good work!

            It seems like such a deal. They r so not!
            I love my dollar tree but the trash bags r bad.
            I get all my grill tools, scraper, and cleaner there!
            Also, grab disposable aluminum baking pans for turkeys n stuff to bring to others homes n not worry about losing ur “good pans”!
            Happy Wednesday Everyone!

          4. I don’t think you made it sound like there are no savings at all, I think it’s a great article and very well written. You tell what are and what aren’t good deals. I love the dollar store. You just need to know which things are good buys and which ones are not. That’s easy to figure out if you simply use some elementary level mathematics.

        1. Why do people feel the need to make petty comments about others’ comments/grammar??? No one is writing an essay! Do you not have anything more important to occupy your time??????

          1. I usually don’t buy any of their food items. I I usually to buy some of their drinks there.

      1. AGREED!! Exactly why I would never post!! People don’t seem to be appreciative of what someone is trying to share, they always have to pick everything apart!

  2. One super good deal I found were black olives! Same size, same flavor and about $.65 cheaper than wallyworld! Yes, flip flops are the pits but for me, having not worn them since my teen years, I wondered how well I could wear them again, then in my 50’s! They were a good trial and though they wore out immediately, they served their purpose and I have worn (good quality) flip flops ever since! I like some of their kitchen gadgets though some are defimitely not the quality they used to carry–especially scissors!!! Silk flowers are my go-to supply, too.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Gail! I love olives, I’ll have to check them out next time! Yeah their flip flops totally flopped ? in my opinion. I agree about the kitchen stuff, sometimes it’s a hit or miss, but the Betty Crocker stuff that silicone is pretty good for the price. I don’t buy a lot of flowers from there but know others that love them too!

      1. I always wait for Walgreens to put olives in their ad for 99c or a buck. They do it frequently, and it is even cheaper than aldi for the full size can.

        1. Hey Tonya! I live that strategy because you know your sales cycles, which important when you’re trying to save money. ?

    2. I am a dollar store junkie! Many of the food items are from the phillipines, Mexico, Vietnam I personally don’t trust the ingredients. Also the toothpaste is made in Mexico and contains dangerous chemicals and are not approved toothpastes by the American Dental Association. These places don’t have the same safety regulations so be careful.

      1. You are correct about watching the toothpaste. However this seems to be on a per store basis. Check the box, if it has the ADA seal on it and it’s made in the US, it’s a much better deal than Walmart. You do have to purchase more tubes, they’re smaller, but as Gina mentions, the per unit price is much better.

    3. I know from experience and you are so right about potholders! I agree with just about everything you listed! Thank you for the article. I am a dollar store shopper. I have a store 5 minutes from my home and I am there quite often.

      1. Yes, their pot holders are super thin. Okay to set a hot pan on, just be careful when pulling something out of the oven.

    4. You are right about their flip flops. I had them fall apart and they have a horrible smell. Not worth $1.

  3. I got some really good pot holders from there. Really thick and even had silicone on one side!!! We made a kids christmas craft with them 3 years ago and they are still used daily and going strong!

    1. Really? Thanks for letting me know. I’d love to know which ones? The ones I’ve gotten were awfully thin and I almost burned myself getting the dish out of the oven.

  4. Hi Gina, my name is Lynette. I have subcribed to your get out of debt program. When I went to the welcome email, I did not find a link. Please let me know if there is anything else I need to do, because I really need to get out of debt. I will be looking for your reply.

    Thanks, Lynette

    1. Hi, Lynette, I’m so glad that you want to get out of debt! I see you got the Dollar Tree list, but I can add you to the Build Your Wealth Challenge if you’d like, just respond to the email you got and I’ll add you! ?

  5. I would not buy the silicone items either. My husband was wondering why the mashed potatoes were blue. I left a spatula in the pot. Can’t be good!!

    1. Woah! That can’t be good, lol. I’ve never had that problem with the red spatulas from Betty Crocker. Have you tried those?

  6. I’m not sure if you’re including all dollar stores or just specifically the Dollar Tree, but we have a Dollar General close to our house. They have a great selection of greeting cards at a much lower price than anywhere else. I agree with you that you can almost always get a better price by purchasing a larger quantity at a big box store or Wal-Mart. We purchase all of our meat from Sam’s, seal it in airtight bags, and freeze it in a dedicated freezer. Thank you for the great advice!

    1. Thanks for your great comment, Elizabeth! It was mainly the Dollar Tree, but I completely agree about the greeting cards, they’re fabulous. It’s actually on #5 on the Dollar Tree list guide, I love the huge selection! I used to buy my meat from Costco, but now only resort to that if there aren’t any good sales at my local grocery store. ?

    2. I live by myself and do a lot of shopping at Dollar Tree. Even the frozen foods have some bargain’s and are the size for one person! I buy all party products, junk food (candy, etc.), BC plasticware, cake mixes, juice, some storage containers, cards, packing tape and more. Yes, you must pick and choose, and look at per item price and read labels, but I do that everywhere I shop! I do shop at Costco, but sometimes I just don’t have storage space for the 12 or 18 count of large items, no matter the saving. Things I do not buy at a dollar store include: paper products (Kleenex, TP, paper towels) cleaning supplies, canned goods, spices, toys, and I could go on! Thanks for your input, it was helpful.

  7. Thank you for your reply, Gina. This is the first of your articles that I’ve seen, but I signed up to receive your newsletter. My husband and I are newly retired, and while we’re not financially strapped, I realize the importance of being frugal. I’m looking forward to getting more tips!

    1. So glad you’ve joined the Frugal Convert community, Elizabeth, welcome! I look forward to future conversations with you on various topics. ?

  8. A great find at the dollar tree or 99cents stores is the sweetened condensed milk which can be up to 2 or more bucks at the grocery store

    1. The sweetened condensed milk there is not real. Look at the ingredients. The real one is made only with milk and sugar

  9. First of all, I AM a Dollar Tree Employee. Tide and Gain do NOT come in 1 oz bottles!
    The hair products, whilst I do tend to agree with part of your statement, it is NOT all true. They also get NAME BRAND shampoos and conditioners and etc….How ever, NAME BRAND holds just as many HARMFUL chemicals as generics.
    Their Pot holders, I use them all the time and have never had an issue! Its the only place I buy them! As well as kitchen towels.
    Kitchen utensil, it depends on what your buying. I have pieces I bought 15 years ago and STILL own them! o NO! They are NOT all bad!
    Kids toys, I dont know what kind of stuff your Dollar Tree carries because they are ALL different. But we get pretty decent toys. My grand kids play with them all the time. Never had an issue! Not a child stays interested for more then a week with a toy anyways! (I use to run a daycare) They als get some great books for kids and coloring books are awesome!
    Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying every thing is a great deal or anything, but it seems to me you are telling people NOT to shop at the dollar tree! You come off as “to good for the Dollar Tree” shopper. I dont know what area you live in but know this. NOT every dollar tree carries the same stuff. Every one of them is shipped different items. So for you to post this stuff is just wrong. Maybe for YOUR area it may be true. But NOT all are the same. Not to mention just because its NAME BRAND does not mean its a better product. I use their laundry soap and love it! As well as many other products. Our stores dont even carry produce! Quit honestly you come across as snooty. Just because you dont like it dont mean much. To many, its all they can afford. Its a good place if your in a hurry, or need something on the go. I LOVE the dollar tree for shopping. And as far as your CANCER CHEMICALS comments, maybe you should research better, MOST of your beauty products from soap, to shampoo to toothpaste ALL have cancer causing ingredients unless your buying organic!

    1. Shari, thanks for your comment. If you read the first line of my post, you’d know that I also love the Dollar tree and frequently shop there. This post was not intended to make anyone stop shopping there. As for the harmful chemicals, I’m well aware that most commercial products have cancer causing chemicals, but I saw a rather larger sign with the warning, which you normally don’t see in other stores around similar products, which makes me think that either there was a lawsuit that caused them to be more transparent or that someone was injured by the product. In any case, I was trying to relay my personal experience and opinion. I’m sorry that you feel my comments were “snooty”, but I stand by them, and as a frequent Dollar Tree shopper I have a right not to LOVE everything. My opinions are based on what worked and didn’t work for me, I’m not expecting everyone to have the same experience. Thanks again for your comment, have a nice day.

          1. Wow! I was reading some of the comments and it would help if people didn’t scan but read. Who cares if something is misspelled. That is someone with to much time on their hands. We all make mistakes. We are human. I shop at the dollar tree too and I found that some of the cold items are not what they seem. We were in a hurry and needing to feed for cheap. We bought the shredded cheese which was not real cheese. Next time you go look at the bag and see what it says. It wouldnt even melt. There were a few others that were not as they seem. I still shop there for certain things. I can say when you have limited funds it helps you get what you need at the time. Thank you for the info. Like any store there are good and bad things. As for candles we make our own and sell them along with melts. I dont worry about the smell not lasting.

          2. Hey Tamara, thanks for your insight. ? I’m glad you found the article helpful!

    2. I agree with Shari. I’m also an Employee at the Dollar Tree. I think the cat/dog food is a great bargain especially if you have a small dog that doesn’t eat very much, also I like the cleaning supplies such as the mops, sponges, magic erasers, lysol wipes, glade air freshener, lime away and comet. The candy is usually stale. But the peanuts, cashews, mixed nuts and beef jerkey is a great bargaun, so is stationary, calendars, folders, pens and pencils. The best bargains are the holiday seasonal items and the mini blind bags for example Minions, my little pony or Crossy roads if people don’t steal them that is. Hair clips, headbands and baretts are also great. They have decent bargains on the medicine. Great bargains for name brand toothpaste, tooth brushes and dental hygiene. I agree do not buy the lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hair dye, or perfumes unless it’s a quality name brand. I love the hand soaps like soft soap or Dial. I wouldn’t buy the charger cords, phone cases, or car chargers they dont last long at all and will ruin your phone quickly. DO NOT BUY THE DUCK TAPE OR MECHANICAL TAPE, IT’S CHEAP. YEAH the cheap Batteries dont last long either. Dont be alarmed but this birthday inflated balloons don’t last long at all. I recommend you go to Zurchers for balloons. Hope this was helpful.

    3. Holy smokes! You must be the only person that somehow completely missed what Ginas advice is all about. I recommend you read her post again and Thank her for the tips. You may need to speak with a therapist as well if you don’t do that already. Praying for you! Have a great day!

    4. we are on the same page. our’s does not have produce either. (what i agree with is: )The hair products, whilst I do tend to agree with part of your statement, it is NOT all true. They also get NAME BRAND shampoos and conditioners and etc….How ever, NAME BRAND holds just as many HARMFUL chemicals as generics.
      Their Pot holders, I use them all the time and have never had an issue! Its the only place I buy them! As well as kitchen towels.
      Kitchen utensil, it depends on what your buying. I have pieces I bought 15 years ago and STILL own them! o NO! They are NOT all bad!
      Kids toys, I dont know what kind of stuff your Dollar Tree carries because they are ALL different. But we get pretty decent toys. My grand kids play with them all the time. Never had an issue! Not a child stays interested for more then a week with a toy anyways! (I use to run a daycare) They als get some great books for kids and coloring books are awesome!
      Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying every thing is a great deal or anything, but it seems to me you are telling people NOT to shop at the dollar tree! You come off as “to good for the Dollar Tree” shopper. I dont know what area you live in but know this. NOT every dollar tree carries the same stuff. Every one of them is shipped different items. So for you to post this stuff is just wrong. Maybe for YOUR area it may be true. But NOT all are the same. Not to mention just because its NAME BRAND does not mean its a better product. I use their laundry soap and love it! As well as many other products. Our stores dont even carry produce! Quit honestly you come across as snooty. Just because you dont like it dont mean much. To many, its all they can afford. Its a good place if your in a hurry, or need something on the go. I LOVE the dollar tree for shopping. And as far as your CANCER CHEMICALS comments, maybe you should research better, MOST of your beauty products from soap, to shampoo to toothpaste ALL have cancer causing ingredients unless your buying organic!

  10. Hi Gina! I used to work for DT a good while back (and for quite a number of years) and I agree with you. Many of the items could be better. At least 15-20 yrs ago they sold a more upscale product, their items were pretty solid so they were worth the buck. When DT purchased Deals (a small corporate dollar store) they did so to acquire the ability to sell the frozen food for a buck. Which in my opinion the food at the time (2006ish) was not too shabby. But again withing the last 8 yrs or so the DT company has lost their niche in selling great items for such a great price. Not sure if you noticed the Deals stores that popped up temporarily are gone well that’s because DT purchased Family Dollar so as not to have to compete with itself. Thanks for the post Gina! You are right on the nose for quite a bit of that list.

    1. Hi Rossi, thanks for commenting! Glad to hear that others have experienced what I have. Yes, I remember when DT first started and they were awesome (and still are). But there are things that I find better quality for the buck elsewhere. ?

  11. The Awesome cleaner at the DT is awesome! I use it for kitchen, floors. I’ve actually cleaned a spot on the carpet with success. You can buy the refill which is larger( a few years ago it was a much bigger bottle) and pout in into a squirt bottle. You can’t beat the gift bags , bows, and tissue. Crafters have a heyday in the DT. I don’t buy the flip flops for walking but you can make a wonderful summer wreath with 4-5 pairs. They carry the craft mesh and great wire ribbon, jars and vases. They carry the wire forms for the mesh wreaths and I have found some good yarn for knitting and crocheting. The little kids craft items are great for developing fine motor skills along with small foam number and letter puzzles. I have purchased nice board books and baby books that have real babies pictures or Sesame Street characters. Watch for the toddle disposeable placemats that keep things more sanitary in restaurants. I think there are 12-18 per package and they are much higher elsewhere. I’ve seen small bottle of modgepodge there which is expensive at Walmart or Michaels. Their silk flowers are very nice and simple holiday signs and decor can be embellished. Lots of treasures still there depending on your family needs or interests.

  12. I’m confused. We have a Dollar General store, a Family Dollar store and a Dollar Tree in our area. I honestly can’t follow which store you are at, or are you still several??? Please read this and every place you see dollar store, fix it yo read what you mean…..

  13. May I add Lightbulbs! Dollar Tree carries the Sunbeam brand. (A name you can trust right? Wrong!!!) 4/$1.00, sounds great… however when they burn out, and your are unscrewing them from whatever fixture you have put them, they break! Shatter! What you have left is the screw in part left in your fixture.

    After doing some research on this, I found there have been 100’s, no 1,000’s of complaints made to Dollar Tree since 2013. They have done nothing to address or correct the situation!

    1. Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for bringing this up, Lyn. Sorry you had to go through that. Did you use the potato truck to take out the light bulb?

  14. Personally, all my kitchen supplies at the dollar store. I have a whisk that came from the dollar store that has lasted 5 years, while a medal one that I paid close to $10 broke after less than a year. I would rather someone try them out and see what they think, to each there own.

    1. I totally agree! I love hearing other people’s experiences before I buy something, even if it’s just a dollar. Don’t want to waste additional pennies lol

  15. I agree with some of the things that you posted that I would not buy the dollar store , but other things like the medicine is great for when you’re traveling if you want just a few ,they’re packaged up you don’t have to worry about it . I’ve bought a lot of kitchen gadgets there and I’ve never had any problems course I get the name brand like the Betty Crocker for example .I feel the dollar store is a great place for people who don’t have any money . homeless go there and buy supplies , people that have a lot of children that are on a low income it’s a place to buy things. They can’t afford to go to Costco and buy in bulk which yes it does become cheaper but not for them so it just depends on who you are and what you can afford .Love the dollar store to go buy snacks for the movies you pay a dollar for the exact same candy they sell for three bucks do it’s worth it

    1. I totally agree Jocelyn! Thanks for your comment. I love the dollar tree for so many things. I just also tried a bunch of throngs that didn’t work out so well. Haha. But in the end, I know that there are many great buys and that it does make it affordable for people who don’t have other options.

      1. There are toxic chemicals in all brands of products…hair, skin, shampoo, air fresheners, cleaning products ect.!!

  16. I LOVE $ TREE!!!! I shop there several times a week. I LOVE the Betty Crocker kitchen ware…have a kitchen full of it. It lasts “forever”! 😉 Of course there are a few items I don’t buy there, but for the most part…great shopping all around.

    1. I’m with ya Julie! I absolutely love the Dollar Tree too! But there are some things that didn’t work out so well ?

  17. The flip flops work great if you’re using them to make a summer flip flop door wreath! But other than that, they’re a bust! Our Dollar tree carries an off brand of medicines that has 40-50 pills per bottle that we occasionally buy and they are just as good as the name brand. I’m not a brand name shopper though, I buy off brands 90% of the time, unless I have coupons.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie! That’s a creative wreath, such a great idea. I haven’t really tried their meds because I tend to get them either from Costco or at a steep discount using coupons. But, its good to know that they are effective.

  18. Sounds like your tips are things I’ve been trying to follow when shopping at Dollar Tree or any similar stores. I don’t buy things there that I am going to consume (eat, drink, or put in my mouth – meds, mouthwash or toothpaste) nor anything that I am going to put on my body (lotion, creams, nail polish, shampoo, etc). Thanks for mentioning the cleaning products. I haven’t bought any there and I won’t now. TFS.

    1. Hey June, thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear that you can relate! I’ve heard the “Awesome” brand cleaning products are good. But the name brand ones turn out to be more cost per unit than if you just bought them on sale at a drugstore or a Target/Walmart.

      1. Yes yes yes to the cocunt oil lotion in the little tub. I have extreamly dry skin/ eczema and I love this stuff. It works better than some of the expensive eczam lotions i have tried. I normally avoid their body products other than name brand travel size ones for my purse, car and kids bags but this one is a win.

  19. I agree with many of your sentiments but disagree about the lotion. I LOVE the Dermasil lotion at Dollar Tree. It is a great product, has really helped my daughters eczema and I keep a bottle on the desk for my hands. I also love the Coconut Oil moisturizer in the tub they sell, it smells amazing. I don’t know where you live but some states (particularly CA) and ridiculous requirement software posting about chemicals. I’m not sure if anything in CA doesn’t cause cancer. I have researched both of these products and they are safe.

    1. Mary, you hit the nail on the head, I’m in Ca! I’ve never seen the Dermasil brand, I’m familiar with it and I think it’s a good brand. I agree, that’s one I would totally snatch up!

  20. Gina, thanks for your opinions! I love the Awesome Bleach Cleaner at $ Tree. I thought they were going to stop carrying it, because I couldn’t find it anymore. But……when they restocked…so did I! I love this cleaner, so now I have a few just in case they decide not to carry anymore. The yellow Awesome cleaner is great as well.
    My family uses the Sleep Aid from $ Tree and we love it. I also buy Betty Crocker items and think they are great!
    The few things that you mentioned in your post, I don’t believe I buy those things there anyway. Just prefer name brand for personal items. But again we love the $ Tree. Cards, balloons, decorations, plastic eat wear, cleaning products “Awesome” only, etc.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Catrina! So many people have told me about their Awesome cleaning products, I have to try them out! Thanks for the tip! I’m actually going to post another article about all the things I love from DT and greeting cards, party decorations, etc made the list! Stay tuned, it’s coming soon.

  21. Great article. Have you tried the Amazing cleaner? Works great on tough things such as outdoor furniture cushions, ring around the collar, and deodorant stains.

    1. Thanks so stopping by Candy! I’ve heard great things about the amazing cleaner, I’m definitely going to try it soon.

      It removes ring around the collar?! I’m sold!! Thanks so much for that tip!

        1. I use blue dawn too, for stained cloths, just put a drop on the stain, rub it in and throw it in the laundry with the rest of the cloths. I love browsing in the Dollar Store or The Dollar Tree, when I have nothing to do, or only really need a couple things, I always find great stuff, and probably buy more things than I really need, but cheap. It don’t help me, stay away, when a Dollar Store is only a couple miles down the road from my house. How’s that for convenience! Char. 2/23/2023

  22. Also have to consider just what you need in an rv. 4 lbs. of carrots may be $0.69 at Costco but if you unly need 1 lb. you don’t need the rest so it may be more convenient.
    I generally stick to the name brands and shop for just the “rv” size items. You do need to check ingredients but name brand small sizes are the same. The unit price may be higher but if the small size is all you need then the higher small quantity price is worth it.
    Also remember that for $1 you can afford to replace some items many times before it adds up to retail price even at big box stores.

    1. Great perspective, Frank!
      I agree, if your lifestyle and home setting works with buying smaller quantities, then perhaps the Dollar Tree is a better deal for you.
      That’s awesome that you live in an RV, I’d love to know more!

  23. I use the batteries all the time. I use a lot of c batteries both in my candles and in my motion lights. They last for months.. I also use all the others and they last a long time too. the only thing I do not use these in are my smoke detectors.

    1. Hey Terri! Love your input!
      I love their cards too. I’ve never tried their reading glasses , so I’ll definitely put that on my buy list. ?

  24. Colgate Toothpaste (pump not tube) is several dollars cheaper at dollar store than big box stores and deodorant too. Sometime you can get on sale at big box for same price but I usually stock up at dollar store.

    1. I do too Wendy! Toothpaste is name brand and the size is decent. You can also use coupons for even more savings. ?

  25. I hate to disagree with Shari about the quality of some items at dollar stores, but there are very good reasons to be vigilant about researching the products you buy. I say this as a proud dollar store shopaholic…my oldest son used to work at a Dollar Giant….there are definitely great deals to be had at dollar stores, but there are also some items that you should avoid at all costs. Most plastic products in any dollar store are manufactured in China where the standards for testing toxicity levels are much, much lower than in North America. Those products should not be allowed here, but they still manage to make it to stores. Here’s a good article explaining exactly why some items aren’t worth buying even if they do cost a lot less….your health and that of your family’s is worth more in the long run than any short term deal. https://althealthworks.com/14802/10-toxic-items-to-avoid-authoryelena/

    1. You raise a really good point, Katie, and I totally agree. The Dollar Tree is a great place to shop, but we should be aware and do our research before buying Everything! ?

  26. The frozen soft pretzels are good. Love the holiday decorations. The bags are great. Like the cards and craft wire wreaths. Also some of the storage containers. I don’t have a problem with most things.

  27. I do want to point out that sometimes you want/ Need smaller amounts of something. I camp and travel a lot and Dollar stores are great for buying small stuff on the go. While, yes, you are paying more per oz. You don’t end up with way more than you need.

    1. You make a great point Donna. I agree that if you’re on a trip, getting smaller quantities is better. But I was talking about buying for everyday use.

  28. I am retired and must make my dollars stretch, but I learned the do’s and don’t’s about the dollar store years before I retired. The Awesome products are, literally, awesome! The basic Awesome cleaner can be used in so many ways. Just look at the side if the bottle for the dilution rate for various jobs, walls, floors, car grills, etc. My “oh wow” moment came while cleaning my light grey carpet years ago. Our beautiful long hair silver grey cat was always getting hairballs. I bought the goop they ingest to see if it would help. I put some on his leg so he would lick it off and obviously used too much. Right in the middle of my light grey carpet was a glob of the black goop. When I was shampooing the carpet I went over that spot again and again. I used the spot remover that came with my wonderful machine to no avail. Frustrated, I looked for anything to get that black stain up. I grabbed my trusty Awesome and gave it a couple of squirts, waited no more than 30 seconds and ran the machine over it again. The stain was gone! Like it had never been there! I also like the Awesome Orange Oxygenated powder. I use it mainly for laundry but it cleans the toilet like nothing else and smells great. Never buy toothpaste because my grocery store sells toothpaste cheaper than $1, also paper towels. I needed dish soap and just needed to finish theonth and couldn’t afford the Dawn I usually buy at the grocery store. So I bought the small bottle of Dawn at the dollar store. This is a good example of what it says on the outside isn’t always what is inside. All Dawn users know to expect a nice sink of suds all the way to the end with Dawn. This stuff didn’t last through the few dishes and glasses one person would use in two days. I felt compelled to fill the sink with fresh dishwater to wash my bowls and utensils. Never again! I have wasted money on their candles, not because of no fragrance, but because the wick in too many was defective or something, because I can’t get them to light about the 3rd time. Thanks for allowing me to add my part.

    1. Judy, you’ve just convinced me to use the awesome cleaner! I mean, so many people have told me about it, but when you said it takes out set in stains?! I’m sold!!
      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of their candles either.

      1. After buying what I believed to be the same shampoo I’ve used for many years but had been unable to find, I was excited to find an oversized bottle at Dollar Tree for a dollar complete with a pump. After just one shampoo, I knew I’d been had. It wouldn’t even lather. I could have used the whole bottle and wouldn’t have had enough suds. I completely agree with you. Face value means very little. As for the Dawn, evidently the best is sold at Costco. The label says 4x’s the regular strength and I believe it. After allowing a pot to sit with Dawn from Costco to loosen the residue, it came off with just a rubbing from the dishcloth. I do like many items at Dollar Tree but I second everything you said about steering clear of shampoos and exercising caution about other products that appear to be familiar.

        1. It really does make a difference to do your research. Most of the time, you get what you pay for. But there are some great finds at the Dollar Tree, just not everything.

  29. You are 100% right about the $1.00 steaks. I bought them once in a whim and they were so awful even our dog refused to eat them. Thanks for the info on the other items. Saved me from trying them and wasting money.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Layle! Yeah, you’re better off buying steaks on sale at the grocery store for a bit more.

      So glad I could help you avoid unnecessary purchases! ?

    1. Totally agree!! There are so many awesome things that are such a bargain, and other not so awesome finds. haha. This post is hopefully helping a lot of people side step some of the purchases that didn’t work out too well for me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!

      1. Agree on the batteries. They work fine for all I use batteries for. Low drain mostly. Love the led light bulbs, wish they had higher than 60 watt, but if 60 wat works for you these are great. I have yet to have one burn out, think they are supposed to cut energy use and last MANY years, 17 maybe? I don’t remember. Also recently found sylvania ceiling fan double life 2 pack there and have not tried those yet

      2. I shop at Dollarama and Dollar Tree all the time, sometimes I will buy the product just for the container on a one time basis then refill from the big container I buy from Walmart, Costco or etc, etc. For example I bought a small bottle of Tide for travelling but refill from the big jug at home. My experience is that you get hassled less at borders if you have ‘original’ containers. And yes, you always have to know your prices because some things just aren’t a better deal.

  30. As far as candles go, generally they DONT smell when you burn them. However I’ve found one kind that do. They are in tiny little mason jars. I’ve had multiple scents and they are all great. But it needs to be in a smaller room based on the size of the candle unless you burn multiples

    1. Hey Daphne, thanks for stopping by! I’ll have try out those next time. You’re right, their candles rarely smell.

  31. Just thought that I should point out that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to find a lotion, hair care, or other beauty product that doesn’t have a warning stating that it contains something known to the state of California to cause cancer. To put it simply, the warning is only there so they can sell thier product in California. It doesn’t mean that it actually causes cancer. Because sadly, cancer is a thing that no one can truly pin down a cause for.

    1. Thanks for your comment Christina, I understand that a lot of the signs are there for precaution because the chemicals they use CAN be harmful. I’d rather try to find products with natural ingredients that may cost a little more. Just my personal preference, but everyone is different so I don’t expect everyone to agree.

  32. man it is veruy silly in my opinion to think that youcan find a better deal on anything at any store inside the us for the dollar that dollar tree charges you for their products.
    one dollar americonno is a deal most of the time in any part of the world for anything i do suppose.
    so i take it very suspicious that someone would post an article such this about duration of use or the longevity of batteries and buying carrots for 69 cents.where at!?
    ive bought batteries from dollar tree that didnt work but i also took them back and gotten some more without a hassle.
    you can find depleted batteries anywhere at any store possibly and i think to bring this tyype of argument to the table about a dollars store that helps poorer people is wrong because it encourages a very strong b ias against a store that has solved soem of the problems of being broke or without much money to buy certain things one needs or wants.
    i would nly question the safety of the goods at any store and that is that.
    cant say that dollar tree would hire me but fair is fair bad products can be anywhere and besides where are carrots at for 69 cent and what nutritional value do they have solo?thanks

  33. i just want to add that dollar tree has set the standard i think for a new beginning in customer value.
    they have taken the old school principles of the dollar as the root of wealth and used it in a way to help the poorer people while enjoying the fruits of their genius.
    i think that the new world as we live in it today should champion more manufacturers to lower their outrageous prices to make this world a better place and to give the average guy a chance to live and prosper.
    all products in myopinion should not exceed over two dollars sold as used and for brand new products they should not exceed 10 to 50 at most while keeping the same pay rates for the area specific the same so that people can enjoy what they work for more and more.
    i think its wrong that we have to choose when we buy a electronic device or car or anything and we dont have enough money to buy the associated accessories tha accomodate a better customer experience with possessing the item.
    just think about it.this applies to medicines and all items we need and wantin this world.
    if we dothis the world will be more safer and teher will be less tragedies because of greed and jealousy,and the poorer people will have a chance to have what theyve never had in life and give to their children and loved ones what they want after that friday paycheck or the welfare check or any paycheck that theyve had to work for.

  34. Pingback: 7 Pro Tips to Buy Better Quality at Ross Dress for Less - The Frugal Convert
  35. Thank you for your help & sacrifice weeding through & sharing your knowledge & experience!
    Much love to you & your family!!!!

  36. I left a comment but don’t know if it posted so I’m just commenting to say I like your helpful tips. I’ll try again to add my email to get more. Have a great day

    1. My mom used simple green too! I’ll have to try Awesome Orange soon and I’ll let my mom know that it’s similar to simple green. ?

  37. I agree with several things in your post. Yes, you get what you pay for. However, frozen fruit, such as blueberries, are a steal at the Dollar Tree. 12 oz bag of blueberries there compare to Walmart $3.00 for 16oz bag is a no brainer. There are also a few things on the canned vegetableand soup aisle every now then, such as soup starters, etc, that usually sell for $2.00 in grocery stores. Just watch those expiration dates. It’s all about pay attention and not assuming that businesses have the consumer’s best interest at heart.

    1. I agree Carol, it all about paying attention to unit price and other factors to see if you’re really getting a good deal. They don’t carry frozen blueberries at my location, so that’s awesome that they carry it at yours!!

  38. The biggest thing I buy at Dollar General Market is their
    Ground Chuck. It has the best taste and it only has a little bit of grease.
    We get ours when they have it for 25% off.
    I have a small upright freezer and it’s full of ground chuck
    There are more items from there as well

    1. Hey Jen, thanks for stopping by!!
      They have ground chuck?! That’s so awesome! I’d probably do the same and fill up on it too. ??

  39. I have been in education for 45 years. As a teacher, I have never seen the bargains on teaching supplies that I can find at the Dollar Tree. Teacher Supply stores sell the same things for $7-12 or more. I have never found the candy stale and it doesn’t break the bank to treat the children in my classes. Decorating for seasons and planning school parties is doable thanks to the Dollar Tree. Their dollar books are often by popular authors. Gift wrapping saves you tons. Love the store.

  40. I definitely do not agree with the batteries not lasting long and have actually tested it against Duracell with very little difference .

    1. Hi Shannon, perhaps I got a faulty pack? Mine didn’t last long at all. But, thanks so much for the feedback, I’ll try them out again!

  41. When you are only receiving Social Security each month it is very hard to make ends meet. ????. After paying rent, utilities and maybe put gas in your car, there isn’t much left over. So the Dollar Tree and the 99 cent only stores are all that I can afford for my husband and I for food shopping. Oh yes, we do receive from Calfresh (aka food stamps) total for both of us is $15.00 per month. So I do most all my shopping at these two stores. I only wish that most people to try living on Social Security only for a few months. And before someone makes a rude comment like, Get a job, I’m not able to do that either. I’m handicapped and now living with heart failure.

  42. Dermacil coco butter 10 oz tube is fantastic stuff. I’m very picky about lotions (smell/texture etc) and i love this stuff and stock up so I never have to be without it. Only negative for me is a twist top lid but hey, its awesome lotion for a buck and I haven’t found any i like better even for more money. Original unscented dermacil I do NOT like at all. I can still smell it and I don’t like that smell. Chap-Ice is also a go-to love purchase for me. They don’t carry it in my store now or at my dollar generals in the flavor I like but I found online at dollar tree free to ship to store. Have to buy a case but I know I love it so I will be stocked and I guess everyone will get one in their stockings at Christmas. Lol.

  43. Frosting, generic one is horrible. I like buying the smaller chocolate name brand one there, perfect size for a small pan of brownies vs large cake . Love finding the musselman apple pie filling, also hormel chicken tamales. I throw a can of them with wrappers removed, in a crockpot with velveeta (walmart brand is good) makes a yummy super easy dip. One mouthwash i got there was bad so have not tried again. I have read super reviews for their umbrellas, but have not seen them in store since then. ☹ supposedly better than the cheapest walmart umbrella 6 or 8 bucks, and only a BUCK. I hate getting wet so i have a house umbrella, a car umbrella, a bag umbrella etc. Potholder i got was thin and i could feel the heat through it. Garbage. I got cute dollar general ones that are working fine. I think they were a buck, too. Love the generic lysol wipes. They even have bonus packages often, and you get 5 or 10 extra free. I stock up on those and keep in kitchen and bathrooms for quick easy cleanups. I get my sharpies there, 2 or sometimes more in a pack for a buck and they work fine for me. Jot multi pack of scotch tape refills is super, 6 or 8 regular size rolls for a dollar. works great. I bought a tape dispenser there, too. So much nicer than using the tape that comes on a cheapie plastic dispenser for a buck or more for just one. Another item i love is the large thin cutting board sheets, comes in a 2 pack and its big enough to chop a whole head of lettuce etc and then you can bend it and dump everything into your bowl, pan etc. Easy peasy. Love the olives mentioned above, but will pay more elsewhere for sliced when i need sliced because I’m not slicing a can o olives. Lol.

    1. I agree about the potholders. Burned me once. Didn’t know their umbrellas were good, so I’ll have to try them out. Great tips!

  44. There are toxic chemicals in all brands of products…hair, skin, shampoo, air fresheners, cleaning products ect.!!

  45. Gina, I came across this detailed list of yours while googling “worst items to buy at the dollar store,” since I’ve been on a dollar store kick lately. Your article/list is the ONLY one I’ve found that is personalized, backed by anecdotes/experience with said products, and detailed in the descriptions as to WHY the products aren’t any good. The other articles cover the same basic items to avoid such as batteries and tools, but yours covers more ground… and thank you because dollar stores are huge and offer so many products. This list was a breath of fresh air! I was trying to think of something I had to offer though: I’m very happy with some of their cleaning brushes, (the ones with the handle), which can be used in the sink or in the tub. They’re super durable, so check those out in the cleaning aisle!

  46. Great article!!! I’m a Dollar Tree junkie. I buy their picture frames, cards, stocking stuffers, coloring books for the grandkids, sometimes they have a $1 DVD bin, books, red kitchen items and more. oh! when they have brooms, mops and toilet bowl brushes, I will grab. For $1 I think they do a fine job!!!

  47. Hi all,
    regarding toothpaste, soaps, and lotions: I run a nonprofit organization that receives donations for the less fortunate/homeless. We recently received an overwhelming donation of scented soap from a local manufacturer. it was brought to our attention that the soap contains Trisoclan, which is banned by the FDA. This chemical is used in a variety of personal care products. I urge everyone to thoroughly check the ingredients on these products and don’t use anything that has Triclosan. It’s dangerous to humans and the enviroment.

  48. Their tinfoil could not be thinner or you be able to see through it. Will never buy this at Dollar Store again as have to double it to achieve same as grocery version…and then it breaks so not sure double is enough. Not a savings!

  49. I don’t know about ya’ll but the Dollar Tree saved me. After 32 years I found myself divorced and broke….I survived with the help of the Dollar Tree. I was even able to surprise my 7 grandchildren with a little surprise. So, I don’t care how you feel about the quality or price per oz. sometimes it’s the little things that you can give pleasure to see a smile on your own grandchild’s face. Thank you Dollar Tree for letting me be a Mema.

  50. I live in a rural area where all our stores are pretty much private owned and not chain stores. We live outside a VILLAGE, not even a city and smaller than a town too! With the pandemic and the huge rise in food costs due to inflation most residents are shopping at one of our 2 dollar type stores. In the next town over, their administration is fighting and denying dollar store requests to build/allow them in their area. They only want their residents to shop at their high priced privately owned grocery markets. US reports the inflation rate at about 6% on food but somebody forgot to tell the merchants where I live! Our meats especially beef and smoked pork products have gone up 80-300%. Canned vegetables and fruit have gone up 50-75%. Margarine 50% and don’t even talk about butter or olive oil, they are off the charts. Now back to $ tree, I, too, am a selective shopper. No personal products but I love, love, love their wrapping papers, cards, seasonal decorations, office supplies, utensils, plastic storage baskets and kitchen linens. My best discovery was their aluminum stove burner pans. I can get them for one dollar (package of 8) whereas online “junk” catalogs sell the same package for $8-$10.00. I love to keep my stove and burner trays very clean and now this is affordable. My husband and I are both retired and I am in a wheelchair full time so anywhere I can save, I will. I scan websites and circulars for sales and when ever I can get a free shipping option, I am right there initiating an online order. High five for discount and dollar stores! As for history, whenever prices escalate due to whatever, the prices never seem to go back down to “normal” when the problem is resolved. Then it was also rumored that the grocery store owners were stockpiling their storage areas with merchandise bought at pre-pandemic prices so they could sell it at increased prices when the inflation hit and then make a greater profit!! Sad. Now dollar stores are talking about raising the dollar price to $1.25! Wonderful! Keep the tips coming! Very informative too.

  51. Dish towels and anything else fabric shrinks to 1/2 size. Tools or anything related to electronics break or just never work.
    GOOD buys: cards, gardening tools & pots, gift bags, books

  52. Avoid tortillas.. they always stick together in one large clump! I also avoid bagged candy. You will get very little for your hard earned money.

  53. I see this article is almost six years old, so obviously, it was still $1 prices.

    Big oversight is makeup. Never ever buy from there. They’re very bad for your skin.

    Their dish pans have become very flimsy over the last few years. I have one I bought years ago from them and it outlasted two others I bought within the last three years.

    I don’t agree with the medicine part. There is one grocery store that I can get a better deal on allergy tablets, but I just learned about it a few weeks ago. Dollar tree has been my go to for the tablets for years. With the exception of Grocery Outlet, you can’t beat 36 tablets for $1.25-and they work!!!

    I take them only a few times a year so one bottle can last me a few months. It’s one of the few items I buy there-greeting and note cards are the others.

    I bought them at GO because DT was out of them. Haven’t had a real chance to test them though.

    Unlike the dish pans, I never had an issue with other kitchenware. I have a set of measuring spoons/cups and spatulas I bought ??? They’re definitely a few years old.

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