Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My top ten "Dollar Store" deals and duds

One dolla make ya holla!  I've only briefly mentioned my love for dollar stores in this post, so today I want to expand on my favorite dollar store deals while also deterring you from dollar store duds.

Let's start with my top five fab finds* first, and and then I'll cover a list of five items to avoid.

1. Gift Wrap
One of my dream jobs growing up was to work at a department store gift wrap counter, but once I discovered gift wrapping wasn't exactly a lucrative career, I ultimately had to give that dream up. Boo!

Although I don't get paid to wrap gifts, I still love it and dollar stores are my go-to headquarters for all my gift wrapping needs including cards, which are only 50 cents each.  Their card selection is surprisingly pretty good. 

If I need seasonal wrapping paper during the holidays or something fun and girly for a bestie's birthday, you can find me perusing the gift wrap aisles at my nearby Dollar Tree for the cutest gift bags, bows, ribbon, wrapping paper and tissue.

2. Party Supplies
Last year I got my GTL on with a Jersey Shore themed birthday party (oh, yes I did) and i purchased all of my party supplies at the dollar store. 

If you're throwing a party and need balloons, cups, plates, table cloths or cutlery, you can find it all at dollar stores for cheaper than places like Party City, Wal-Mart and Target.  *insert obligatory fist pump*

3. Cleaning Supplies

[via] & [via]
While cleaning my crack den tops the list of my least favorite things to do and I certainly wish I could just turn off my lights, unfortunately, the health department takes issue with adults living in filth.  Dollar stores have some name brand cleaning products, but you'll also find a lot of off brand products that work just as well.

In addiction to cleaning products, I also like to buy disinfectant wipes, gloves, sponges and scrubbers at dollar stores.  Momma's gotta keep a clean house so Neicy Nash doesn't bust in on me for real.

 4. Seasonal & Holiday Items
Goodies from the Dollar Tree I used to make my nephew's Easter basket.  Read deets HERE
I got quite a bit of Christmas decor from dollar stores last year, which you can see HERE.  Some of their holiday and seasonal items can be extremely gaudy, but dollar stores do have some really cute stuff too. Obviously just use your discretion when shopping unless tacky decor is your thing, then be my guest.  I'm not going to judge. 

 5. Cooking and Dining Accessories
Since I'm not Kim Kardashian and I can't ask my friends and fam to buy me things like a $120 serving spoon, I have to slum it by shopping at the dollar store for my every day kitchen utensils. 

You should definitely splurge on items like sharp, durable kitchen knifes, but a lot of cooking accessories can be bought at dollar stores for 50 to 90 percent less than at Target or Wal-Mart.  Take that Kim K.

That concludes my faves, and now let's move onto the top five dollar duds to stay away from:
*Side note: I did read these actually work and some of you already commented that they do.  Just sayin' at first glance I wasn't so sure about dollar store preggers test. 

1. Vitamins - Apparently according to Consumer Reports, vitamins found in dollar stores don't always have the amount of nutrients claimed on the label.  I'm too lazy to take vitamins (I know, I know), but if I did take them, I'd certainly want them to at least be beneficial. 

2. Aspirin & other meds - Aspirin and other medications may be left on the shelf past their expiration dates. I don't know about you, but I'm not really comfortable taking OTC medicine sold for $1.  Call me crazy.

3. Electrical products - Dollar store electronics and extension cords may have fake UL labels and could be unsafe.  I'd prefer not to get electrocuted if I can help it, so I think I'll splurge on electronics elsewhere.  How 'bout you?

4. Toothpaste - In 2007, the FDA warned that many brands of toothpaste found at dollar stores carried a poisonous chemical found in antifreeze. Although recalls were issued, some of these products could still be on shelves, including toothpaste made to look like your favorite brands.  If you're like me and value your teeth, stay away.

5. Batteries - Cheap batteries may be prone to leakage, or most likely won't run as long as name brand batteries. 

And that concludes my dollar store guide, I hope you found some of this information useful.  At the very least, maybe this post stopped you from buying poisonous toothpaste.  And for that, you can thank me.

Can you think of any dollar store deals and duds I left off this list? 

*My all-time favorite thing to buy at dollar stores are bins that I use for organization.  I've already posted about dollar store organization, so I didn't cover them again in this post. If you need to catch-up, go to my "tidy" section by clicking HERE.
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  1. haha, I love this post. i used to go to $1 stores all the time in college becasue I could buy so much. I really should go more because you're right the gift wrap and party supplies are way cheaper and that's funny about the utinsils. Ya, Kim K's wedding registry is out of control! I can't believe there is a $1 pregnancy test, lol and that's scary about the toothpaste. Very informative! :) Hope you're having a good week xoDale

  2. the dollar store has these AHHMAZING oatmeal cookies with frosting on them that are absolutely DELICIOUS! i need them everytime i go in there!

    ok so this post was an eye opener because i never thought NOT to buy toothpaste or batteries there!

    the dollar store is great for holiday/party stuff...ive gotten some snazzy margarita glasses there and some christmasy things to put in my cubicle!

    love this!



  4. I definitely have purchased at the Dollar Store a lot. But a preg test?! No way!

  5. I buy SOOOOOOO much holiday decor at the dollar tree!! Their Christmas stuff is amazing!! From time to time I will pick up wrapping/gift stuff there but it usually isn't my number one place- I should do better about checking with them first. Especially for gift bags- I know I always see great ones in there but never think to go there when I need them.

    I do have to comment on the pregnancy test thing. Apparently the cheap tests are far more accurate than the pricey ones you can get. I never got any because I ordered the test strips from amazon (which are actually cheaper than the dollar tree ones!!) BUT I have read amazing things about those online. And if you're someone who has been trying for a long time to get pregnant, you SOON realize that you can't pay $15 for two tests. That is just dumb!!

    I I know that sounds crazy, but it is totally true! Seriously!

  6. AWESOME post! Loved it! so glad i read this because here I am in the planning stages of my little girls FIRST birthday party, for Sep 16, I know I gotta get on the ball! And well I am not made of money either, my mom suggested dollar store stuff i was like SORRY MOM not for her first birthday but maybe I otta look there and see what they have! :)

    Haha I dont watch that GLT show, ugh annoys me BUT i kinda wanna watch from beginning and try it out again. What did you do for that party? Sounds like fun! Please do share!

  7. i guess this falls under "party supplies" but dollar store is great for helium balloons! since you usually only need them to last a day or two anyway. the dollar store by me makes really nice displays of them!

    and jersey shore party??? why wasn't i invited??? LOL did you have a lot of guidos there? was there fist pumping?

  8. Growing up in NY City, we had the mom & pop 99 cent stores, OMG, I would be in there for hours...From accessories to fake tattoos. Now, in AZ, totally different story.

    & seriously, pregnancy test? Um yeah...

    xo SARMIN

  9. The dollar store pregnancy tests... they work, promise.

    Oh and I love me some dollar store deals! I was just there this week buying stuff to decorate my dad's office door for his birthday. So fun. And cheap. Love.

    I also got a bunch of decorations/plates/utensils/paper towels there for my sister-in-law's wedding shower that we threw a few weeks ago. Perfect for stuff like that!

    Oh and one more thing, I'm so going there to revamp my cleaning supplies bucket. I need a new tote, some snazzy spray bottles, etc. I love the picture of the cleaning supply basket you posted, do you have the direct link to where you found that on pinterest?

  10. I love the dolla stores!! We have two in our tiny town! Dos, for those that habla espanol, haha! I went there the other day and spent $45, no joke!! Ridic!

    I have friends that have bought those preggo tests at the dollar store and they were in fact correct. They didn't want to buy the expensive one first and have a sorry you're not preggo, youre just bloated answer...

    Especially when I had a bunch stored and found that my hubby decided to test some of them out to make sure he wasn't preggo. Umm, hello?!

  11. Loving this post!

    And the pregger test, well, it worries me. =)

  12. great post and so funny too! i love the dollar store for cleaning products and the occasional makeup find. I also always get my gift wrapping materials there. Surprisingly though, those pregnancy tests do really work and those are the ones they use in free clinics where they do std and pregnancy test (my ex b/f was a dr so he gave me the scoop on it lol)


  13. bahahaah this is great!
    i like to get my plastic sandwich bags from there!

  14. i never have such luck at the $1 store with finds like this. and at the $1 tree i get too frustrated b/c the isles are full of old ladies.

    also, do you think $1 store brand tampons are a no no? b/c i've gotten them before and paid for them with change. no lie...this happened last month.

  15. I'm an active member of the dollar store pregnancy test club. I found out about both my boys from these tests. I'm cheap EPT is like $20.

  16. I always get $ store seasonal decorations! Then I dont feel bad about throwing them away! And who the hell would trust a $ store preggo test? haha

  17. I totally 100% agree with this list!

    LOVE the gift wrap, party stuff, and seasonal items! So worth it to get it there! LOVE their organizational baskets too!

    I don't know who would buy pregnancy tests at the dollar store and actually expect them to be accurate!

  18. I love the Dollar Store for various reasons, but this post made me love it even more! During the holidays, my mom and I get all the stuff to make our gift baskets from DS and it saves us a bundle!!

  19. sadly i too am a member of the dollar tree pregnancy club! money well spent!

  20. Love love love this post! Such an eye opener. And you, my dear, are hysterical. You're a daily read that always makes me laugh! Thanks!


  21. Oh how I love me some Dollar Tree.

    I had no idea not to buy toothpaste there ... TG I don't, but still

  22. great post Lindsey Lee Lou. I was ROLLING at the pregnancy test. Oh lordy.


  23. Oh, I totally agree w/ your list... other than the pregnancy tests.

    Dollar Store/Tree tests are some of the most sensitive ones you can get. And pregnancy tests are actually not complicated (at all). Anyone who has spent a long time trying to conceive will tell you that Dollar Store/Tree brand are almost as reliable as First Response (one of the most expensive tests).

    I actually used to get like 5 or 6 of them at a time so I could test multiple times that month (yes, when trying to conceive us women get crazy). :)

  24. "cleaning my crack den" bahahaha. great post! i so use the dollar store for all of my cleaning supplies. (and also to stock my candy jar for the office, but don't tell them that.)

  25. Yup, this sounds pretty on point! Dollar Stores are great for party things and gift bags and any little knick-knacks. But toothpaste? I'll stick to the good stuff!

  26. my momma swears by dollar store gift wrap and cards! i'm going to have to find one near me b/c i HATE paying for cleaning supplies!

    haha - the preggers test cracked me up. does your mama read your blog ;)

    and WHOA good to know about the toothpaste! antifreeze? no bueno!

  27. Love this post, I totally agree! I lol'ed at the gift wrapping comment b/c my grandma worked for Lazarus during the holiday season wrapping gifts for extra cash, ha! She loved it (and also loved saving used wrapping paper)...

    CRACKING up about the prego tests, ha!

  28. literally laughed outloud when I saw the pregnancy test

  29. Another great dollar store buy are hair bands! Especially since I lose mine all the time.

  30. great post!! I love dollar stores! I need to remember to buy my cleaning supplies if I'm really going to clean the house...but they are still good to have!

  31. I buy my gift wrap and seasonal decor at the dollar store too! Last Halloween they had these glittery skull decorations I kept seeing all over the blogging world at super expensive prices-imagine my surprise when I found them for a dollar! I used to buy notebooks and pens for school there too and stuff for sorority socials and recruitment.

  32. I get all my pimp cups from dollar stores lol! They are always outrageous and fun. Last ones I bought were florescent green flamingos.

    I also buy all gift wrapping supplies there!

  33. Ohhhhhhhh another thing I miss. I think you should start a separate blog and do cheap finds under $100 in Bergen, Norway. Kidding!!!

    I can't believe a preg test is on here! I'd love to test it and see if it works, but then again I wouldn't because it would mean I'd be pregnant and no can do.

    But I agree with dollar store stuff like bins and storage baskets. That is usually what I would find there :)

  34. this makes me want to go shopping at the dollar store ... of course not for toothpaste, that scares me, haha.

    as for the pregnancy tests i heard they actually do work too ... i've never used one but i hear that many moms to be don't believe it the first time they see the positive line so they take several tests ... and a regular preggo test is super expensive so i get it. i'll probably be one of those too, haha.

  35. LOL dollar store pregnancy test. I wonder how many people get those there.

  36. haha. i love this post. i just spend the better part of sunday at a dollar store. the place totally sucks you in. haha. thanks for another amazing post. Would love if you'd check out my latest post featuring pictures from my Mad Hatter themed engagement party. Thanks love. xoxo

  37. Love the dollar store! I can find cheap office supplies and items for teaching! Everything is so much better than a teaching store of target type store could give me. Also, I heard getting food from the dollar store can be unsafe so I never buy food or drinks.

  38. I always wonder about the food and drinks too...sometimes I buy candy for the kids in my class. I may have to resort to buying pregnancy tests there...or buy stock in Clear Blue Easy...or get preggo already! Thanks for the run down, I also like to buy helium balloons there (rando, I know) but cheap!

  39. Loves this!! I'm totally jealous that you had a Jersey Shore Birthday party! PS. I love their clear vases. I use them for centerpieces for like....everything

  40. I also vouch for the pregnancy tests. They retail for about $15/each, so it can add up, while you're waiting "for sure for sure." I have two boys that are living proof of the accuracy. It's a pretty simple test, either you are pumping out the preggo hormone, or you're not. No 'lol' here, just common sense. No need to waste your dollahs.
    Also-- everything I need for the classroom (hand sanitizer, cleanser, towels, cheap props, baskets, plastic tablecloths, swag).

  41. I have to also say that the pregnancy tests have worked for me....the first time, I conceived using ivf, so the test was done at the Dr;s office...but I was in denial, so my $Tree pregnancy tests confirmed, and I have the 3 yr old to prove it...
    My second baby was a little surprise...I thought I had a cold and a friend suggested that I stop doping myself up with cold medicine and take a pregnancy test...I dug one out that expired 01/ took the test on New Yr's Day 2010 and it was positive. My bambino arrived Aug 2010!

    And while I talking about babies..let me also vouch for the batteries for their toys....they have too many toys that require $Tree batteries make wonderful backups! I used them in the baby swing too! They worked fine, and I never noticed a difference.....!

  42. I have 2 kids both detected with Dollar Store tests LOL. The first time I followed up with a more expensive name brand test to be sure, the second time I believed it for sure!

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