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What Not to Buy at the Dollar Store – Our Top Five

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Myself and pretty much anybody else I talk to is always looking for that great deal and to save a buck or two. A lot of people head to the dollar store to save money instead of clipping coupons, and while dollar stores are great for buying some things, there are a few items you should never buy there. Here’s our Top 5.


Getty Images
Getty Images

Toys


 
 

They're cheap and since the old adage, "You get what you pay for" is almost always true, the toy will usually break and you'll just end up having to buy another toy. You also have to worry about what's in the paint. The one toy exception is coloring books. Those are usually about half as expensive as they are at discount retailers and toy stores.

 
Amazon
Amazon

Batteries


 
 

Generic batteries are made with carbon zinc and not lithium. That's why they're always wearing down. Generic dollar store batteries are also more prone to leakage which can get on your skin and clothing and also damage electronics. I accidentally put generic batteries in my Game Boy that I'd had since I was nine and it got ruined.

 
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Getty Images

Vitamins


 
 

Consumer Reports found that dollar store multi-vitamins don't always have as many nutrients in them as the label says they do. You should buy shampoo and cleaning products at the dollar store. It has the same ingredients and costs $2 to $3 less than the national brands. I buy my cleaning products at the dollar store. They may be slightly diluted and you probably need to use more, but since it's $1 why not? Sponges are usually OK, too.

 
Getty Images
Getty Images

Aluminum Foil


 
 

Costco sells three 100 foot rolls of foil for $10. Dollar stores usually sell 25 foot rolls for $1, so to get the same 300 feet of foil you'd have to spend $12 at the dollar store. Plus, generic tin foil and plastic wrap is never as good as the name brand stuff. Spices are expensive, so if you go through some of them like cinnamon, parsley and pepper a little more quickly than the others, get them at the dollar store. They're a lot cheaper than they are at the grocery store. The dollar store probably won't have as good of a selection, but if you can save money on the basics, why not? Just make sure you check the expiration dates.

 
Amazon
Amazon

Extension Cords and Power Strips


 
 

Stay away from the dollar store for these. They're made with very flimsy plastic and they can damage your electronics and lights. Same thing goes for computer wires and USB cables. Greeting cards, Christmas decorations and gift wrap can cost 30 to 70 percent less at the dollar store. The paper quality may not be as good, but gift wrap just goes in the fireplace and it all burns the same regardless of how much you spent.

 

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