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19 things to buy at the dollar store that will save you money

Not everything is a great buy, but these things are.

This is what to get at the dollar store Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

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If thrift were a religion, the dollar store would be a place of worship. You step inside, and thousands of items hastily stacked on shelves greet you, each only costing a dollar–or thereabouts. Elation fills your spirit as you think about all the deals you'll get.

That said, the devil is in the details. Only certain items in the dollar are worth the low price tag. Batteries, pet food, and knives are better sought at other establishments—and some things at the dollar store could be dangerous. Putting those aside, these are the 19 items you should always get at the dollar store.

1. Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

When it comes to greeting cards, it's the thought that really counts.

When it comes to greeting cards, it really is the thought that counts. If you're sending a card to someone who expects a fancy, singing monstrosity, then they are not worth sending a card to–unless they are a small child.

2. Spices

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Freshness is more important than price, when it comes to spices.

It's not about where you get your spices, but how you use them. The potency of spice is based on its freshness. If the expiration date is a ways off, then the stuff inside is good to go!

3. Mailing Supplies & Stationary

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

A high-priced envelope doesn't make the letter get there any faster.

The quality of envelopes don't vary enough to warrant an increase in price. The ones you find in the dollar store will suffice. Spending a lot on envelopes won't make them get to their destination any faster.

4. Reading Glasses

Reading glasses
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Can you read this screen through those glasses? Good enough.

Reading glasses should be all about functionality. If you can read this list with them, then it doesn't matter where they came from.

5. Gift Wrapping Supplies

Wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons can all be had at the dollar store.

Nine times out of ten, bows and wrapping paper get torn anyways. As long as the recipient knows what you're giving them is a present, then it's about what's inside.

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6. Name-Brand Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning Supplies
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

You can find smaller versions of your favorite name-brand cleaning supplies at the dollar store.

Remember what you find at the dollar store is probably going to be smaller than what you find at other retailers. As long as you're okay with getting less, what's inside the package is just the same.

7. Rubber Gloves

Rubber gloves don't really increase in quality with price.

The science of modern rubber was perfected in the 19th century. Gloves at the dollar store were created by the same process. That means they'll protect your hands from the scourge of soapy water as well as any pair bought at a nice store.

8. Storage Containers (for non-food items)

If there are no cracks, the container is good.

As long as there aren't any holes or cracks, one container is much the same as the next one. However, food containers should be avoided, as dollar store variants are more likely to contain toxins.

9. Hair Elastics

Hair Elastics
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

You loose half of them anyways, so why spend a fortune?

If it's stretchy, it's good. Don't spend a lot on hair elastics because you're going to lose half of them anyways.

10. Picture Frames

Picture Frame
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

It's what is inside the frame that matters.

It's what's inside the picture frame that counts. Aside from dusting, most picture frames receive minimum handling, so they don't need to be made from top-notch material.

11. Ornaments

Ornaments don't need to be pricey to bring Christmas cheer.

Ornaments only need to look good one week out of the year. Unless you're one of those people that keep their tree up year round. Let your kids help decorate the tree, and if a few ornaments break, it's okay because you only spent a dollar on them.

12. Socks

Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

For everyday wear, socks from the dollar store are good enough.

We're not talking about socks for hiking or working out. Dollar store socks are about sitting around the office or keeping your feet warm at home.

13. Tin Foil

The only thing that matters is if the foil is heavy duty or not.

There are only two kinds of aluminum foil: heavy duty and not. All other distinctions are moot. You can spend a lot on name-brand foil, but it doesn't protect your food any better.

14. Coffee Filters

The bean and preparation method is more important than the filter.

Just admit it, you drink coffee for the caffeine. As long as the filter doesn't keep that out of the cup, you'll be happy. Besides, a good cup of joe is about the method of preparation and the quality of the beans.

15. Balloons

Even the priciest balloons deflate into a sad state.

It's not like you're going to reuse them. You can get the most expensive balloon in the world, and it'll still deflate over into a sad state.

16. Party Supplies

The life party shouldn't revolve around the decorations.

Parties should be about the guests, not the decorations. If you're relying on your decorations to make the party, you're doing it wrong.

17. Drinking Glasses

After a cycle in the dishwasher, dollar store glasses are just fine.

The theory that drinking glasses are about all the same holds water. Fancy glasses aren't going to make your orange juice taste any better.

18. Vases

A fancy vase won't make your flowers last any longer.

See drinking glasses. As long as your flowers are getting water, they don't care how much the vase costs. With a little hunting, you can find vases that are as attractive as any you find at a department store.

19. Towels

Towels used in the garage or around the house for cleanup don't need to be fancy.

Towels that you use in the garage or for cleaning up around the house should come from the dollar store. Just give them a wash first and don't use these for post-showering, as cheap towels can shed fibers like nobody's business and nobody wants that on their skin.

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