Laundry Detergent and Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies are expensive, so you might think buying them from a dollar store is saving you some money. However, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies from the dollar store aren’t made from quality chemicals. The supplies tend to be watered down and the chemicals used are often an off-brand. Also, they occasionally leave an unpleasant odor or stain after you use them. If you want to save money on these products, consider making your own laundry detergent and making chemical free cleaning supplies.
Most of the batteries for sale at dollar stores aren’t brand name batteries that you can find in the convenience store or supermarket. You can usually find a package of 4 AA or AAA batteries for $1, but the batteries won’t last as long as the brand name batteries. Their life expectancy is around 1/16th of the life expectancy of a brand like Duracell. This is caused by the chemical makeup used in the dollar store variety batteries. You don’t want to keep replacing your batteries every few weeks, do you? If you need of a lot of low quality batteries, you may be able to get free batteries from your local drug store.
If you constantly take sandwiches or snacks to work or school, you know how quickly you can go through a box of sandwich baggies. Dollar store sandwich bags usually come in boxes of 13 or 25. At a regular grocery or convenience store, sandwich bags usually come in a pack of 150 for around $3 or $4. If you have a coupon, you can buy them for as low as $1.50.
It might seem like a great deal to buy a box of brownie or cake mix for $1, but you’re actually losing money. Most of those boxes are only 9 oz, which is half the size of the normal cake mixes in the supermarket. For a normal cake pan, you’d need to buy at least two $1 boxes. Cake mix in the supermarket is around $2.99. But cake mixes are constantly on sale for $1. Even with a $1 off coupon, you’d only be paying $2. It’s worth it to buy boxed mixes at the supermarket and get the full sized box instead of the smaller 8 or 9 oz version.
Many dollar store items are generic or off-brand products. For some items, this won’t make a difference. For others, this makes a gigantic difference. Avoid substitute food items like sugar replacements, syrups, sauces, or spices. Generally, the content within the package will be lower, such as 40 packets instead of the normal 100, or 6 oz instead of 12 oz. But the ingredients are also questionable, as well as something you should avoid at all costs.
Like the other food products on this list, the quantity of candy is less than what you’d find in a convenience or grocery store. Those small bags of generic candy are usually around 8 oz and full of more air than candy. You’d be better off buying one of those giant tubs or candy from the supermarket or paying for bulk candy at a discount store.
Buying razors from a dollar store is great if you’re in a pinch and need something as soon as possible. However, buying them for constant use should be avoided. Dollar store razors are made from very cheap materials and won’t provide a thorough shaving job. Shaving razors are definitely something you might want to spend more money on, so that they last longer making your per use cost lower. You can even further reduce the costs of razors by extending their life.
Vitamins and Allergy Medication
If you’re worried about the cost of vitamins and allergy medications at the pharmacy, don’t make the mistake of buying a cheap knock-off alternative. The generic brands at the pharmacy are usually suitable if you’re looking to save money. The versions at the dollar store aren’t generic brands, but rather imitations that are close to the original vitamin or medication. “Close” means that the medication or vitamin could have some unusual substance added, which could negatively affect you. When it comes to your health, better to be safe than sorry! You may also want to consider the many other alternatives to saving money on vitamins.
Extension Cords and Power Strips
Extension cords and power strips are items that almost every home has. Buying them from a dollar store isn’t a good idea, though. They’re made with cheap, flimsy plastic that is not only a fire hazard, but won’t protect your electronics. When it comes to your electronics, it’s better to buy these items from a department store or hardware store. At most, they’ll cost you $10, but they’ll last you for a long time and will protect your products.
Oven Mitts and Work Gloves
If you’re looking for a cheap pair of oven mitts or work gloves, dollar store products might suit your needs, but think twice before purchasing them. The gloves are often made from very cheap materials, making them incredibly thin. You wouldn’t want to take a pan out of the oven only to feel the heat through the oven mitts, would you?
Is The Dollar Store The Best Value?
There is a concept in economics called a false economy. Per wikipedia, a false economy is something that initially costs less, but over the long run results in more money being wasted than saved. For example, a consumer might buy a used car to save money. However if the less expensive car has a history of substantial repair costs, the consumer may lose money on repair costs in the long run. The point here is that many dollar store items are a false economy – they’re so cheaply made that they’ll fall apart and need replacement. Meaning you won’t have saved much money at all.
So, The next time you head to the dollar store, remember to consider more than the price before you buy. When you focus on the good deals and avoid the bad ones, you’ll find that you get the most from your dollar store visits.
Are there other items you would definitely never buy at the dollar store? Share with us in the comments below!
(Photo courtesy of Cosmic Kitty)