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30 Items You Should Never Buy At the Dollar Store

Paper Towels

Paper Towels

Yes, the package of paper towels may be less expensive at the dollar store, but be sure to compare the thickness of the paper towel brands and the number of towels per roll in each package. You may not be getting as much as you think you are for the price. Most packaging has the total number of feet of paper towels.

While you may find five rolls for $1 at one store, those rolls may only have 500 ft of absorbable material. Other "expensive" brands may have five rolls in a package for $2, the total length could be over 1,000 ft of absorbable material—which would actually save you money compared to the "cheap" package. More expensive paper towels may also absorb more liquid, meaning that you use less material per spill so their package may actually last you longer than a cheaper brand.

Oven Mitts

Oven Mitts

Oven mitts will do the job...sort of--as long as you don't mind a stray burn here and there. Cheaper offerings are not nearly as thick and often don't offer as much protection for your hands. So, if you're grabbing a reheated dish from the microwave, you'll probably be fine. But pulling something out of the oven that's been in there for hours? You might want to double up, but then where's the savings?

 

Your hands will be safer if you opt for thicker mitts from another store. Oven mitts have not historically been a high-priced luxury item, so why not toss out a few more bucks for something that's going to be much higher quality? In the long run, it'll be worth the extra money, and your hands will thank you. 

Trail Mix

Trail Mix

Buying any sort of food from the dollar store can be a real hit or miss experience, but trail mix is a specific product you should avoid at all costs. It's got quite a long shelf life, so there's no telling how long that bag of off-brand trail mix has been chilling out on the dollar store shelf. 

There's a big risk that the chocolate will taste artificial and the nuts may be stale in an unfamiliar dollar store trail mix. This is another one of those products that don't cost much more than a dollar to begin with, so go on and treat yourself. A little high-quality trail mix never bankrupted anyone. 

Picture Frames

Picture Frames

The first problem with dollar store picture frames is one that affects most products there--they're poorly made from cheap materials. Your personal memories deserve better than a shoddy frame that's not going to do its job well. This is especially true for frames that have a built-in stand--those things never seem to be able to actually support the weight of the frame. 

The second problem with dollar store frames is the lack of variety when it comes to sizes and designs. Need a frame for something that's outside of typical dimensions? Not gonna happen at the dollar store. Want a frame that looks like its one-of-a-kind? Once again, that's not happening if you're only paying a dollar. 

Tennis Shoes

Tennis Shoes

Wait, dollar store shoes actually exist? It turns out they do, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who's a fan of them. You absolutely get what you pay for when you opt for these cheapest of the cheap shoes, and what you get is a dollar's worth of low quality, poorly designed footwear. 

 

If you're purchasing shoes for working out, you probably won't find dollar store versions that provide adequate support. This can lead to fatigue and potential injury. When you're dealing with your physical wellbeing, doesn't your body deserve more than shoes that just cost a buck or two? Your feet would agree! 

Diapers

Diapers

Purchasing any sort of item for babies at the dollar store is a real gamble, but that goes double for critical things like diapers. There's no telling what they're made of, but for a dollar a pack, you can be sure that it's nothing that good. You're likely to have one grumpy kid on your hands if you're opting for diapers that are cheap and uncomfortable. 

Thankfully, there's still a great way to save on diapers if you're a parent who's deadset on finding a great deal. It's as simple as buying in bulk. You won't have to deal with any sketchy dollar store brands, but you'll still be paying less per diaper than you would by buying a normal pack at the store. 

Baby Bottles

Baby Bottles

Dollar store baby bottles are another no-go item for kids. This is one place where quality (should) matter to you. Many products in the dollar store are from little-known brands that you've never heard of--are you really going to trust them when it comes to something your baby will have in their mouth on a daily basis? 

Plus, variety is not something the dollar store is known for, and many parents like to be picky when it comes to items for their kids. Parents have all sorts of preferences for baby bottle sizes, shapes, styles, and durability. The dollar store has a limited selection that falls on the lower end of that quality spectrum.

Flashlights

Flashlights

A dollar flashlight might sound like a deal when you're at the checkout counter, but you might end up paying more than you expected in the long run. First of all, no one should expect a cheap flashlight to be as durable or long lasting as a high-quality one that you spent some decent money on. 

And even if you don't mind shelling out a buck every few weeks for a new flashlight, you probably don't want them to fail at a critical moment. Nothing would make an emergency situation even worse than your emergency tools failing on you at just the wrong time. Save yourself the grief and shell out a few more bucks for a good one. 

Shower Curtain Rods

Shower Curtain Rods

Something as basic and relatively unimportant as a shower curtain rod is fine to buy at the dollar store, right? Turns out that's not the case! You might not think very often about the quality of your shower curtain rods, but it's all you'll be thinking about if they're not doing their job properly. 

Flimsy tension rods sag in the middle with or without the weight of a shower curtain. This will make your shower look neglected, so hold out for a more expensive, heavyweight rod. You should probably go ahead and throw out that dollar store shower curtain while you're at it too!

Bras

Bras

A good rule of thumb is this--if you're going to be wearing it on your body, maybe don't buy it at the dollar store. Those savings might sound nice in theory, but you won't care one bit about the few bucks you saved when you're wearing a bra that just will not cooperate. 

As light on support and breathability as they are on price, you can get greater comfort by purchasing more expensive bras elsewhere. This is an investment piece, so splurge a little. The longer you use a high-quality bra, the more money you're saving by not having to buy replacement bras. 

Sleeping Bags

Sleeping Bags

Just because they sell sleeping bags at the dollar store doesn't mean you actually have to buy one. They might be sleeping bags in the most technical sense--a bag you can fall asleep in--but don't expect any sort of good night's sleep if you're skimping on this critical piece of camping gear. 

Don't expect comfortable padding or superior warmth from a dollar store sleeping bag, so you might want to bring a blanket or two on your next outing if you've bought one. Your kids probably won't find them decorated with their favorite character, either. It's best to spend a little more now to prevent discomfort in the future. 

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping Paper

It can be tempting to purchase things like wrapping paper from the dollar store considering its purpose. If people are just going to tear it up and throw it away, does it really matter if you've bought the best of the best? While nobody needs luxury wrapping paper, if you buy it from the dollar store, you may find it getting torn up before anyone actually opens a present. 

It's not a bargain if you have to double up so that the present doesn't show and no sharp box corners start poking out. It pays to check the amount on the roll, as well. Sure, it's just a dollar, but is it worth it if you're only getting a few yards? You may be able to find a diamond in the rough, but you're chances are greater at a slightly more expensive store. 

Car Floor Mats

Car Floor Mats

Nothing gets more foot traffic than a car floor mat! For it to do its job, it must have an adequate thickness, size, and and shape. Dollar store mats just don't live up! They come in limited sizes & shapes and are not heavy duty. Plus, the cheaper you go, the more likely you'll end up with something that has that weird plastic chemical smell. 

Car mats can be a little pricey, and there's no need to empty your savings account for the best of the best, but buying from the dollar store is not a viable way to save money. Investing in mats that will last for a very long time is the best way to actually get a good deal. 

Batteries

Batteries

Nothing you buy at the dollar store is made to last—and that includes batteries. They might just be a dollar, but they're not priced that way out of the goodness of anyone's heart. Instead, they're priced that way because they only provide you a dollar's worth of value (if that). 

 

Buy batteries made my brands you trust; they'll last a lot longer than anything you can buy for $1, so you end up saving in the long-run. Plus, cheaply made batteries run a higher risk of leaking corrosive liquid into whatever sort of electronic you've got them installed in. They're not worth the risk! 

Cheese

Cheese

Not everyone is a cheese connoisseur who requires high-quality, crazy expensive cheeses. For most of us, sliced cheese will do just fine. But you don't have to be a foodie to know that cheese is not a product you should be buying at the dollar store. Don't believe us? Just ask your taste buds.  

You know those nasty, plastic-feeling single-sliced packs of cheese you can buy for super cheap? Yeah, that's what's at the dollar store. Unless you just enjoy eating plastic (you do you), don't buy it. A package of pre-sliced cheese isn't much more than a dollar at a regular grocery store anyways. 

Feminine Products

Feminine Products

In a pinch, dollar store feminine hygiene products will get the job done, but it won't be a pleasant experience. This is another one of those instances where you should treat your body to something more than the cheapest products you can find. It will be worth every penny you spend. 

If you want to be comfortable during that time of the month, shop elsewhere for feminine products. All you'll find at the dollar store is cardboard tampons and cheaply made pads. Like we said earlier, they'll get the job done, but you'll probably be miserable through the entire experience. 

Packing Tape

Packing Tape

Packing tape is a product meant to keep boxes together, and some of those might be holding breakables or highly personal objects. Is it really worth saving a few bucks to risk them? Because there's no denying that dollar store packing tape doesn't hold up nearly as well as the high-quality name brands. 

It'll take at least five layers of dollar store packing tape to keep your packages sealed, so you're better off buying not-as-cheap, name brand packing tape in the long-run. Once again, we have another product here that doesn't typically cost much more than a dollar at regular stores, so cross packing tape off of your dollar store shopping list. 

Pet Food

Pet Food

Yes, good pet food can be pricey—but that's because it's packed with good nutrients for your pet! The only thing that dollar store pet food is packed with is filler and unhealthy ingredients. Sounds delicious and nutritious. If you really love Rufus, you won't let him eat cheap dollar store pet food.

We know that people can go overboard with their fancy, high priced dog and cat food, and that's just as much of a mistake too. But there's no denying that dollar store pet food is not going to provide your furry loved ones with adequate nutrition. There's definitely a happy medium between dirt cheap and overpriced. 

Skin Care

Skin Care

If you're buying skin care, it's probably because you're worried about wrinkles and pimples, right? Well, I hate to break it to you—but $1 won't go very far in those particular battles. Plus, you can never be sure that those strange brands you've never heard of aren't packing their products with strange ingredients that have no place being applied to your skin. 

There's no getting around the fact that beauty isn't cheap, so you've got to be willing to pay if you want to see tangible results. However, dollar store skincare products are in good company--even a lot of more expensive products at the drugstore aren't worth your money, either! This might be one area where you're going to have to shell out some serious dough. 

Tools

Tools

If you're looking to fix something, dollar store tools are not the way to go. They probably won't last more than a few uses before they'll need repairs themselves! Tools are one area where you want to worry more about quality than price--the longer your tools stay functional, the more money you'll save in the long run. 

So, put down the dollar store hammer and step away from the cheap screwdriver! If you take good care of your (high quality) tools, you might only need to purchase them once in your life. Doesn't that sound much nicer than swinging by the dollar store once a week to buy replacements? 

Coffee

Coffee

If you need a caffeine fix ASAP and don't care about the taste, then sure, go ahead and "splurge" on some dollar store coffee. But for those of us who don't want to drink hot dirt, we've got to look elsewhere to get our java. It's no secret that dollar store food can be really hit or miss, but it's definitely a miss when it comes to coffee. 

The coffee choices at the dollar store are basic. If you like a wide variety of gourmet blends and whole beans from which to choose, save this purchase for a different store. At the dollar store, you're likely to only find small, unfamiliar brands and products that have probably been sitting on the shelves for way too long. 

Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper

Dollar store toilet paper might sound like a great deal at first--it's a household product that you have to buy on a regular basis, after all. However, once you open a package and see that it's just slightly thicker than tissue paper, you might begin to have second thoughts about all those savings. 

There are plenty of overpriced toilet paper brands out there that you should avoid, but you're definitely not going to encounter any of those at the dollar store. You may as well go ahead and buy a quality brand because once you see how bad it is from the dollar store, you'll be buying the more expensive stuff anyways. 

Toys

Toys

Kids' toys from the dollar store seem like the perfect match. Most children are going to pretty quickly break their toys anyways, so why spend much more than a dollar on them in the first place? However, even by kid standards, dollar store toys just don't hold up like they need to.

Plus, you've always got to be on the lookout for safety hazards, too, and it seems like dollar store toys have had more than their fair share of problems in that department. From overheating electronics to small parts that posed an unexpected choking hazard, dollar store toys have had quite a few recalls over the years.

Extension Cords

Extension Cords

There's no point in saving some money if you're going to put your safety into jeopardy, and that's what could happen if you opt for dollar store electrical cords. Typically, you're going to want to avoid anything remotely related to electricity when it comes to dollar store goods, and that includes something as simple as a cord.

Like everything else at the dollar store, electrical cords typically aren't made with a lot of love and attention. They're typically pretty flimsy and ready to fall apart if you look at them the wrong way. Unfortunately, "flimsy" is not a word you want to describe your conduit for lethal amounts of electricity.

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Tis the season to save some money! But don't skimp on the Christmas lights! Even though they're cheap, it's not a terrible idea to get your holiday decor at the dollar store, but that doesn't extend to things like lights. For your holiday enjoyment and your safety, it's best to spend a little more on them.

As we've said before, electricity and the dollar store don't mix, and when you buy Christmas lights there, you're likely to end up with a product that hasn't been designed or safety tested to the highest standards. Decking your halls with faulty wires is an easy way to start a fire, and there's no time worse for that than the holidays.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and Supplements

Taking charge of your health is important, but you're not going to find any useful help for doing that at the dollar store. They might sell vitamins and other health supplements, but you're really not getting your money's worth if you're only shelling out a dollar for a bottle of them.

According to previous tests on dollar store vitamins and supplements, the label is not always honest about what’s in the bottle--with some brands not having the vitamin quantities that they claim. If you want a good-quality supplement, it's best to spend a little bit extra so that you know you're getting a quality product.

Knives

Knives

Like most things sold at the dollar store, their cheap knives are not meant to last very long. In some cases, that's not an absolute deal breaker, but it's a different story when it comes to knives. Things can go bad real quickly when the knife you're using starts to fall apart in your hands.

You want to make absolutely certain that a knife isn't going to slip out of its handle, but unfortunately, that's exactly what dollar store knives have a tendency of doing. When buying knives at any store, always look for ones where the metal goes all the way to the base of the handle--those are the ones least likely to slip out of place.

Makeup

Makeup

It can be expensive to look good, and that's why so many people can't resist the siren call of dollar store makeup products. However, there's nothing glamorous about low-quality products, and that's exactly what you're likely to find on the shelves of dollar stores nationwide. And that's just if you're lucky!

For the unlucky, you're likely to encounter products from unknown brands that are full of sketchy, cheap ingredients. There would be nothing worse than saving on your makeup bill only to be hit with a medical bill after a severe allergic reaction. Those kinds of reactions can happen with high-quality makeup too, but it's a much bigger gamble when you're dealing with cheap products.

Plastic Food Containers

Plastic Food Containers

If you're looking for food storage options, look elsewhere besides the dollar store. According to some studies, these cheap food containers sometimes utilize harmful chemicals that are known carcinogens or otherwise unhealthy chemicals that shouldn't be ingested by humans. Sometimes, these chemicals can actually seep into the food you're storing, which is going to create all sorts of problems for you.

That being said, if you're looking for containers to store non-food items, the dollar store might actually be a good option for you. Those containers won't be the sturdiest you'll find, but if that's not an issue, than they could save you some real money. It's a dollar store silver lining!

Soda

Soda

Avoiding soda at the dollar store isn't about low-quality ingredients or health concerns--those are issues that all sodas have to deal with! Rather, the reason you should avoid dollar store soda is plain and simple: a lot of times it's just a good, old fashioned rip-off. This is one instance where the dollar store might actually be more expensive than the alternatives.

If you're trying to save money on soda, you always want to figure out the price per liter. Sure, that liter at the dollar store only costs you a buck, but name brand sodas typically aren't much more than a dollar for a two-liter bottle. If you're spending a dollar per liter when a better brand is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 75 cents per liter, that's just a rip off plain and simple!