Dollar stores are awesome. OK, I know they have been boosting their prices just a bit, but who doesn’t like to get cards and wrapping paper for cheap? 

There are plenty of items you can purchase with confidence at these places, but there are some things that even a dollar-store junkie like myself won’t purchase. 

1. Cosmetics

don't buy at makeup dollar stores

I know there is some disagreement on this, but unless you are very young, you don’t want to purchase your makeup at a dollar store. Our skin is too important to use cheap makeup.

If the dollar store happens to be selling a name brand you trust, go for it. If not, keep it out of your cart.

Also, check the expiration date on the package to make sure you are not buying an expired product.

2. Steak

Generic food and store-brand food are great. But, honestly, buying a steak at a dollar store is a little suspect. 

A steak from a dollar store is likely tough as leather, injected with all kinds of a solution to tenderize it, or as skinny as a piece of paper.

Get your plates and napkins here, but buy your steaks at a grocery store, preferably when they are on sale.

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3. Headphones/Earbuds

don't buy head phones at dollar stores

Quality matters when it comes to electronic devices. I know from experience the annoyance I get when I have foolishly bought earbuds from a dollar store right before flying on a vacation.

When I settled in on the plane and started to watch a movie on my device, the crackling and one-sided sound drove me crazy!

And, if you have ever bought dollar-store earbuds, you know how uncomfortable they are in your ears.

Listen to me, stay away from the headphones and earbuds, please!

4. Vitamins and Supplements

If your health is a priority enough for you to consider taking vitamins, then your physical well-being is worth more than cheap ones.

Regulations are spotty when it comes to vitamins, so you probably shouldn’t trust brands you’ve never heard of. 

Consider other stores for vitamins and supplements for the health of it.

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5. Hair Coloring

don't buy hair dye at dollar stores

Coloring your hair can get expensive, even when done at home. So, I understand why picking up hair coloring products at the dollar store is an attractive proposition. 

But, your hair is your “crowning jewel.” You want to make sure you don’t treat it harshly with off-brand hair coloring products that can damage it.

So, stick to brands you trust.

One caveat would be if it is a temporary coloring product for a costume or something, but even that is a bit iffy.

6. Batteries

Another tempting purchase at dollar stores are batteries.

The top brands are expensive, so snapping up four for a buck is enticing. But, are they really worth it?

The reality is they just don’t supply a lot of power and run out quickly. If you need batteries for a clock or some other low-drain device, then you might be OK.

But, be warned: I’ve used these cheap batteries for my Roku streaming stick remote, and they don’t last long.

Batteries from a dollar store may cost you more in the long run because you will be replacing them more often than you would expect.

7. Coffee


Good to the last drop is not something you are going to get from a dollar store coffee purchase.

If you need your caffeine to get you moving in the morning, you may want to stay away from the off-label coffee grounds from a dollar store. You want better coffee, not bitter coffee.

And, don’t even think of buying instant coffee there (unless it is a name brand you like).

People have complained the instant coffee has zero taste; it is just brown water.

Growing, harvesting, and roasting coffee beans properly takes effort and money.

If you want to save money, look elsewhere, not here.

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8. Toilet Paper

In a pinch, you may think buying TP from a dollar store is your best option. (Anyone remember the pandemic and empty shelves?) Unless it is a last resort, there are more affordable brands at the big box stores. 

When purchasing toilet paper, it is so difficult to compare prices. However, a well-known dollar store sells Scott Comfort Plus for $1.25 for a four-pack.

Seems like a great price, until you do a little research. The dollar store rolls contain 116 sheets, while the same product in other stores has rolls with 187 or 231 sheets.

Be smart when shopping and keep in mind dollar store toilet paper may be too thin to get the job done … or at least without using half a roll.

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The average family literally flushes more than $175 a year down the toilet. Why waste this money when there is solution thats cheaper, benefits the environment, and is significantly more sanitary.

Use a Bidet. Yes, a bidet. They are popular among Europeans.

You can get one for around $30 and use considerably less toilet paper.

Here are a couple of options on Amazon right now:

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9. Clothing

don't buy clothes at dollar stores

You may be able to find a scarf at a dollar store you want to add to your closet, but other than that steer clear.

You definitely get what you pay for when buying clothing from a dollar store.

If you are looking to save money on clothes, you’d have better luck at your local thrift store (which I love).

10. Knives

You want your knives to be safe, right? Well, buying knives at a dollar store is pretty risky.

With cheap knives you have to put more pressure to make them cut what you want.

When you apply more pressure, your grip might slip, and that’s a surefire way to cut yourself. Plus, with cheap materials used to make the knife, your chances of it breaking at a critical moment just is too great. Don’t risk it!

11. Tools

Like with knives, you want your tools to work when you need them. Buying a hammer at a dollar store may result in more than a smashed thumb if it would break during its use.

The metal used in these tools are not very strong, so they are easy to damage, especially the tips of screwdrivers and adjustable wrenches.

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