Excited about finding those dollar deals?

You know that feeling you get when you go to the dollar store with only a few bucks and think you can buy tons of stuff?

Well, you can, but buyer beware!

While some dollar deals are fabulous, remember the old adage that goes something like this, “You get what you pay for!”

We all know there are definitely some items the dollar store has that are great deals; I even tell you exactly which ones in my post; Seven Items You Should ONLY Buy At The Dollar Store.

For the sake of your budget, I think it may be equally important to know what dollar deals you should NEVER buy at the dollar store.

Because you don’t want to be wasting your money on these dollar store items.

You also don’t want to be wasting your time with what not to buy at the dollar store.

Because that money would be better used on another cup of coffee so we can keep up with our kids…am I right?!! So let’s go to the dollar store to save money, but not waste it!

We’ve been there, walked into a dollar store with that “it’s only a dollar” attitude, then loaded down the cart with a bunch of “can’t live without them” dollar deals, only to be sorry with the first use because that’s about how long most of it lasted.

We may as well have rolled down the car window and thrown the money away for all the good it did. Ughh!

I’m all about saving money, not throwing it away, so I’ve decided to go to the other end of the spectrum and list the top 10 dollar deals you should never buy at the dollar store! Read on!

dollar deals


10 Dollar Deals You Should Never Buy At The Dollar Store


1. Batteries

Need some batteries on the cheap? It’s not commonly known but a lot of the cheap dollar store batteries contain zinc-carbon instead of alkaline or lithium, which is why they don’t perform as well or last very long.

These dollar store items are okay if you just have to have a battery quickly, but be realistic in your expectations of those dollar deals.

You’d be better off, in the long run, to buy a name brand battery with a coupon deal and these happen quite often.



2. Electrical Items 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against purchasing things like extension cords, power strips and power plugs from discount or dollar stores because of their often inferior quality.

Their study reported these items often are mostly made in China and are often found to be improperly grounded, may contain counterfeit UL (Underwriters Laboratories) safety seals and generally represent a fire or electrocution risk!

It’s best to just steer clear of these items. Why put your home, property, or even your life at risk over a faulty electrical product you paid $1 for?

The same goes for headphones and electronics, like calculators. They don’t work very well and they don’t last. And they don’t add up to good dollar deals. While you go to the dollar store to save money, you’ll be wasting it if you’re purchase them.


Create A Plan For Your Money

These FREE Budgeting Spreadsheets will help you keep a pulse on your money (from the palm of your hand).

dollar deals

3. Kitchen Knives & Utensils

As far as the plastic utensils go, it really depends on why you are buying it. If it’s to take to a dinner party and throw it away, then these are your dollar deals.

But if you are hoping to get a nice item to add to your everyday kitchen collection, you won’t find it here. They are cheaply made, melt and get misshapen easily, and don’t even hold their color in the dishwasher – not really a good deal at all.

As far as the kitchen knives go, again they are made of inferior quality materials and don’t cut well, are awkward and can even make dinner preparation more work. So pass on those dollar deals.

I would personally rather have one or two good knives than a whole drawer full of these rather useless ones that increase the risk of cutting a hand or finger and are pretty much a waste of money. If they can potentially harm me or my family, they are definitely on my what not to buy at the dollar store list.

4. Medicine & Vitamins

There are often free or nearly free vitamins, headache meds, baby meds, cold meds, and a few other pharmaceuticals to be had for free or nearly free at the dollar stores.

Again, as with other items that could represent a risk around the home, you should strongly consider not buying medicines from the dollar store because you don’t know the reliability of the manufacturer if the ingredients are authentic or counterfeit or even how long the box has been warehoused awaiting transfer to a store shelf.

Even if the expiration date has not passed, the chemical makeup of medications can change simply from sitting in heat and humidity. It just isn’t worth the risk on these dollar deals!

dollar deals

5. Toys 

Hahaha! I almost heard you laugh aloud right along with me at these dollar store items!

The cheap plastic toys barely make it to the car before they are broken and the kids are crying before you get out of the parking lot. Oh! – and don’t forget the choking risk from the small broken parts on these dollar deals?

Enough said! (I just noticed a bunch of exclamation points scattered in this section, but dangerous or harmful children’s anything is punctuation worthy!!!)

6. Trash Bags

These dollar deals are generally flimsy and so stinking thin that anything you put in it (yes, even if it is simply used for tissues) will tear them and you will get mad when everything falls on the floor.

My friend even told me that her dog poopy bags were even horrible from the dollar store. Let’s just say you don’t expect for both ends to be open! I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

There are some decent deals to be had on trash bags throughout the year, so pay attention to the store sales and that’ll tell you when and where to get the best deals on quality trash bags that won’t tear when you touch them!

dollar deals

7. Travel Size Products 

This is kind of funny to even think of buying an off-brand, unknown quality and/or ingredient travel size stuff from the dollar tree.

Don’t buy these dollar deals when most of these full-size name brand products can be found in a travel section at most grocery stores for around the same $1 price tag.

8. Boxed Or Canned Food 

The ingredients in the boxed meals may not be as hearty and rich as those you buy in a regular grocery store or warehouse, and that the volume may also be less in these dollar deals.

As far as canned foods, you need to purchase those over at ALDI where you’ll find them for less than $1 a can every single day. If I’m wasting money on the item when I know I can get it cheaper, it’s on the what not to buy at the dollar store list.

Don’t waste your money here. Plus, you may also find the item has passed its expiration date. Ewww!

dollar deals

9. Soaps And Body Washes 

As with food, batteries, and medications, the ingredients used in some of these products may be questionable and just not worth these dollar store items. After all, if you are going to spend $1 might as well get something tried and true and thoroughly quality tested.

There is a rare occasion when dollar stores get name brands at the smaller sizes and I’d trust those enough to purchase them at the dollar stores. So just keep your eye out and be an informed consumer.

10. Bungee Cords & Tools 

If all you need them for is some lightweight task inside the home – then maybe you could trust a bungee cord from the dollar stores. But seriously, nothing that puts any real strain or weight on the cord itself.

However, if you’ve got to strap something down and haul it somewhere, the very last thing you want to do is to pop a cheap bungee cord on it and hit the gas. Imagine pulling onto the roadway and hearing a loud “ping” as that dollar store rubber band-like cord snapped just as whatever item you are hauling goes sailing into traffic! (Remember that liability insurance coverage you meant to increase the limits on but didn’t?…) Won’t that item you purchased from the dollar store to save money now cost you a lot?!! Yikes!

Thinking of stocking up your toolbox with $1 tools on these dollar deals? Again, these dollar store items are not good for heavy duty work.

It’s okay to grab some household screws and nails or maybe even a hammer just for lightweight things like hanging small frames, but don’t count on these tools to perform for your serious home or car repairs as they are not quality manufactured for this kind of use, and again, could put you in harm’s way.  No, no, no ~ just don’t!


Create A Plan For Your Money

These FREE Budgeting Spreadsheets will help you keep a pulse on your money (from the palm of your hand).

dollar deals

Dollar Deals Recall Information

You can find product recall information for three of the main dollar stores at the links below.


  • Death by “it’s ONLY a dollar.” It’s so easy to throw dollar deals into your cart that you otherwise would not have purchased because “it’s only a dollar.” If you went in to get poster board; put your blinders on, get the poster board, and get out.
  • Watch Food Ingredients – A lot of times, those off brands will skimp on ingredients to drive down the price. Decide if it is worth it to you to consume potentially cheaper ingredients to save what might amount to pennies.
  • Check Expiration Dates – More than once I’ve gotten home only to find out that the granola bars tasted stale…oh, that’s because they had already expired. However…” it’s only a dollar”. So I didn’t go back for my refund. (Probably a good thing a stale taste was all I got from the old granola bars! – again – Ewww!)

If you missed the first article on Seven Items You Should ONLY Buy At The Dollar Store get it here and see what are some of the best values for your hard-earned cash!

Don’t forget the coupons! Dollar Stores accept coupons that add up to pretty substantial savings! Because the only thing better than a buck is FREE right?!!

As you can see, sometimes dollar deals found at the dollar store aren’t really deals at all!

Since you don’t want to waste your dollars, make sure you aren’t buying these 10 items the next time you wander through the dollar store to save money.

You also don’t want to be wasting your time with what not to buy at the dollar store.

Because that money would be better used on another cup of coffee so we can keep up with our kids…am I right?!!

So let’s go to the dollar store to save money, but not waste it!


Your Turn: What other dollar deals would you include in this Never Buy list? Let me know in the comments below!

dollar deals
Ten Items You Should NEVER Buy At The Dollar Store