Buy These 15 Underrated Dollar Store Items (and Keep More of Your Cash)

Some dollar store items are higher quality than you might expect and can save you money.

Woman shopping in store
Updated July 18, 2024
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Many people have a misconception that items at a dollar store aren’t of good quality or worth the money you can save by buying them.

However, many dollar-store items are underrated and can serve the purposes you need while you save money in your monthly shopping budget.

We have 15 of the best items for you to buy next time you’re at a dollar store.

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Reading glasses

Syda Productions/Adobe senior man sitting at home in couch adjusting glasses to read newspaper

If you’ve come to that time in your life when it’s harder to read the fine print, then you know what a lifesaver reading glasses can be.

And if you’re anything like us, you tend to lose them often enough that you need multiple pairs.

Fortunately, you can score readers at a dollar store for a fraction of what you’ll pay at say, Staples. The variety can be just as good, too.


simona/Adobe young woman with a backpack and hat in library picking out books from shelf

We think the best place to get books is the library, as you can borrow them for free. But if you must keep the books you read to revisit later, the dollar store is the place to go.

That’s because you won’t have to pay the price on the back cover as you do elsewhere. Some people have even found multiple series of books in this way, which compounds their savings.

Picture frames

vlntn/Adobe copper photo frame with black picture on rustic wooden table

A picture frame only has to frame a piece of art to sit on the desk or wall. To that end, you could successfully argue that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy one.

Instead, grab one at the dollar store and spend what you saved on the art. You may need to up the stakes if you have rare work that needs protection. But for the rest of your frame needs, these options are probably fine.

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Toilet paper

thayra83/Adobe tissue paper rolls rolling out on blue background

Some may caution you away from getting your toilet paper at the dollar store, but you can often find name brands like Charmin there for less than you would at the grocery store.

So while we don’t recommend picking up an off-brand that may be poor quality, you can still spring for the good stuff at a lower price.


Peter Cripps/Adobe golden black silver and brown aesthetic vases on rustic wooden table

Similarly, vases exist mostly to house the flowers that you put in them, so the former doesn’t need to be the center of attention.

Even if they do, the selection you can find at the dollar store is usually pretty impressive, including size, color, and even shape.

You can also get a little crafty and decorate the vase if you have a bit of artistic prowess and are looking for something worthy of a centerpiece.

Crafting supplies

donatas1205/Adobe painting brushes and crafting supplies organized in wooden containers

Speaking of crafting, a dollar store is also a good place to score tape, paints, scissors, glue, and more. Many outlets also have crafting ideas that can serve as inspiration.

Again, a good rule of thumb is to stick to brands you know to ensure the quality is good. You can also grab supplies for both kids and adults and bins to keep your stash organized.

Greeting cards

Katy/Adobe girl holding have a nice day card with cupcakes and cup in background at tea party

When you give someone a greeting card, it’s seldom the card itself that makes the exchange meaningful. Rather, it’s the fact that you took the time to acknowledge them for some special reason.

To that end, you don’t need fancy cards with embellishments as a simple one will do. Of course, if you’re sitting on a pile of new crafting supplies you could just go ahead and make one, but a dollar store will do in a pinch.

Pregnancy tests

Veja mais/Adobe woman holding pregnancy strip and waiting for results

Yes, you can really buy your pregnancy tests at the dollar store. Any that you find on store shelves in the U.S. are regulated by the FDA, so they have to meet specific quality standards.

With that understanding, why would you pay over $7 at the grocery when you can spend under $2 instead? Just ensure you check the expiration date on each test before you purchase it.


Pixel-Shot/Adobe modern dinnerware in yellow color at dining table in kitchen with cups and other utensils

As more and more young people decline to hold onto fine china, having fancy dinnerware isn’t a huge priority. Instead, plates and bowls that can handle daily use and maybe be a bit stylish are all you might need.

That’s why a dollar store is a good option if you’re on the hunt for dinnerware. An added perk? You can buy items a la carte instead of in a set, so you only take home what you need.

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Maksim Shebeko/Adobe wine glasses on wooden table

If you’re looking to amp up your bar cart without breaking the bank, the dollar store has you covered. And it’s not cheap plastic stuff, either.

They have all kinds of drinkware from martini glasses to champagne flutes and more.

And of course, it’s super inexpensive. You might even find trendy items like old-fashioned vessels made with smoked glass.

Plant supplies

New Africa/Adobe Woman planting beautiful houseplant at table indoors

If you have a green thumb and you’re buying pots at Home Depot or Lowe’s, you’re probably spending more money than you should.

You can find a variety of planters including clay pots with smaller price tags at a dollar store. Dollar stores also carry items like glass marbles, plant liners, and dishes to place pots on.

Laundry detergent

279photo/Adobe colorful towels besides cleaning detergent in white bottle in laundry room

Everyone needs laundry detergent, and many of us go through it fairly quickly. It’s also something we throw into our carts at the grocery store as a matter of convenience.

However, you can actually find detergent at a dollar store and save a decent amount of money. You don’t have to go with off-brands, either, as most outlets carry Tide, Arm & Hammer, or other reputable options.

Cleaning supplies

dechevm/Adobe basket with home cleaning supplies in kitchen

Just like laundry detergent, we all need supplies to keep our homes clean. Once again, you can find a wide variety of options at the dollar store for significantly less than the competition.

This includes powdered cleaning supplies like dishwasher pods, steel wool, and sponges. It’s important to check the expiration dates on all cleaning supplies.

Party supplies

Rawf8/Adobe party supplies on white background

If you have a child at home, you know can be important to make a big deal out of birthday parties. Naturally, that includes decorations, festive tablecloths, accessories, banners, candles, and more.

These items can add up quickly so before you hit the party supply store, you can check and see what the dollar store has, which typically is a decent selection.

Seasonal decor

FollowTheFlow/Adobe living room having a cozy easter theme with easter bunny and eggs on table

It’s always fulfilling to herald the change in season or the arrival of the holidays by swapping out your seasonal decor. You might even be a bit surprised at just how much of the stuff many dollar stores stock at any given time of the year, too.

You can save bundles over craft stores by getting into a dollar store early when they first display seasonal decor. You can also buy more than you need so that you are prepared for next year.

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe dollar tree logo outside store during day time

The dollar store shouldn’t be your go-to store for everything, but they do have a wide variety of products that can help you beat inflation and are worthy of your attention.

In fact, there are some items they really nail at these outlets, thanks to regulation standards that are already in place.

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Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.