14 Items You Should Never Buy at Dollar Tree

Just because everything is a dollar at Dollar Tree doesn’t mean it’s a good buy. Here’s a list of 14 items you should never buy at Dollar Tree.


Items you shouldn't buy at Dollar Tree

There are a lot of great items to buy at Dollar Tree, but there are some that aren’t worth spending a dollar on. Just because everything is a dollar doesn’t mean it’s a smart purchase.

I have been a Dollar Tree shopper for several years and I’ve learned a few shopping tips over time. And since I’m all about saving money, I’ve figured out the Dollar Tree items that aren’t worth buying.

Luckily for you, I’m sharing some of those items in this post so you don’t have to waste your time and/or money!

Keep reading for a list of items you should never buy at Dollar Tree.

Items You Should Never Buy at Dollar Tree

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1. Playdough/modeling clay

Unless you can find a brand name, then avoid buying playdough or modeling clay from Dollar Tree. The quality is terrible and they both dry out really fast. It’s better to purchase these items elsewhere and spend a little bit more money on them.

2. Crayons

Just like with playdough and modeling clay, crayons should be avoided unless they are brand name. They are poorly made and break easily and they don’t color very well.

3. Batteries

Batteries are an “iffy” purchase when it comes to Dollar Tree. Some people say they work fine and last just as long as the more expensive brands. But others are saying just the opposite. I’ve never had much luck in Dollar Tree batteries lasting a long time. If you need batteries for something for just a few days, then go for it. After all, they’re only a dollar!

4. Toilet paper/paper towels

Unless there’s another toilet paper crisis, then you should skip buying paper products from Dollar Tree. These items are better purchased at big box stores because you can get them for half the price.

5. Scented candles and wax melts

I love scented candles and wax melts, but I also love for them to have a somewhat strong scent. Candles in Dollar Tree can be deceiving because they smell so good in the store. However, once you get them home, you can barely smell them when burning.

Plain candles are great to buy if you want to make your own scented candles. Just melt the wax down, add in some essential oils or fragrance oils, and pour them into containers with a new wick.

6. Canned goods

Typically canned goods are cheaper at grocery stores. However, if you come across brand-name items, such as soup, you may be able to use a coupon to get it even cheaper. Brand name pantry foods come in smaller packaging, so they’re not quite the deal you think they are. (TIP: Make sure to check expiration dates!!) Check your store’s coupon terms before using coupons there.

7. Clothes hangers

Plastic clothes hangers are actually cheaper at Walmart and the velvet hangers are cheaper on Amazon. They’re aren’t as many hangers in Dollar Tree packages, causing them to cost more per hanger.

8. Bandages

Bandages found at Dollar Tree usually lose their stickiness pretty quickly, which can cause you to go through an entire box in a day.

9. Electronics

Electronics are definitely items you should never buy at Dollar Tree. You are getting what you pay for in this category. They break soon after purchasing so don’t expect any long-term quality. Once again, just because everything is a dollar doesn’t mean every purchase is a good deal.

10. Medications

Honestly, this category is entirely up to you. I personally do not trust any supplements or drugs made specifically for this market. But again, that’s just my opinion.

11. Plastic wrap & aluminum foil

Plastic wrap and aluminum foil aren’t made of the best quality for Dollar Tree stores. These items are made to sell cheaply. The rolls are shorter, meaning you’re wasting money because you have to buy more rolls more often. Purchase these items elsewhere to save.

12. School supplies

Most of the school supplies found at Dollar Tree stores are low quality. It’s best to wait for Walmart’s back-to-school sale and then stock up. This is the best way to get the cheapest deals on better quality school supplies.

13. Pet food

First of all, Dollar Tree sells smaller bags of food, which ends up costing you more per ounce than bigger bags. Second, even experts warn against the lack of standards of pet food at dollar stores. Keep your animals safe and purchase their food from brands and stores you trust.

14. Brand name cleaning products

Brand name cleaning products are packaged in smaller quantities at Dollar Tree. This is actually causing you to spend more per ounce. However, Totally Awesome is one of the best cleaning products for cleaning, degreasing, and disinfecting. Just do the math and decide what you need and what’s best for your budget when purchasing brand-name cleaning products from Dollar Tree.

What are some items you never buy at Dollar Tree and why?

Looking for more money-saving hacks? I recommend reading these next:
16 Easy Shopping Hacks to Help You Save Money on Groceries
35 Topnotch Frugal Living Tips
20 Ways to Spend a Money-Free Weekend

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46 thoughts on “14 Items You Should Never Buy at Dollar Tree”

  1. I always check the weight per oz and compare it to the price at a regular store before buying. Yes, I agree that dollar store charge more per oz but sometimes I need a smaller size. Mega packs are good but I don’t always need 60 rolls of toilet paper even if it is significantly cheaper elsewhere. I still buy playdoh, paper towels, and canned goods from Dollarama IF I’m shopping there. I don’t seem to shop there as much as I used to, and here’s why:

    I bought a lot more stuff at Dollarama when we were living at the apartment. Since moving to the townhouse, I haven’t been to Dollarama at all even though there’s one down the street. I would still have to still drive there and cross a busy highway so I just don’t bother these days. Location seems to greatly influence how I spend my $$ 🤔

    1. That’s great that you compare the prices. I completely understand about buying dollar store items if you need a smaller amount and aren’t buying in bulk. Then it’s not really worth it.

      Location makes a huge difference for me, too. And if it’s further away it doesn’t make sense to go there, either, since you’re going to be spending gas money to get there.

      Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  2. This is a great list, there are certain things I would naturally not buy from the Dollar store, like meds, but I never thought of crayons and batteries and a couple of other things you mention. Thanks for sharing. xoxo

    1. Thanks! Yes, meds are just not something I would consider buying from Dollar Tree. The crayons color weird and break easily. I learned that the hard way. LOL 😀

  3. I avoid these stores completely. Quality overall doesn’t seem great. I think there’s benefit to paying extra for certain things especially if it’s in a better atmosphere. Crime seems to be on the rise in dollar stores.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that about the crime rate. So far ours seem to be pretty safe. They keep them stocked and clean and their in well-lit environments and I think that plays a huge roll in it, too. I agree that quality isn’t the best at dollar stores and also that sometimes it’s better to pay extra for things in a better atmosphere. I would never go to a store if I didn’t feel safe, no matter how much cheaper things were.
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  4. I’m with you. I’d never trust either really cheap pet food, or supplements being sold in such a high discount store. You gotta be careful what you put in your/your pet’s body.

  5. I agree 110%!! There are so many great must buy lists out there, but very few lists that tell you what to avoid. Great (and accurate!) post.

  6. I didn’t realize the aluminum foil is shorter there per package. We’ve bought that at dollar stores many times. Thanks for the tip! Now I know we’re not actually saving money doing that.

    1. You’re welcome! I learned the hard way. I couldn’t figure out why it seemed I was going through so much so fast. Then I started comparing it to other stores. Happy to help you save some money! 🙂

  7. The Dollar Tree serves its purpose, but not everything is a good deal there. I have learned from experience not to purchase some items there, and many made your list 🙂 Thank you for sharing this helpful post.

  8. Yes, yes, and yes! I 100% agree with what you’ve said here. Especially when it comes to things like dish soap, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, etc. I’m extremely picky about my TP (it’s true!), but it is deceptive that name brand cleaning products are sold there. As you said though – the bottles are so small, you end up paying more. Ajax is a great example. In Walmart or other grocery chains, a very large bottle is less than $3. At Dollar Tree – it’s a very very small travel size bottle for $1.

    Dollar Tree batteries are tricky. They definitely do not last nearly as long in my opinion. I bought them for battery-operated Christmas lights in the post office I was running and they barely lasted a few days. I buy my batteries in bulk now on Amazon; saves a lot of cash!

    I’ve shared, my friend. Thank you for these great tips! ♥

    1. Yes, I agree! I use Ajax, too, and I couldn’t believe how much the price adds up over time. The same amount adds up to be way more than buying a bigger size at Walmart.

      Buying batteries in bulk on Amazon is a great idea! There used to be a small store in the mall where you could get a large pack of batteries for around $10. They were off brand but they seemed to last forever! I wish stores like that would never close.

      Thanks once again for sharing! I appreciate your support so much!

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