House Poor Summer Tour: Dollar Tree Field Trip

In the spirit of “staycationing” in our new home, I’m writing a new series of posts about ways to save money and live frugally without being extreme or insane. I used these methods to save for my down payment, and I continue to use them to survive being a new, yet thrifty, homeowner.

Let’s embark on the House Poor Summer Tour 2013!


I’ll admit, shopping at dollar stores is nothing new. This post isn’t really original in that sense; everyone knows you can save money at the dollar store. Don’t stop reading yet, I promise. I worked *really* hard taking pictures in Dollar Tree while trying NOT to be a creeper.

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Recently, I discovered the Dollar Tree off Sam Rittenburg Boulevard. Even after living here a year, I didn’t realize it was there- it’s inside a shopping center and pretty tucked away. I’ve since posted about that Dollar Tree on Facebook and Twitter. If it’s close to me and on a road I travel frequently and I didn’t know about it, surely others in Charleston may not know about it.

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You know you’re on the House Poor Summer Tour when you’re excited to tell your social media friends about a discount store. You know your friends are on the S.S. Broke Boat when they “like” that status.

Here are some good buys at the Dollar Tree. Not all Dollar Trees are this large or have a big selection. Until about a month ago, when I discovered this one, I’d only visited what I thought was the only Dollar Tree in Charleston (Savannah Hwy) and is about half the size with half the selection. You live and learn!

Kitchen supplies and gadgets– You can’t see it too well in this picture, but all of these gadgets are Betty Crocker brand. It’s not Pampered Chef, and the gadgets probably won’t last until you have grandkids, but if you need a set of measuring spoons, some tongs for a salad, scissors, etc- Dollar Tree is your place.

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Better yet, if you attend a cookout, potluck, or church dinner, stop by and pick up a “cheap” serving spoon you don’t mind not getting back (just in case you don’t). Why not pick one up for $1, rather than taking and risking losing something that you like?

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Organizing Items– As you can see, our dollar store has baskets, buckets, and bins in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I bought a few to hold K-cups, candy, and protein/energy bars for our pantry. It looks a lot neater than just having everything in cardboard boxes. These are also great for putting together small gift baskets for birthdays, baby showers, or college going-away gifts.

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Cleaning Supplies– For $1, there’s really no reason why you can’t have a Swiffer on each floor of your home. I also saw some college kids shopping in this area, which is a perfect idea. If you’re going off to college and only need a broom and dustpan for a semester, this is your aisle.

Face it, when you move out of your dorm or apartment, you’ve accumulated so much stuff, you won’t have room in your car for a broom, dustpan, or mop- so you can throw it away guilt free at the end of the year.

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Movie Theatre Candy– This one’s a no-brainer. You can pay $1 for a box of candy at the dollar store, or $3.50 at the movie theatre. You can also find many of these candies at Wal-Mart for 97 cents. Our dollar store has the best selection of movie theatre candy by far.

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School and Office Supplies– With back to school sales at Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, and Target, you can usually beat dollar store prices in the late summer months. However, if it’s the off season and you need something like a cute notebook, they’ve got that.

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With all the great items at dollar stores, I wouldn’t buy everything there. With couponing, I can beat the prices on toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash, etc) at drug stores like CVS or Walgreens. The food selection at our store is good, but I check the expiration dates just in case. I’m also weary of baby items or something a small child would put in his or her mouth.

And toilet paper? Forget it! That’s one thing I have to buy name brand for pretty important reasons!

If you’re looking for more fun buys at the dollar store, check out this blog post from Raining Hot Coupons.

What to Buy at the Dollar Store (And What Not to Buy!) ---> http://www.raininghotcoupons.com/what-to-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-what-not-to-buy

Do you like to shop at dollar stores? If so, what’s your favorite thing to buy there?

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21 Responses to House Poor Summer Tour: Dollar Tree Field Trip

  1. KrisLawrence says:

    I can’t tell you how many stainless steel serving spoons I’ve lost over the years. Next time I am at the Dollar Store, I am stocking up.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      My mom is the same way. When she takes a dish to church, she returns without the spoon. They have so many spoons and utensils to wash after dinners and they can’t figure out who they belong to.

      It’s funny when older ladies send very nice serving utensils with their dishes to church (and they put an address label on the handle of the dish).

  2. As I just said, the dollar tree is based in our area so we can always find a lot of good things. I used a lot of organizing things for college myself. You can also put together cute little gift baskets if you are into that sort of that sort of thing.

    I will say most of their office supplies is not that great though (the notebooks), I actually go to walmart for those things.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah… I’m not a huge fan of their office supplies either. The notebooks are cute, and I guess it works if you’re already there you can pick it up. But I try to stock up on those things during back-to-school sales because they have the best selection and prices at Walmart and Target then.

      Fortunately I don’t need as many of them anymore now that I’m not in school… but I don’t have an office supply closet like I used to, working from home, so I usually buy them myself (and no, I don’t expense report a $3 pack of pens… lol).

      My friend just got a cute Monsters University pencil cup from there this week, hehe.

  3. Dollar stores are definitely great for some things but certain things I am too picky about and will get other places. But it is definitely a great way to save money!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I’d never buy toilet paper there, and I’m a little weary of some of the beauty and personal products like the toothpaste and lotion too. Some things are worth splurging on especially when you can find them on sale other places anyway.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I buy most of the things you highlighted at the Dollar Store as well! Like with the cleaning supplies, with the exception of a few, why not get them for $1? And the storage bins, buckets, etc…. oh yeah, we’re all about scoring them on the cheap!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Hey, thanks for commenting :). I also love getting storage and cleaning stuff on the cheap. Cleaning is such a time suck for me anyway but at least saving money on it makes it a bit easier!

  5. I love our dollar trees because I can use my coupons there. You can use mfq’s and internet printables (but those are only limited to 2 per day per household). I buy the Hefty slider storage bags for .50c a piece, and I also buy Colgate, Crest, and Aquafresh toothpaste (the 4oz) for anywhere’s from .75c-FREE. I also buy Puff’s tissues and Bounty Paper towels at ours. As well as Ajax dish detergent, and Palmolive. (I use coupons now every time I go… I did a post on http://www.thekrazycouponlady.com about someone being very rude behind me saying I should have just paid the $6 and I only paid $3… ) But I have also noticed… all dollar stores are DIFFERENT. wow. I have one 15 minutes from me, and one 20 minutes from me. They’re pretty much the same size, but have completely different items.
    But no matter if you have coupons or not, Dollar Tree does rock, and a lot of times that is where we get Christopher’s birthday party supplies (plates and things) because I know they’ll be cheapest there… especially around his birthday)

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    -Mel

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You’re right, Dollar Tree does take coupons now. It seems kinda dumb to limit people to 2 per day though… I could see limiting to 10 maybe, but just 2? Then again some people like to clear shelves so yeah… I guess that’s why.

      People shouldn’t be rude to couponers for trying to save. I guess it’s annoying to be behind someone when they have to call customer service to take a coupon, but other than that, it doesn’t take THAT much more time if the coupons all scan.

  6. The reason why they limit 2 internet printables a day per person… is because they haven’t figured out to “order a better register” .. they have to manually type in all coupons 😦 (I feel bad for them when I come in line… but hey.., if I get toothpaste for free instead of $3 I’ma do it 😉

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Oh wow, I didn’t know that. I guess that’s a good reason then- honestly I’ve never used a coupon at the Dollar Tree. I knew they took them, but I haven’t bought anything there that I’d have a coupon on to use, either. Hopefully they upgrade the registers soon, yikes.

  7. I always by my movie theater candy somewhere cheap before I go so that I can save money. Thanks for the suggestion on where to get it.

  8. olivetorun says:

    I’ve found a lot of great things for my classroom at The Dollar Tree/Dollar Stores. There really is a lot more there than I think people give it credit for!

  9. Did you know that you can order online from Dollar Tree? That is really great if you are planning for a party or something you might need more available than you local store has (think glassware and such.) You can also have most shipped to store to help with shipping costs! I love this series!!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That’s pretty cool! I actually saw something like a catalog in the party section but never really thought of ordering online from the dollar store. Will definitely have to tell anyone I know who’s having a party and remember that myself if I ever host something big!

  10. LilMysNinja says:

    Your Dollar Tree looks much nicer than mine! I think I shall embark on a search for a better one in my area and give this store another chance! 🙂 Thanks for reminding me I can find decent things on a budget!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, this is the nicest dollar tree I’ve seen in Charleston. If you find a bigger location they tend to carry more stuff, I guess. I love this one and just keep going there even if it’s a little further from the house.

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