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13 Ripoffs at the Dollar Store You Need to Avoid

You're at the dollar store for a quick purchase when you come across what seems like a good deal—but looks can be deceiving.

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LITTLETON,COLORADO-May 12, 2004-The Dollar Tree store in Littleton is a popular place to shop. Everything costs $1.00. These $1.00 coffee mugs have an American flag and "God Bless the USA" printed under the flag. (DENVER POST PHOTO BY LYN ALWEIS) 8601 W.Lyn Alweis/Getty Images

You get what you pay for

Simply with their name, dollar stores suggest that they’re the go-to place for dirt-cheap prices. And, in many cases, they are—these are the things you should always buy at the dollar store. But there are plenty of things that just aren’t worth it to buy there, whether because of the quality of the items or because, surprisingly enough, there’s a better deal somewhere else. Here are the things to skip at the dollar store.

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Medicine and vitamins

Those packages of painkillers may seem like a good deal, but when it comes to your health, stick to name brands for medicine and vitamins from stores you know. Those sold at dollar stores may be counterfeit or expired. You can also buy vitamins from reputable brands like Nature Made, on Amazon. Here are some more things you should never buy at the dollar store.

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Kitchen knives

When it comes to buying kitchen knives, it’s best to choose quality over price. Many dollar store knives are cheaply made and dull, which may lead to cut fingers and hands. Stick to well-known brands from a reputable retailer like Good Housekeeping. Here are some things dollar store employees won’t tell you.

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toolLisa S./Shutterstock


That $1 pair of pliers isn’t going to hold up well. If you’re an avid DIYer, avoid buying tools at the dollar store as they are often cheaply made which means they will break or, even worse, may result in injuries. Stick to a trusted tool retailer like Home Depot! Here are some things you haven’t been buying from Home Depot, but should.

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babySyda Productions/Shutterstock

Baby food

While most baby food sold at the dollar store is just fine, just skip it. Some may be expired, and it’s generally not much cheaper than the baby food sold at well-known retailers like Target. This is how dollar stores make money!

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shopBenoit Daoust/Shutterstock


Toys sold at the dollar store often break easily and may contain hazardous materials. Plus, the flimsy design may mean broken pieces which could easily be swallowed. Don’t take the chance. For a great selection of toys, head to Target! Don’t fall for these sneaky ways stores trick you into spending more.

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If you’re buying batteries in bulk, you won’t get the best deal if you buy them from the dollar store. Instead, you can find better deals on large quantities of name-brand batteries at larger retailers like Walmart. Here’s more on why you shouldn’t buy batteries from the dollar store.

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Pet food and toys

Pet food sold at the dollar store may seem like a bargain, but it may lack the nutritional value found in popular name brands, or it may even contain harmful ingredients. Pet toys at discount chains may also be made from inferior materials and contain chemicals that could be hazardous to your pet. Instead, Amazon has plenty of good options for pet food. Here’s the real difference between Dollar Tree and Dollar General.

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candy Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock


Don’t let the candy aisle distract you. If you’re looking for larger quantities of candy, you’ll likely get a better deal at a larger retailer. Plus, double check the expiration date as food sold at dollar stores may be expired.

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pieAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Disposable plates, napkins, and cups

If you’re getting ready for a party, you won’t get the best deal on disposable plates, napkins, cups or cutlery at the dollar store. Not only are the prices often higher than other retailers, but the quantity isn’t always what you’d hope for. We think this bamboo disposable cutlery set on Amazon is a great deal, plus it’s the best of both worlds: No plastic!

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Bottled water

Skip the bulk packages of bottled water at the dollar store. When comparing prices, you’ll often find you pay more per bottle at the dollar store than you would at other retailers. Instead, opt for the safest bottled water you can buy!

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Extension cords

Extension cords sold at dollar stores are often low-quality, which mean they could short out and even cause a fire. Stick to extension cords made by reputable companies and sold at reputable retailers like Walmart.

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toothpaste Tasha Cherkasova/Shutterstock


Take a closer look at that discounted tube of toothpaste. It may seem like a good deal, but dollar stores often sell smaller toothpaste tube sizes than you’ll find at other stores so the deal is probably too good to be true. Stock up on toothpaste at the drugstore, especially if you use a coupon. Here are some more things you should always buy at the drugstore.

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sandwichHurst Photo/Shutterstock

Sandwich bags

Dollar stores often sell boxes of plastic sandwich bags in smaller quantities than other retailers. So in the long run, you’ll end up paying more per sandwich bag when purchasing them from the dollar store. Target has a good deal on sandwich bags! Now, find out the things you can buy on Amazon for less than a dollar.

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The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman