By the very virtue of its name, the dollar store appeals to countless budget-conscious consumers. Constantly in search of good deals, people flock to the dollar store to load up on household items, personal care products, and foods among many other things. Given that everything is guaranteed to cost just one dollar, it’s easy to imagine yourself as saving. In reality, however, the only way to actually get good value from these visits is by carefully picking and choosing what you buy. While certain offerings are well-worth the buck they cost, others provide such low value that you may as well toss your coins in the gutter. Following are several products to steer of when shopping at the dollar store.
Kitchen knives and tools
Whether slicing, dicing, turning a screw, or hammering a nail, you want the tools that you’re working with to be both effective and safe. Quality kitchen knives and tools are made from strong, durable materials. Sadly, it’s just not possible to craft a well-made product in either of these categories and then sell it for a dollar. Kitchen knives that cost just one dollar tend to be thin, poorly constructed, and dull. Those that are sharp wear quickly. Moreover, with their thinner blades and poorly planned designs, these items cannot be sharpened and they may even cause injury. Consider that the blade of a knife from the dollar store only goes partially down into its haft. Conversely, a higher quality knife will have a long, thick blade that travels all the way to the base of the haft. This manner of construction prevents slippage, and it ensures that dull blades can be sharpened and used again. Design flaws like this can also be found in dollar store hammers, screwdrivers, and other household tools. Given that these items are made from low-quality metals, they’re also incredibly prone to breakage and corrosion.
Food for the baby
Shopping for baby food at the dollar store is always a no-no. Anytime name brand products are offered in these locations, it’s likely because they’re either at or nearing their expiration dates. Baby foods that are made by unknown or lesser known brands typically lack quality ingredients and may have a number of unhealthy additives. It’s far safer and just as cost-effective to clip coupons, or to shop for simple, healthful ingredients and make baby food on your own.
Medicine and vitamins
Low-quality, generic medicines and vitamins contain the same active ingredients that higher quality brands do. This can make it tempting to get your ibuprofen, aspirin, and health supplements at the dollar store. Surprisingly, however, when generic medication cause adverse reactions, this is usually due to their secondary, inactive ingredients which act as binders, colorants, or flavorings. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Spending a bit more to get products that will actually improve your health and alleviate your symptoms without causing new problems is far better.
Toys and other items for pets and small children
There are a number of risks in purchasing the cheap, low-quality toys that are offered at the dollar store. To start, many of these products are manufactured with low-grade plastics that are unsafe for small children. These plastics can easily degrade when exposed to moisture (such as the interior of the mouth), heat, or even excess handling. More importantly, low-quality toys are virtually guaranteed to break within a very short period of time. In addition to causing disappointment, having small parts detach can lead to choking. Not only should you avoid general toys at the dollar store, but you should also leave teething rings, low-cost crib mobiles, and other such items behind as well. Keep in mind that all of these same factors apply to pet toys that are offered at the dollar store. The toys that your feline or canine companion play with should always be made from high-quality, safety-rated materials.
Paying only one dollar for a full pack of batteries probably seems like a good deal. Surprisingly, however, you can get far better value by buying your batteries in bulk from a traditional retailer. Not only will you get a lower per-battery price, but you’ll also get batteries with longer lifespans, and a far lesser likelihood of rupturing and leaking battery acid.
The dollar store is definitely a worthwhile location to visit when you’re looking to save some cash. Knowing what to buy and what to leave behind, however, is key to getting the most for you money. With the tips above, you avoid wasting cash, and you can also protect your health, and the health of your family members and pets.