What I Buy at the Dollar Store to Save Money
I don’t have a lot of free time to go shopping at several grocery stores a week or to chase down deals or even to coupon. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to save money on groceries. The fact of the matter is, we mostly eat organic foods at home, so they are rarely on sale and there are rarely coupons available.
I’m not a crunch organic mom. My kids eat candy. We eat out a lot. I just try to make sure that when we do eat at home, we are getting as little pesticides, antibiotics and other junk in our food as possible.
As I’ve mentioned, I have an autoimmune disease (Ankylosing Spondylitis). Autoimmune diseases tend to be hereditary, yet no one in my family has one. My condition affects only 1 percent of the population, mostly males. While I’m not blaming my condition on food, there have been links to autoimmune diseases and toxins in the environment. So, whenever I can, I try to reduce our exposure so that my kids don’t have to go through what I go through. Obviously, there is no guarantee, but at worst, we just paid extra for our groceries. I can live with that.
So while I buy fairly expensive groceries, I try to trim our grocery budget wherever I can. I used to check the circulars to figure out what was on sale and build my grocery list from there, but it took up a lot of time and I just don’t have that much time to spare. We get home with our kids at 5:30 p.m. and they go to bed at 8:30 p.m., so we only get 3 hours of family time per day, in addition to weekends. Between activities, birthday parties and general life, we get even less time, so I’m not about to give up any extra family time to save a few dollars here and there.
My Dollar Store Shopping List
Enter, the Dollar Store, or Dollar General or 99 Cent Only. I had never really set foot into a dollar store until I started working with senior citizens and they raved about the wonders of the dollar store. I finally went in to one with a client and was surprised by all of the brand name products.
Since then, I’ve started purchasing a few items there that cut our budget by more than shopping circulars would have.
My Favorite Dollar Store Items
- Toothpaste: I used to wait until the grocery store had a sale on toothpaste and buy a bunch at time. Now, I just go to the dollar store whenever we’re running low and pick up several boxes. They carry brands like Crest and Colgate, so I just buy what we normally use.
- Paper Towels: The dollar store sells single rolls of name-brand paper towels. It is rare to get a large package of paper towels for $1 each. You usually need a coupon and they usually have to be on sale. I now just get them at the dollar store.
- Straws: I make smoothies a few times a week. I don’t know why, but I can only drink them with a straw. You can get a nice size box of straws at the dollar store, versus paying $2 or more at the grocery store.
- Party Supplies: My kids usually have a specific birthday party theme so I buy a lot of themed party items elsewhere, but I can at least save on the tablecloths. For example, for my older son’s Pokemon party, I bought red and white tablecloths. For my younger son’s construction party, I bought yellow tablecloths. I also buy a few extra tablecloths to keep at home for messy art projects or to take with us when we have a picnic at the park.
- Art Supplies: I only buy coloring books from the dollar store. My kids usually only color a handful of pages, so it doesn’t make sense to buy pricey books from a bookstore. I also buy things like stickers, construction paper, sketch books and other crafty supplies from the dollar store. I stick with name brand crayons and markers from other stores, but paper is paper, so I buy the cheaper stuff since we go through a lot.
- Candy: I know I stated above that we eat organic at home. I also said I don’t go crazy with it. I have a sweet tooth. I love to have a piece of candy after a meal so I buy it at the dollar store since they carry all of my favorites.
- Snack Foods: We don’t eat a lot of processed snack food, but every now and then, we’ll have a movie night or a picnic and I want to get fun snacks like Cracker Jacks, popcorn, animal crackers or juice boxes. I get them at the dollar store since it isn’t something on my normal grocery list and I really only need a few servings.
What kinds of things do you buy at the dollar store?