Dollar Tree List: Deal or No Deal?

Dollar Tree List Deal or No Deal. image: shopping cart with cash inside

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What is the Dollar Tree list of items to avoid? What’s o.k. to buy? Everyone loves to get something at a discount. I mean, who doesn’t  L-O-V-E a deal?  But hang on there just a minute, one thing we all need to learn is how to discriminate if a deal really is the great bargain it seems to be.  A good deal has to actually be a good deal.

If you like to shop at a dollar tree you might be making the mistake of assuming any item for a dollar is a good deal but that might not be true.

Here are a few tips to review before your next trip to the dollar store to make sure you are getting the real deals that are offered.

Make a List: What to Buy (and not) at Dollar Tree.

How many times have you run into a dollar store to pick up a couple of items and $76 later, you come out, hands full, with stuff you never intended to buy. Been there, done that!

Dollar tree counts on this. They count on your running in quickly and spending many more of your dollars all in the name of “but it’s only a dollar”! Avoid the trap! Did you know that Dollar Tree is making approximately 35% profit on every single dollar you make? They have higher mark-ups than your favorite grocery store!

I don’t know about you but if someone is making a 35% profit off my hard-earned dollars I want a great buy or a product that’s going to last a lifetime!

You need a list of items to buy so you can avoid mindless shopping and blowing your budget on items you just don’t need! I’ve got you! We’re going to cover the categories for your Dollar Tree List to take with you.

14 Product Categories That Get The Nod at Dollar Tree

Any of these items can be added to your dollar tree list.

  • Office supplies
  • Art/School project supplies
  • Books
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Home Décor
  • Glass-like items like cups and mugs, dishes (great for extra Thanksgiving guests in a pinch!)
  • Party Décor
  • Small Door Prizes
  • Stocking Stuffers
  • Hostess gifts (bath & body lotion, wash, pretty scented items, and definitely containers)
  • Gift Bags (especially the larger ones!)
  • Bathroom Products (shampoo, soap, hair accessories, hair spray, cotton swabs, and etc.)
  • Batteries (I’ve read bad reviews on dollar tree batteries but my personal experience has been good).
  • Craft projects galore! You can upcycle so much from the Dolar Tree and turn it into all kinds of fabulous things with a little hot glue, some paint, and creativity!
  • Containers for organization and storage NOT FOOD STORAGE
$Tree List Deal or No Deal  image of outside of dollar tree store at night

9 Product Categories to Take Off Your Dollar Tree List

  • Medicine
  • Toothpaste, mouthwash
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Make-up (some contain things not approved by FDA)
  • Foods – check labels for ingredients as well as unit price
  • Plastic Containers for food storage – can contain dangerous contaminants not safe for food. (note: food storage containers are great for holding craft room items, ornaments, seasonal dishes, nails/tacks/screws)
  • Toys for children, including party favors. These however are great for hot gluing on a wreath or spray-painting to make a decorative ornament.
  • Plastic Wrap, Tin-foil are cheaply made
  • Paper products like paper plates, cups, toilet paper- quantity and quality issues make no deal.
  • Pet foods, pet toys. Unit prices, quality, and ingredients don’t make these worth the risk.

An example of dollar store no’s is any item you have not priced out prior- for example, food.

A can of vegetables seems like a great buy- it’s just $1, right? But had you shopped at your grocery store, you could have gotten them for .50 cents or less on sale. It turns out that isn’t such a great deal after all.

Another great example of this is meat. Our local dollar store sells bologna, ham, turkey, etc. for $1. But it’s a 1/8 of a pound so I am paying $8 for a pound of cheap quality meat. No. Again, any item that you have not calculated at a comparable price at another store should not be bought at the dollar store. Chances are you will be overpaying.

Something to remember; always check the quantity of any item you are buying. $1 for a product simply because it’s packaged smaller is not a good deal, even when it feels like it! Run the numbers before you shop!

How to Get Free Items at Dollar Tree

I’m all for getting my freebie fix from the dollar store whenever possible!!

Now, all that being said.  Read up on your dollar store coupon policies and be sure you go fully prepared.  Items such as soap, shampoo, cleaners can frequently be gotten for 50cents to as low as FREE after using coupons! 

Read the policies, there are restrictions on how many printables and coupons can be used per day/visit person in addition to the terms on the coupon itself.  Keep the policy nearby on your phone or even better, printed. Oftentimes newer employees don’t even know these rules themselves. 

Great Way To Get Coupons, Read More About These Tips Here.

note: They don’t make it easy to find their coupon policy. Here’s the link, coupon policy can be found near the end of the page.

Frequently Asked About Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree Return Policy

DT does not accept returns. They will, however, “exchange” unopened items if presented with the original receipt at the store.

Their online return policy is very similar. If your order is short or damaged, they will “correct the problem” (they’re not forthcoming about if they’ll refund, but I wouldn’t count on any funds being returned based on their in-store policy)

Can DT Fill Balloons With Helium?

Yes. The price is $1.00 each. You can purchase your balloons at the Dollar Tree store or elsewhere.

Where You Can Find Your Local DT Store

Dollar Tree stores are everywhere and yes, you can buy online too! Just type in your address and get the nearest location here.

What Type Of Payments Does Dollar Tree Accept?

Cash, Personal Check, Authorized business check, credit cards, debit cards. Unclear if they accept traveler’s cheques, check with individual stores.

Dollar Tree Online (.com) Accepts at Time You Place Order

  • American Express
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Discover
  • PayPal
  • They also will accept electronic check payments. This would need to be done by calling Customer Order Support @ 1-877-530-TREE (8733)

Does DT accept EBT

Dollar Tree does accept EBT cards for both SNAP purchases and cash benefits on EBT. I would still suggest you call before you go.

Important: Be certain you designate which part of your benefits the purchase is being taken from. If you accidentally designate your EBT benefit to be used for food purchases, Dollar Tree CANNOT change this after the transaction is complete.

Does Dollar Tree take Apple Pay, Google Pay, Other Contactless Payments?

Yes, see their Twitter post here

Gift Cards and Debit Cards Sold at Dollar Tree

You can purchase gift cards in stores as well as online. GREAT gift idea for someone you know who is a huge frequent shopper! This is also a way to re-load your “budgeted” amount so you don’t overspend. These are also a great option for those who don’t have credit cards but want to purchase with DT online. Pick up a gift card in the store and use it for your bulk online purchases.

Debit cards and pre-paid Visa’s are also available for purchase at Dollar Tree. Be mindful of the “fees” on these, you don’t want to ever get caught with unnecessary fees!

Don’t know what your balance is? Easy to check your balance in the store or use the phone number they provide on the back of the card.

Dollar Tree dot com Ordering, Things to Know

All items purchased online are in larger quantities. So, if you want one package of stickers (4 sheets), you’d end up ordering a “case” of twenty-four packs. Great for Classrooms!

note: not all are a minimum of 24 as mentioned above. Some minimum order quantities are less, but most are closer to 20+

You do not get to choose colors, sizes, styles in these orders, you’ll get a “variety” of what is in stock. When the item you want is only sold in one color, that’s what you’ll get when purchasing. Read descriptions carefully so there are no surprises. Remember, they will replace but not refund purchases.

Dollar Tree dot com does not ship to APO/FPO/DPO military addresses or to P.O. Boxes.

Shipping charges do apply in addition to purchase.

Free ship to store is available. Orders are usually going to take about 5-10 days to arrive from the date ordered. With so many locations, this is usually the best option.

When Is It Too much of a Good Thing?

While you’re ordering something like paper goods online, chances are you’ll use them over time if you have to order minimum quantities.

If you’re ordering picture frames or vases, think twice. Do you need 24? If you need 25, are you going to purchases two cases? The trip you make to your local store is worth the savings and skipping the online order.

Read about Best Tips To Create and Stick To Your Budget

Can You Make Tax-Exempt Purchases with Dollar Tree?

Yes. In-store purchases should present a current, valid tax-exempt card (or certificate) at checkout to the Associate or store manager. (if the store is busy, I’d recommend letting the store manager know you will be using this so they can be sure the associate is familiar with the process).

note: separate your non-exempt and tax-exempt purchases before checking out to save time and confusion.

Online purchases can also use their tax-exempt status for purchases. Obviously, the process is different. Dollar Tree has a pretty good article explaining the process, you should read through this before making the purchase.

Re-Purposing Your Dollar Tree Items

Crafting has long been a great way to de-stress, make extra money, make personalized gifts, you name it! Crafts are great for learning activities for kids too. However, have you ever added up how much you spend on craft items? Yikes, my crafting expenses used to get way out of control.

Re-purposing is a skill and a great one at that. There are groups and Pinterest boards dedicated to up-cycling all kinds of things. Dollar Tree items are the new craft store rage! I used to make wreaths and those wire frames can get pricey if you’re making a bunch. Hold your money honey, buy a less than appealing tinsel wreath at Dollar tree, remove the tinsel and tada… a wreath frame for only a dollar!

Vases and charger plates combined with some paint and cement glue make beautiful tiered servers, organizers, etc.

If you do nothing else, check out the Value Seekers Blog. They have categories for Crafts, Parties, Teacher ideas and so much more. That will get your creative juices going for sure!

Dollar Store Bathroom Organization Hacks

These stores are great for finding all kinds of bargains as well as creative inspiration. Just use caution and common sense when making your purchases. Read labels and check unit prices. When it comes to caring for yourself, your family, and others, saving money does not need to come at a cost to their health or financial well-being. Everything has a time and place, Dollar Tree has a place in your life, just with discretion. As for making that quick $3 run? Well, a list is always your best offensive move in any situation. Sticking to a list, a plan if you’re budgeting or shopping or dieting is always going to be your best bet!

Matt R

Hi, my name is Matt and I'm the founder of Barefoot Budgeting. This site is dedicated to one thing... helping you budget and save money.

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