Doing some shopping at the dollar store is a great way to save money and stick to your budget. A lot of their items are as good, if not better than their name brand counterpart for a fraction of the cost. There are a few things that I am brand specific to, but I have found so many items at the dollar store that have saved me so much money by purchasing at the dollar store. I prefer Dollar Tree, but have found similar items at various dollar stores. The trick is to remember that not everything is a deal at the dollar store, remember to check quantity and quality (on some items) to see if you are getting a good value.
Paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic and paper cups, tablecloths, napkins and balloons. Most dollar stores have a pretty wide selection of paper goods in a variety of colors that will fit almost any theme. Plus, these items are all disposable, so you don't need maximum durability. For my son's birthday I bought green plates and used a food safe black marker to turn the cake plates into Creepers from Minecraft.
We tried the reusable sandwich bags on multiple occasions, but sadly, they kept getting thrown out. Old habits die hard, I guess. I am brand specific to Ziploc for my freezer bags, as I just don't feel like anything else holds up as well. But, for sandwich and snack bags that are used for 3 or 4 hours and then get tossed, these more than do the trick.
Organizers, Totes and Baskets
I recently reorganized my pantry and used teal plastic bins from Dollar Tree. Each bin has a label with what's in it "Beans "Rice" etc. That way if I need something on the top shelf, I can grab the bin I need rather than fishing around trying to find what I need while precariously balanced on a stool (I'm short!). They have a great selection of colors, shapes and sizes. I bought bright primary colored bins for the millions of Legos in the playroom and small woven baskets for organizing bathroom drawers.
My Dollar Tree is right near an AC Moore. When I am working on a craft, I like to check out Dollar Tree first to see what I can get there. Some of my staples are: river rocks, silk flowers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and Kraft paper (which also substitutes as rustic gift wrap). I love to have a lot of pipe cleaners, googly eyes and stickers on hand for rainy days. I'm working on making some hurricane vases for my master bathroom out of vases and candle sticks, both from Dollar Tree.
Let's face it, a lot of times the dollar store has some pretty tacky decorations. But, sometimes you can find some really cute stuff. Carvable foam pumpkins for Halloween, cheap window clings to let the kids decorate their windows and even super cheap mini Christmas lights. Plus, all of the things you can make out of the craft supplies.
I sell on eBay fairly often and realized I was spending a lot of money on shipping supplies. I usually use Priority Mail, so boxes are usually free from the USPS. Other necessities, like packing tape, padded envelopes and bubble wrap cost a small fortune at the post office, can all be had for a dollar.
Envelopes, pens, pencils, lined paper and notebooks are a hot commodity in my house. I stock up and fill a drawer in my desk so we always have stock.
For things like my smoke alarm backup batteries, we use Energizer or Duracell. But, for kids toys, electric window candles and other non-essentials, the dollar store batteries are great being we go through them at a rate that would make the Energizer Bunny
cry dance for joy.
Cat scratching pads-- My cats love these things. I keep one in each of their hangouts and keep extras on the floor of the pantry. Little plastic bags for picking up unmentionables and stakes and rope for the outside tie-out for the dog.
Gift Wrap and Greeting Cards
I refuse to spend $6 on something that is going to be ripped and thrown out. The dollar store usually has super cute wrapping paper designs. During the holidays I usually buy about a dozen rolls of different patterns. The same goes for greeting cards, if I'm going to buy a pre-made card, I'd rather not spend $5 each. Those cards really add up over the course of a year! I like to keep 5 or 6 cards for each occasion on hand. In my corny opinion, the handwritten message is the best part anyway.