Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dollar Store Finds to Stock Up On

Dollar Store Finds to Stock Up on 
for Emergencies

Keep in mind, just because you can get something at a "dollar store" doesn't mean it's a better deal.  Take into account the quantity you will get, the quality, and what all you can use it for.  Some items, even though the quality isn't as good, are so versatile and can be used for so many different things that they are still worthwhile stocking up on.  It's a good idea to get the better quality versions to go along with some of them though.  For example, their duct tape and masking tape.  I just sealed a door up for the winter and had to use the dollar store tape because I ran out of the good stuff, and it's just not sticking properly.  It keeps coming loose.  I definitely want to invest in some better quality tape for more emergent uses like sealing up windows and doors from (depending on where you live) cold in a power outage, dust storms, volcanic ash, fumes from a terrorist attack, etc.   Still, the cheaper version can be useful for a lot of things.  I do like their wide, clear, packing tape and use that for a lot of things. 

Some items sound good but you don't get much like a bottle of Ibuprofen, for example.  You only get 40 pills (the store here).  Equate Ibuprofen at Wal-Mart comes out to .56 cents per 40 pills.  Also, you can get a better price at other stores (often a bigger quantity) for things like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, bleach, cotton balls, etc.  Some items are less than a dollar at other stores like baking soda and salt, just a couple I can think of off the top of my head.  I haven't priced everything, but it's something to keep in mind.

Some things I like to stock up on just as a cheap backup when I can't afford to stock up a lot on the better quality products. For example, shampoo and conditioner, while I don't like their shampoos and conditioners, I've stocked up on them for emergencies.  When the SHTF, you can't be too fussy; and I'm sure I won't be too concerned if my shampoo doesn't lather the way I like.  ;)  (I even made dry shampoo just in case there is a lack of water at some point.  You can check that out here...  (click here)  Same with their dish soap.  You can get a huge bottle for a dollar.  While I prefer Dawn or Joy, and they work much better, the dollar store version will work ok in a pinch; and I feel much better having a couple huge bottles of cheap dish soap in the pantry than none at all since I can't afford to stock up on the good stuff right now.    

Also note, off brands at dollar stores often come from countries with loose regulations so may not be as safe; so use discretion.  I think the main concerns were things like foods, electrical cords, pet food, toothpaste.

Some things to stock up on:

Solar Lights 

Glow Sticks - I tried one, and it actually lasted a long time but they aren't very bright.  I haven't tried any other ones to compare them with.  Anyone compare them?

Dish Soap 

Hand Sanitizer - Especially important during an epidemic.

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Mouthwash, Floss, etc.  - I like to buy the same toothbrush each time because I get used to the size and shape; and the one I kept buying, I think, is about $6 now!  It's just plastic for goodness sake! I finally decided to just get some cheap ones.  I now get a pack of 2 for $1, and I like them just fine now that I got used to them. That's only 50 cents a piece.   There have been concerns about off-brand toothpastes from places like China.  I get my Close-Up there.  I've used that since I was a kid.  I've found those single-use Wisp toothbrushes there too, which are great for putting in a backpack.  Not sure if they have them anymore.  Some nice things they have are only temporary.  :(  

Shampoo, Conditioner, Misc. Toiletries 

Paper Napkins - I priced these at Wal-Mart to compare, and the dollar store ones were cheaper, maybe not as good quality; but I get a pack of 160 at the Dollar Tree.  I figure it can be used as emergency TP too, although you couldn't flush these.  I don't think their TP, paper plates, or regular paper towels are a good deal as compared to some other stores or sale prices; but these paper napkins are nice to pick up, one or two, each time I go there.

Coffee Filters - Many uses.

Miscellaneous Plastic and Glass Containers

Reflective Sun Visors - Some people use these to make solar ovens.  I was going to but decide to go with aluminum foil.  You can check out my solar oven here...  (click here)

Dust Masks  - While I think it's good to stock up on some cheap dust masks, you want to get some high-quality ones too, like the N95 masks.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Bandages and Gauze

Emergency Candles, Matches, Lighters

Steel Wool - You can start  a fire with this and a 9 volt battery. For my fire starter post and photos... (click here)

Super Glue

Utility Knives/Box Cutters

Plastic Drop Cloth - Many uses, including to cover an emergency shelter.

Plastic Table Cloths - Again, many uses.

Plastic Shower Curtains

Plastic Ponchos - Two in a pack.

Aluminum Water Bottles 

Tape - masking, duct, electrical, packing - (See the note above. Get some good quality tape too!)

Playing Cards, Puzzle Books, etc.

Note pads, Sticky Notes

Pens, Pencils, etc.

Manual Can Openers - Buy a good quality one too!

Sewing Kit - I once bought a pack of mini spools of thread there with dozens of  colors!  :)

Plastic Zip Ties

Bungee Cords

Rope, Twine

Work Gloves, Latex Gloves

Garbage Bags - Again, get some good  quality big ones too.  Bags can be used for so many things though.  I recently discovered their small bathroom sized bags, 50 to a pack.  Flimsy but still nice. 

Security Items? - I once bought window alarms there.  Nice to have.

~~Look around, they get different things in.~~  :)


I wouldn't recommend their batteries. They are cheap and tempting to buy but don't last very long.  I wouldn't even want to stock up on them as a cheap backup.  Batteries are too important.  Just look for sales at other stores and stock up then.  E-bay is a great place to get inexpensive name brand batteries.
We get a lot of mosquitoes here, and I use anti-itch cream on bites.  I bought a tube of the Hydrocortisone Cream from the dollar store, and it didn't work near as well as the generic one I get from Wal-Mart.  I suppose it can't hurt to have an extra tube of the cheap stuff.  Maybe there are some things it helps with??

I personally don't think many of the foods there are a great deal as far as foods to stock up on.  Some are, but why pay $1 for a can of green beans when I can get them on sale for less than that? There are some good finds.  Last time, I found bottles of olives that look like rejects; but that's ok because I cut them up anyway when I  make olive burgers or spreads.  

Please share your own suggestions below or let us know
 if you priced something and found a better deal 
elsewhere. You don't have to sign in to comment, and
 it can be "anonymous". 

Thanks for checking out my blog today!  :)

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