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9 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store

While the dollar store may be a great place to buy things like wrapping paper and greeting cards, not everything in the store is a good deal. Here are nine things you should never buy at the dollar store.

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Cords, Chargers and CablesApril Cat/Shutterstock

Cords, Chargers and Cables

Electrical cords, USB chargers and cables for computers and electronics should be purchased somewhere other than the dollar store (a computer store or hardware store is a better bet). Dollar store cables and cords may not be the best quality and can be prone to cracking and breaking, which may result in a fire hazard. Many dollar store USB chargers are for older phones and won’t have enough power to charge your newer device.

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batteries AVS-Images/Shutterstock


Don’t be fooled by the price tag—many dollar store batteries are poor quality and may not last as long as name brands.

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That cheap chef’s knife may be a tempting purchase, but if you’re serious about cooking, get your knives at a kitchen store because the cheap version may not be sharp enough to cut safely. However, dollar store knives may come in handy if you plan to use them just a few times a year, say on a camping trip.

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Pet dog foodEkaterina Markelova/Shutterstock

Pet Food

Skip the pet food and treats at the dollar store. Some varieties may be expired or may not be made from the same ingredients as you’d find in name-brand food. This is especially important if your your pet is sensitive to certain ingredients. Check out these high-tech products your pet will love.

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baking cookies oven mittsAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Oven Mitts

Those oven mitts may come in fun designs and colors, but skip them as they may not stand up to extreme heat. Instead, pick up quality versions to make sure your hands are protected.

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grocery shopping storel i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock


The dollar store isn’t the best place to stock your pantry, as the quality of the food may be questionable, especially when it comes to sell-by dates. If you do buy food at the dollar store, check the date and weight of the item, as many are sold in smaller bottles or packages than what you’d find at your regular grocery store.

Check out how to build a taco holder after you get back from the grocery store!

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vitamins blurryTrong Nguyen/Shutterstock


Check the label before you buy vitamins or supplements at the dollar store. These products may not have the same ingredients as the name-brand version. They also may be sold in smaller bottles, so you might not be getting as good of a deal as you think.

If you have old medications, find out how to dispose of old pills properly.

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windshield wiper fluid shopping Sergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock

Windshield Wiper Fluid

That windshield wiper fluid may have a $1 price tag, but it’s better to pay a little extra for the name-brand version. Dollar store fluid may not have the same ingredients and may not work as well at clearing ice in colder climates.

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Plastic kitchen cooking utensilsGreentellect Studio/Shutterstock

Plastic Utensils

While the dollar store may be a great place to stock up on disposable forks for a picnic, avoid the plastic kitchen serving and cooking utensils because they may be made from cheap plastic and contain unhealthy chemicals. Instead, pay a little more for stainless steel versions.

Up next, find out the secret that keeps dollar store prices so low.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.