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13 Dollar Store Items That Are Cheaper at Costco

It's hard to believe you aren't getting a great deal at the dollar store, but you'll actually find the best bang for your buck at Costco.

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Goldfish crackers as a background close-up


If you’re looking to save money on your favorite snacks, those Dollar Tree bags aren’t as much of a bargain as you might think they are. Take Cheez-It crackers, for example: while a three-ounce bag is $1 at Dollar Tree, Costco sells a three-pound bag for around $9. That means that nine of those $1 three-ounce bags would only amount to around 1.7 pounds of crackers. Meanwhile, you’re getting 1.3 pounds more at good ol’ Costco for the same price. Goldfish are another cheesy snack you’ll save money on. Dollar Tree sells two-ounce boxes for $1 while Costco sells 58-ounce boxes for about $11.

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Chewing gum

Yes, even chewing gum is cheaper at Costco. At Dollar Tree, Wrigley’s Extra Sugar-Free gum comes in four five-stick packages (20 sticks of gum) for $1. At Costco, the same gum comes in 12 15-stick packages (180 sticks of gum) for $8.29. If you were to buy $8 worth of that at Dollar Tree, you’d still only be getting 160 sticks. Even dollar store employees know it’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk—here are 12 other things dollar store employees won’t tell you.

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Heap of white pills on background, Healthcare and Medicine.

Over-the-counter medications

Certain over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen, end up costing much less at Costco than at the dollar store when purchased in bulk. If we crunch the numbers and consider the quantity counts, three packets of 500 mg Tylenol costs $1 at Dollar Tree while Costco offers 50 packets of the same 500 mg Tylenol for $13.49. That makes Costco’s price per package just 27¢ for the same brand and quality. Advil is another brand you’ll save money on: six tablets sell for one dollar at Dollar Tree while 100 tablets sell for 11 dollars at Costco.

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Closeup of female hands pumping out cream, lotion from white bottle, selective focus, Hygiene skin body care concept, selective focus.

Moisturizing lotion

If you buy 15 travel-sized bottles of Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion at Dollar Tree at $1 each, you’ll spend $15 dollars for 15 ounces of lotion. On the other hand, Costco offers a two-pack of 20-ounce Aveeno bottles for $15.49. That’s a total of 40 ounces of lotion for the same exact brand and quality but at a lower price.

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Fabric softener

While you can pick up a ten-ounce container of Downy Fabric Protect HE Fabric Softener at Dollar Tree for just $1, Costco has the better deal of $14.49 for a 170-ounce container of the same softener. In turn, you’re saving about $2.51 by opting for the larger container. By the way, here’s why you should be buying your slippers from Costco.

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Cinnamon crunched toast muesli with sugar


Look no further than Costco’s grocery aisles for the best deal on your favorite cereal. While Dollar Tree charges one dollar for a 3.5-ounce pouch of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Costco members can get 49.50 ounces (a two-pack of 24.75-ounce boxes) of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for $7.99.

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paper towels costcothodonal88/Shutterstock

Paper towels

One 40-sheet roll of Bounty paper towels costs $1 at Dollar Tree, while a package of 12 110-sheet rolls of Bounty paper towels costs $23.99 at Costco. With that in mind, if you buy 24 rolls of Dollar Tree’s 40-sheet paper towels, you’ll be spending the same amount you would at Costco for 360 fewer sheets.

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sports clothing on hangers, abstract background

Clothes hangers

Major deals are in the works at Costco when it comes to buying clothes hangers. Dollar Tree sells felt-covered hangers in packs of two for $1, but Costco’s velvet textured hangers come in packs of 100 for only $26. Not to mention, buying 26 two-packs of hangers from the dollar store would cost you 26 dollars–the same amount for 100 at Costco–and you’d only end up with 52 hangers.

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Close up texture of Green Heavy Duty Cleaning scourer Pad look so abstract.


One dollar for a sponge at Dollar Tree sounds like a good deal until you hit the aisles at Costco. In contrast, Costco sells the same Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty sponges in packages of 21 for $13.99. We’ll do the math: each individual sponge sells for a mere 67¢ at Costco.

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Household cleaners

Some household cleaners, like Comet disinfectant cleaner, can be found at a significantly cheaper price at Costco than the dollar store. At Dollar Tree, a 25-ounce container of Comet is $1. In contrast, Costco sells six 28-ounce containers for $6.29. That’s 168 ounces of Comet at Costco, which is 18 more ounces than if you bought six containers at Dollar Tree. While you’re shopping, make sure you keep these Costco shopping tips in mind to save you even more money.

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If you’re buying for the little ones, a pack of three Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers (size four) goes for $1 at Dollar Tree. At Costco, a box of 180 Huggies Plus Diapers (size four) goes for $46. When comparing the two, if you buy 46 packets of diapers from Dollar Tree, you spend $46 for 138 diapers. For the same price, you get 42 more Huggies diapers at Costco. Here are some other insider secrets from Costco employees.

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A Clear tape dispenser against a white background

Scotch tape

At Dollar Tree, $1 will buy you a pack of two 250-inches long Scotch Transparent Tapes, for a total of 500 inches of tape. On the other hand, $12.99 at Costco will buy you a pack of six Scotch Magic Tape/Gift Wrap Tape, each measuring 1,100 inches long: a total of 6,600 inches of tape. While you’re only saving about 20 cents, Costco still has the better deal. Speaking of better deals, don’t miss out on these 5 secret shopping perks only Costco members know about.

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A collection adhesive bandages of various colors and shapes.

Adhesive bandages

Ten Curad Plastic Adhesive Bandages for $1 at Dollar Tree sounds like a good deal until you head to Costco where you get 480 for $9.29. Curad Plastic Adhesive Bandages at Costco come in a six-pack of 80 bandages each while Curad Extra-Large Plastic Bandages at Dollar Tree come in single boxes of ten bandages. In order to get 480 bandages at Dollar Tree, you’d have to spend $48. Here are some other things you should never, ever buy at the dollar store.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Brittany Gibson
I was a digital editorial intern for Reader's Digest's web department in White Plains, NY and New York, NY for the duration of 6 months. I was responsible for writing 10+ articles per week, reprising/updating old articles, and creating syndications from sister websites. My stories have been featured on Yahoo, AOL, MSN, INSIDER, Business Insider, Best Health, and other websites. My responsibilities also included assisting in producing, editing, publishing, and distributing videos to the RD website. Additionally, I have experience as an editorial intern for Westchester Magazine, a freelance editor and writer through, a social media manager and floor manager at Lombardi's Trattoria (Redding, CT), and a social media intern for the lifestyle and beauty blog The Gossip Darling.