Save Money on Your Groceries at The Dollar Tree!

by Katy on July 23, 2016 · 34 comments

The following blog post first appeared over at Clark Howard.com.
If you have a Dollar Tree store in your area, you likely already know that it’s as a great cheap source for movie candy:
Movie candy
As well as pretzels and chips:
pretzels
But you might be unaware that they’re also a great source for regular groceries, especially if you’re on a budget. For example, they’re a terrific place to stock up on dried beans. At a dollar-per-pound, Dollar Tree beans are an amazing bargain, especially when you consider that a single pound of dried beans cooks up to become 6 cups of edible beans! I’ve bought two-pound bags of pinto beans before, which supplied us with refried beans for quite awhile.
beans
Of course, no bean meal would be complete without rice, so you might as well throw a bag or two into the cart as well. Two pounds of rice for a dollar? Try to beat that price at a traditional grocery store!
rice
And while you’re at it, make sure to buy a few extra bags of corn and flour tortillas, which freeze beautifully. At a buck a bag, tortillas are an amazing deal at The Dollar Tree.
tortillas
Grab a bottle of hot sauce, and you can spice up any meal, frugal or otherwise.
hot sauce
If you find yourself in the position of being the snack parent for Junior’s soccer game, look no further than Dollar Tree for your granola bars needs.
granola bars
Of course, Dollar Tree stores are all going to offer different options, so if you see a great deal on a unique item, make sure to buy it right then and there. This four pack of Westminster Baker’s Co. cinnamon crackers would be a great snack for the family on the go.
cinnamon bits
These Fleischmann’s brand muffin mixes sell at Target for $2.69 per box, so they’re a smart and frugal purchase for your pantry.
muffin mix
Not a fan of muffins? Then these one-pound bins of oatmeal will help start your days off with a full stomach.
oatmeal
Green olives are an item that I try to only buy from The Dollar Tree, as they can be one-third the price of those from my regular grocery store.
olives
With 13,600 Dollar Tree stores throughout America, you’re likely to find one in your area. And since many locations are adding produce, as well as refrigerated and frozen merchandise, you’d be doing your wallet a favor to add them to your rotation.
Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

LisaC July 23, 2016 at 9:38 am

I get name brand bread, some awesome horseradish mayo sauce, and jarred red peppers. All yummy and more expensive in the regular grocery store.

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lulutoo July 23, 2016 at 11:24 am

I agree. I am happy that I have a Dollar Tree near me and have bought many of the same groceries that you show, Katy. I also buy their big bags of potato chips; much cheaper than name brands.

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Mariana July 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

I also like their office / school section.
Big padded envelopes $1 while at the CVS across the street same ones go for $4.99

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Katy July 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm

I hadn’t thought of packing supplies. I usually hoard used supplies, but this is good to know.

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Sarah July 23, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Everything else seems like a great deal, but those beans are almost twice as much as I would pay at my local HEB. 68 cents or for a one pound bag, and sometimes 2 for a dollar. I love HEB, it’s probably the thing I will miss most (on a very short list of things I will miss) when we leave Texas.

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Katy July 23, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Beans here are around $1.29 – $1.99 per one pound bag. Especially for white northern beans.

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Jackie July 24, 2016 at 4:47 am

I love HEB! I’ve lived in Texas my entire life and shop exclusively there except for a period where I had to use Kroger because the small town I lived in didn’t have an HEB. I too can get beans very cheap especially with their DigitalCoupon app.

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Ruby July 24, 2016 at 6:07 am

We visited Texas a few years back and were stunned at how great the prices are at HEB. The rest of the country is deprived of that, though.

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Isabelle July 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Some of those no-name products I would worry about the ingredients…. I buy no name stuff, but at the grocery store only. I would just not trust it at the dollar store.

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Reese July 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

I head there for a few other things too:
-Yard sale signage
-aluminum foil
-canned cherry/apple/poppy seed pie filling (normally $3.49/can at Wal-Mart!!!)
-greeting cards
-Fabuloso cleaning products
-buckets
-dog treats
-anything glow-in-the-dark for holidays
-bubbles
-balloons

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Kris July 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

All we have is Dollar General. Does anyone know if there is a difference in prices between Dollar General and Dollar Tree? There might be one in Springfield which is 35 miles away.

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Laura July 23, 2016 at 4:47 pm

They are different. At Dollar Tree everything in the store is $1.

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Mrs. Picky Pincher July 23, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Huh. You know, I usually avoid food purchases at the dollar store because I automatically assume that it’s either low quality or not as good of a deal as the grocery store. I never stopped to do the math though!

Some of these items do seem like good deals, but it can be even cheaper to make them at home. I’ve started doing this with tortillas, and they turned out way tastier than the ones at the store!

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rjr July 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

I would avoid dog treats from there as well because of dubious ingredients and country of origin.

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Ruby July 24, 2016 at 6:10 am

There is a notable exception to the worries about pet foods made in China; Dollar Tree’s Country Kitchen peanut butter and yogurt dog dental chews are made in Ireland. They’re one of the few inexpensive treats that my dog with food allergies can have.

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rjr July 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Ruby, that is great to know. Thanks.

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janine July 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

I shop at Dollar Tree for bargains such as overstocked hardcover books, office supplies and wrapping paper. I buy theater candy occasionally, but rarely staples. I did buy some pinto beans – $1 for two pounds which was a good deal. My rule is to check for point of origin and try to buy stuff made in this country.

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meg July 23, 2016 at 6:31 pm

I can see there could be some good deals…but adding yet another stop for grocery type items is not in the cards for me right now. Time, hassle and gas are money too, especially with little ones in tow! Now, if the dollar tree had a drive-thru window…..

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Heather G. July 24, 2016 at 11:59 am

While they do not have a drive thru per say, you can order from their website and pick up at a store near you. They even have the options of mixing boxes so if you don’t need 36 pkgs of tortillas. Now not everything is available such as eggs and bread but a good deal is.

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Bonnie July 23, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I love you, Katy, but this was way too much like product placement.

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Kristen July 24, 2016 at 4:58 am

If it was sponsored in any way (including product placement), Katy would be legally required to disclose it, so I don’t think this was sponsored.

Sometimes I just blog about stuff I like, without the company having any idea I exist, and I’m sure Katy does too.

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Madeline July 24, 2016 at 6:07 am

I don’t think Katy is into advertising.I like that she shares photos of the things she’s doing and what’s available. I had forgotten about Dollar Tree and am now going to check out the dry beans,since we eat a lot of bean meals.

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Ruby July 24, 2016 at 6:23 am

One of my friends who is single and doesn’t cook much really appreciates the smaller sized packaging at Dollar Tree. For her, it prevents waste or over-eating.

I “wallpapered” the inside of our dark china cabinet with $2 worth of black and white toile patterned sticky-back vinyl from Dollar Tree. It looks very chic and now we can actually see the stuff inside it. DT is also where we get the textured gripper vinyl — it’s actually shelf liner — that keeps the pets from sliding around their bedding and bowls.

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Vickie July 24, 2016 at 6:40 am

I agree, it’s awesome. I stop in at least 2-3x per month to pick up things that are cheaper to buy there. Between the Dollar Tree, Aldi’s and Dollar General I get more things for my money by choosing to buy certain things at each one.

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Bellen July 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

I use Dollar Tree for the Sudoku books and the 2/$1 greeting cards. The cards have the price right on the back – usually $3.49. Hubby bought heavy duty automotive oil pans (round and 2″ deep) to use as plant saucers – great buy. Also have bought solar garden lights there and they lasted longer than the much more expensive ones bought elsewhere.

The food choices at our Dollar Tree seem to be mostly snack/candy choices but the product selection changes almost daily. That’s according to the staff.

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Jennifer July 24, 2016 at 9:34 am

Dollar tree has hormel packs of pepperoni that are $3+ anywhere else. Also, dollar tree will accept manufacturer coupons so I get name brand bar soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, drink mixes, for not much. Mylar balloons are only $1. They also have name brand makeup such e.l.f. and Sally Hansen nail products. My favorite dollar tree find.. Ankle, elbow, and knee support braces for $1!

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Jennifer July 24, 2016 at 9:35 am

Oh and spices! Big bottles of garlic salt for $1.

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Pat July 24, 2016 at 12:40 pm

I was pretty horrified over this blog. I am really against dollar stores since they carry so much Chinese junk and have become a blight on the American landscape. As far as I’m concerned they are in the same league as WalMart and I would never shop in one unless there is absolutely no where else to go and I was desperate.

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JenniferK July 25, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Agree. And sometimes the bottom line isn’t worth the risk:
http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/toothpaste.asp

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Susanne g July 24, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I didn’t know we had a Dollar Tree on the bus route and will check it out. Pat (above commenter) you can have your frugal line in the sand, as do we all. Shopping at a particular store doesn’t make anyone evil. Most stores and products we have no idea about the owners’ ethics or bent. We all choose our priorities.

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Diane C July 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

I’m a bigger fan of the 99 Cents Only Stores, but they are in just a few states, all west of the Mississippi, IIRC. The difference between the two is that DT buys things that they can sell for $1 every day. 99 Only tries to stock the shelves with things that normally sell for more than $ 1.00 through closeouts, bulk buying, package changes and the like. (Among other things, I used to sell made in the USA shelf liner to them. When you have something they want, they will buy ALL of it.) Given these different objectives, DT tends to have more consistent inventory. and 99 Only has deals you want to load up on, ’cause they might not be there next time.

Two favorite DT purchases that I haven’t seen mentioned yet are poster board 2/$1, in black, white and neon colors, perfect for garage sales and…pre-baked thin-crust pizza shells. Hmmm, is there a connection there? No. The pizza shells only come in one color, lol! They freeze well and I usually toss a dozen at a time into the freezer for quick meals. Not the healthiest, but better than ordering out.

One caveat: Watch your prices and quantities. Winco sells black beans for .70/lb all the time and foil at dollar stores tends to be 25′, which isn’t a lot.

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Erika July 25, 2016 at 4:25 am

Dollar Tree saved me a lot of money when we were trying to have our son. I used their ovulation predictor kits and pregnancy tests. 1 buck a pop beats the drugstore any day, and they did work. The evidence just celebrated his second birthday. 🙂

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Amy August 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I loved their pregnancy tests! They are surprisingly sensitive, and I had fun testing with them early because I didn’t have to worry about how much they cost.

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Rachel H July 27, 2016 at 8:55 am

I live in Florida, and there is a Dollar Tree in our local Winn Dixie shopping center. I noticed they had taken out the food aisle and asked the cashier why. She said Winn Dixie sued dollar tree and they can’t carry food if they are in the same shopping center. I told my husband, and we both think that that is not very likely. Hubby said that it probably was in Winn Dixie’s lease that the shopping center could not rent to another food store.

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