If you’re always looking for the best deals, dollar stores are a great place to save big on a variety of things, from gift wrapping and cards to cleaning products and party supplies.
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But just like all discount stores, not everything is a great deal — at least if you’re looking for somewhat decent quality and want to avoid safety hazards. While spending just $1 (or around $1) may seem totally worth it for pretty much anything, buying something just because it’s a “good deal” isn’t always the best strategy.
And we aren’t just talking about sacrificing quality. Some products may not meet safety requirements or even include all the necessary components or ingredients.
So to help you get the most out of your money, and avoid any hazardous bargains, here’s a round up of which dollar store deals you’ll probably want to skip — plus some alternative options for finding the best deal.
9 dollar store deals you should probably skip
1. Electrical cords
You get what you pay for — and then some. Electrical cords at dollar stores may not meet certain safety requirements and may also break very easily. You’re probably better off looking on sites like Amazon or other discount sites for deals on both new and used cords for electronics.
One note on buying Apple cords on Amazon: A recent report discovered a major problem with fake Apple accessories being sold on Amazon — so just make sure to check up on the seller (ratings, reviews etc.).
Same idea with toys. If you’re on a tight budget, check out retailers’ clearance and sale sections, as well as sites that sell discounted and used products.
Tools at the dollar stores may not have the sturdy quality that you typically need for them to actually get the job done. A great way to find deals on tools is to look for special sales at big home improvement stores and also check out Craigslist. People sell all kinds of gently-used tools at a fraction of the cost!
RELATED: 9 items to always buy used
When it comes to medicines, you want to be careful about the possibility that they could be missing ingredients and be different from the top-notch quality product. If you’re looking for a deal on medicine, both prescription and over-the-counter meds, here are some easy ways to save.
Vitamins come with the same risks as medicines. If you want to save, look for coupons and promo codes online, and also check out sales at your local drugstores.
6. Pet food
Same idea. You don’t want your pet’s food to be missing key ingredients or not be the quality you’re looking for.
You’re often better off buying soda when there’s a deal at the grocery store or in bigger quantities at a warehouse club like Costco.
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Gum typically comes in smaller packages at the dollar stores. So if you’re a big gum-chewer, you’re better off buying in it bigger quantities at a warehouse club.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck on batteries that will last, Consumer Reports says that Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand is the way to go.