There are 5 things you should always buy at the dollar store and 1 you should definitely skip. When I say dollar store, I’m not only referring to those magical places where everything’s a buck but also to stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar. These no-frill retail shops have a lot of cheap stuff, some of it great and some of it isn’t worth a dollar. Let’s talk about 4 surprising must-haves and one really bad idea.
Bullseye Barbecue Sauce
Bullseye Barbecue Sauce is pretty much the best bottled barbecue sauce on the planet. Many years ago, Cook’s Illustrated Magazine did a comparison tasting of bottled sauces and it blew the competition out of the water with its spicy and sweet taste. In recent years, Bullseyes has been shoved off mainstream supermarket shelves and relegated to the bottom shelf at dollar stores. That also means it only costs a buck to buy the best barbecue sauce there is.
It’s definitely worth searching the narrow aisles at the dollar store for this delicious condiment.
Speaking of barbecue, if you like to make homemade rubs, don’t think about getting your spices anywhere but the local dollar store. They offer bottles that are usually twice the size of brand-name spices at the supermarket for about 75% less.
Don’t expect to see anything too exotic on the shelves. You’re not going to find saffron or garam masala. But you will save big on staples like cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and bay leaves. Helpful holiday hint: give the gift of homemade spice rubs. You can make enough for 30 people for 30 dollars. Then just repackage it all in the bottle it came in and print off your own homemade labels.
Jiffy Baking Mixes
Jiffy cornbread mix is the Eighth Wonder of the World. It’s better than most homemade cornbread. Jiffy also makes great cake, biscuit, and pie crust mixes. Like the delicious Bullseye Barbecue sauce, it has largely been relegated to the shelves at the Dollar Store.
Don’t let that stop you. When you see Jiffy baking mixes, load up your little plastic basket. They make great reasonably-portioned treats. Plus, their cake mixes don’t require additional oil. Just one egg and some water. If you feel like a richer cake, you can always add a little butter or oil.
Curly Hair Combo
If you happen to have curly hair and are spending a fortune on special shampoos, I want you to consider these two items from your local dollar store instead. The first is V05 conditioner. Back in the day, V05 was a top brand. These days it’s mostly found at the dollar store. Nearly any $1 bottle of V05 will take the place of an expensive curly hair co-wash or leave-in conditioner. It’s very watery and runny, so be careful when dispensing it. But that’s why it works so well, it’s water-soluble.
Pair that runny conditioner with L.A. Effects Sports Gel. The electric blue goop does the same job as $40 bottle of gel from beauty stores. Trust me.
What Not To Buy
But there’s one thing you should never buy at the dollar store (or anywhere else you see them.) You see those cheap batteries labeled “heavy-duty?” Well, they are actually the opposite of heavy-duty.
They aren’t near as good as regular alkaline batteries. Regular old alkaline batteries have a higher energy capacity, they work better in cold weather, and they have a longer shelf life. Do not buy them. You aren’t really saving money.