Bargain shopping: Dollar store deals to avoid

Out of necessity, most of us have become bargain shoppers.  There are some dollar store deals that should be avoided. Here are some of the common traps that you can find in nearly any dollar store that are deals that should be avoided.

Pet products

Pet food is often on display at the end of a rack in a dollar store.  Before you reach for those cans of food for your dog or cat, make sure you are one hundred percent sure of what you are purchasing. Unless the brand is a name you recognize (and you've checked the expiration date) do not purchase dog or cat food at a dollar store. This is one of the dollar store deals to avoid.  In fact, there are several pet items that should be avoided in dollar stores including flea collars (check out expiration dates and brands), toys (they may have unsafe pieces or chemicals) and even shampoos.  Don't put your pet at risk trying to save a few dollars.

Small toys

While it may be tempting to stock up on small toys for your nieces and nephews or your grandchildren, avoid dollar store deals.  Many of these toys are fraught with dangers including small parts which can cause choking and some contain lead paint. Items such as books, crayons or jigsaw puzzles are typically safe to purchase but avoid most toy purchases at dollar stores.


Unless you plan to replenish batteries frequently, avoid purchasing battery deals at a dollar store. What may seem like a great deal initially can turn into a real ordeal. You might spend a lot less purchasing batteries at a dollar store, but if you have to replace them three times as often as you would a more expensive, brand name.  Batteries are generally a dollar store deal that should be avoided.

Electronic and electrical items

Electronic and electrical items are at the top of the list of dollar store deals to avoid.  While it may be tempting to purchase an extension cord or a lamp for your desk very inexpensively, you should be aware that many of these items are not rated and should be avoided.  This also goes for decorative lights.  Check the rating on the tags on electric items before purchasing them.


As a general rule of thumb you should avoid dollar store deals on tools.  The tools that are sold in dollar stores are poor quality and will likely not last. Hammers, screwdrivers and similar tools should last a very long time.  Poorly made tools that are sold in dollar stores are liable to break soon after you purchase them making them another dollar store deal to avoid.

There are many great bargains that can be purchased at dollar stores. There are also many hidden hazards. Be certain that regardless of what you are purchasing at a dollar store that you carefully check packaging, expiration dates where applicable and take into consideration safety features.  While bargain shopping is a way of life for many, there are dollar store deals that should be avoided. Bargains are not always bargains.