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In a Walmart vs. Dollar Tree battle, how do Dollar Tree’s prices compare to Walmart’s everyday low price guarantee if I factored in package size, coupons, and rebates? In other words, is Dollar Tree cheaper than Walmart? Or more generally, are dollar stores cheaper than Walmart? The answer is a total game changer in this store smackdown. You can use one manufacturer coupon per item and up to two printable internet coupons per transaction at Dollar Tree, which means you can get name-brand products for just pennies. But you can also use coupons and rebates at Walmart. So who wins? It all comes down to one tiny fine print loophole.

Here’s the loophole: If you could use a MFR coupon and a rebate for every brand-name item at Dollar Tree, they’d practically have to change their name to “Dollar Free.” But Dollar Tree knows this. So many of the brand-name items are sized especially for Dollar Tree, and these weird sizes disqualify them in the fine print of MFR coupons, which almost always state in the fine print that the coupon is valid only on certain sizes. Sneaky, sneaky Dollar Tree.

So I compared seven popular brands between the two stores to see who wins the name-brand battle for the lowest prices, and Dollar Tree only won two out of seven.

Make sure to keep up on all the Dollar Tree deals and download the KCL app.

 

Are dollar stores cheaper than Walmart?

A Walmart storefront.

Not always. It depends on the product and which MFR coupons you can get your hands on. Your goal is to get to the bottom of what’s the better value? Meaning, which store gives you more bang for your buck? You can solve this by figuring out the unit cost of each item: price per ounce or price per unit before and after coupons.

Dollar stores thrive on the buzz of pricing seemingly expensive items (pregnancy tests, laundry detergent, calculators) for only $1.25. People assume this is steal and blindly buy. It turns out this is often a money-saver, especially when you factor in the fact that most dollar stores accept manufacturer (MFR) coupons. But not always.

 

1. Use a coupon to grab Bic pens and pencils for almost-free at Dollar Tree.

A person's hand holding two packages of BIC pens in front of a wall of pens inside Dollar Tree.

This one is fairly straightforward because Dollar Tree sells Bic pens in the same sizes as anywhere else. They are much cheaper at Dollar Tree than Walmart, plus you can easily find and use Bic MFR coupons for $1 off, making your pens dirt cheap.

Price before coupon:

  • Walmart Bic pens 10-pack – $3.69 ($0.37 per pen)
  • Dollar Tree Bic pens 10-pack – $1.25 ($0.13 per pen)

Price after coupon:

  • Walmart Bic pens, 10-pack – $2.69 ($0.27 per pen)
  • Dollar Tree Bic pens, 10-pack – $0.25 ($.03 per pen)

See all the Bic deals and coupons here.

 

2. Beware the small sizes at Dollar Tree. And buy Clorox bleach at Walmart.

Bottles of Clorox bleach stocked on a shelf at Walmart.

Now we can look at Clorox bleach at Dollar Tree. It’s a weird 11-ounce size you won’t find qualifies for a MFR coupon. Of course it didn’t qualify for a recent MFR $0.50 off coupon for one Clorox product.

The solution: buy bigger sizes at Walmart and save in the long run, especially when you compare cost per ounce.

Price before coupon:

  • Walmart Clorox Bleach, 81 ounces – $4.42 ($0.05 per ounce)
  • Dollar Tree Clorox Bleach, 11 ounces – $1.25 ($0.11 per ounce)

Price after coupon:

  • 2 Walmart Clorox Bleach bottles, 81 ounces – $7.84 ($0.05 per ounce)
  • 2 Dollar Tree Clorox Bleach bottles, 11 ounces – $2.50 ($0.11 per ounce)

See all the Clorox deals and coupons here.

 

3. Pass on Hallmark cards at Dollar Tree and get Ibotta moneymakers at Walmart.

An aisle of Hallmark cards at Dollar Tree.

You can’t use Hallmark MFR coupons at Dollar Tree because the fine print on these always reads that each card must be valued at least $1.97. Hallmark’s Heartline cards at Dollar Tree are two for $1, so they disqualify for the coupon. But at $0.50 a card, this is a smokin’ deal.

You can use the MFR coupon at Walmart, but it still won’t get you down as low as Dollar Tree’s $0.50 a card.

But we regularly see Ibotta rebates for Hallmark at Walmart (never at Dollar Tree). This is how you make money buying Hallmark at Walmart:

Buy 2 Hallmark Holiday Greeting Cards $0.47, regular price
Pay $0.94, submit for $3.00/2 Hallmark Holiday Cards, Ibotta Rebate
Final Price: $2.06 Moneymaker

See all the Hallmark deals and coupons here.

 

4. Get Oroweat bread at Dollar Tree for $0.45 a loaf with rebates.

Oroweat bread stocked on a shelf at Dollar Tree

Oroweat bread will cost you around $2.98 at Walmart. Even without a coupon or rebate, Dollar Tree wins this one, as the same bread is, you guessed it, $1.25.

Keep an eye on Ibotta and Checkout 51 for Oroweat rebates at Dollar Tree, as they aren’t size specific (a loaf is a loaf). I’ve seen rebates for $0.55 back and $0.25 back on any bread on both apps. Combine those for a $0.50 loaf of bread!

Price before coupon:

  • Walmart Oroweat bread – $2.98
  • Dollar Tree Oroweat bread – $1.25

Price after coupons:

  • Walmart Oroweat bread – $2.18
  • Dollar Tree Oroweat bread – $0.50

See all the Oroweat deals and coupons here.

 

5. Kleenex tissue at Walmart is a win.

Boxes of Kleenex stocked on a shelf.

So here’s an interesting case. I’ve been seeing a lot of Kleenex bundle pack coupons lately. And as you’d expect, Dollar Tree doesn’t carry any big packs of Kleenex. It’s the size thing again: smaller sizes at Dollar Tree. When you stack a MFR coupon with a $1/1 Ibotta rebate at Walmart, Walmart wins.

Use one $0.50/1 – Kleenex Facial Tissue Bundle Pack OR (3) Single Boxes/Packs (cottonelle.com)
Or $0.50/1 – Kleenex Facial Tissue Bundle Pack or (3) Single Packs (scottbrand.com)
Or $0.50/1 – Kleenex Facial Tissue Bundle Pack or (3) Boxes/Packs (kleenex.com)
And submit three $0.50/1 – Kleenex Tissue, Ibotta Rebate (ibotta.com)
Pay $3.94, submit for $1.50 in Ibotta credits
Final Price: $0.81 each, when you buy 3

See all Kleenex deals and coupons here.

 

 

6. Use coupons on Dial bar soap at Walmart for instant moneymakers.

Dial basics soap bars stocked on a shelf.

Walmart’s Dial soap bars already beat out Dollar Tree when it comes to price. Plus, the Walmart coupon policy allows for overages (moneymakers) when your coupon is worth more than the item, and Dollar Tree doesn’t. Factor in a $1-off manufacturer coupon and you should be picking up your soap at Walmart.

Price before coupon:

  • Walmart Dial Basics bar soap, 2-pack – $0.97 ($0.48 per bar)
  • Dollar Tree Dial Basics bar soap, 2-pack – $1.25 ($0.63 per bar)

Price after coupon:

  • Walmart Dial Basics bar soap, 2-pack – $0.03 Moneymaker
  • Dollar Tree Dial Basics bar soap, 2-pack – $0.25

See all the Dial deals and coupons here.

 

7. Dollar Tree loses on Dawn dish soap because of their tiny sizes … again.

Dawn dish soap stocked on a shelf at Dollar Tree.

Dollar Tree only sells Dawn soap in an 8-ounce container. Unfortunately, this disqualifies them from rebate offers like “$0.50 off Dawn soaps 10.1 – 21.6 ounces.” Use a rebate offer at Walmart and save a few cents every ounce.

Price before coupon:

  • Walmart Dawn, 19-ounce – $2.64 ($0.13 per ounce)
  • Dollar Tree Dawn, 8-ounce – $1.25 ($0.16 per ounce)

Price after coupon:

  • Walmart Dawn, 19-ounce – $2.14 ($0.11 per ounce)
  • Dollar Tree Dawn, 8-ounce – $1.25 ($0.16 per ounce because the coupon doesn’t apply)

See all the Dawn deals and coupons here.

 

Why is Dollar Tree so cheap?

Stores like Dollar Tree keep their costs low a lot of different ways, but there are three big ones. First, they buy in enormous bulk. Imagine buying a bag of broccoli at Costco prices, and then turning around and selling each floret for $1.25. That’s not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea. You’re gonna make bank. Second, Dollar Tree buys up inventory when other retailers go out of business. Again, buy low, sell high is the strategy at play.

The third reason is that they don’t often sell the big brand names. Sure, they do carry those names, but they also carry a lot of products that are private-label or “off-brand,” allowing them to get high margins on each sale.

I could go on and on forever, but had to stop here. If you have any other name-brands you can add, let me know in the comments!

What's Cheaper Than Dollar Tree? Using Coupons and Rebates at Walmart