Jenna McMahon | 

What Not to Buy at Dollar Tree: 10 Items to Skip

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Knowing what NOT to buy at Dollar Tree is the key to snagging $1.25 finds the smart way. Yes, if you can believe it, some Dollar Tree deals are actually bad deals — compared to what you’ll get at other retailers.

You don’t want to get sucked into buying smaller-sized items or generic brands at Dollar Tree and end up paying more than you would for a larger size elsewhere. Some items are even cheaper at regular prices at other stores when you compare them to Dollar Tree.

Here’s a list of 10 items you should NEVER buy at Dollar Tree because you can buy them for cheaper somewhere else.

Psst — don’t forget to use our tips for an amazing Dollar Tree haul for even smarter ways to shop!


1. Never buy colored pencils from Dollar Tree — they’re more expensive than Walmart.

crayola colored pencils at walmart

Dollar Tree school supplies can save you a bundle when you grab the basics like scissors and calculators. But when it comes to colored pencils, never buy them from Dollar Tree. Instead, go to Walmart — they’ve got larger packs of name-brand colored pencils for a lower cost per pencil. And you’ll save even more with a coupon!

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Pay $0.12 per colored pencil at Walmart
Compare To: Colored Pencils (8 Pack), $1.25 at Dollar Tree

TIP: Don’t forget your Crayola coupons when you shop for colored pencils and crayons!


2. Avoid buying the generic Dollar Tree “Vaseline.”

Petroleum jelly at Dollar tree

A 3.53-ounce tub of petroleum jelly from Dollar Tree is $1.25. But you can buy a larger tub of Equate petroleum jelly from Walmart for just $1. So don’t buy the generic “Vaseline” brand from Dollar Tree. Instead, go with Walmart’s Equate brand for a better deal.

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Pay $0.27 per ounce at Walmart
Compare To: One ounce of petroleum jelly, $0.35 at Dollar Tree

3. Never buy sugar from Dollar Tree — you’ll get four times the sugar at Walmart for less per pound.

Great value sugar on a counter

At Dollar Tree, one pound of sugar for $1.25 is a bad deal. Especially when you can buy four pounds of sugar for just $2.84 at Walmart.

Dollar Tree sugar might seem like a good idea, but you can get four times as much for less than $1 per pound if you shop at Walmart instead.

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
$2.84 $2.84 (0% Off)
Pay $0.71 per pound at Walmart
Compare To: One pound of Azul Granulated Sugar, $1.25 at Dollar Tree
Use these sugar coupons to save even more.


Related: Walgreens vs. Dollar Tree: What’s Cheaper?


4. Don’t buy AAA batteries from Dollar Tree — buy them from Amazon when they go on sale.

Dollar Tree AAA batteries usually come in a pack of four, so for $1.25 a pack, you’re paying about $0.31 per battery. This may seem like a good deal, but it actually isn’t. Not when you can buy Amazon Basics AAA batteries for just $0.07 per battery when they’re on sale!

Amazon AAA Batteries
As low as $21.92 $61.38 (64% Off)
5% or 15% off with Subscribe & Save
Pay as low as $0.07 per battery
Cut costs even more with these battery coupons.


5. Never buy Crest toothpaste from Dollar Tree — buy it from Walgreens when there’s a sale and a coupon.

a hand holding a box of crest pro healthy advanced toothpaste at the drug store

Toothpaste prices are ridiculous, but buying Crest toothpaste from Dollar Tree won’t save you as much as you think. Yeah, you’ll pay $1.25 for one tube of Crest, but you can buy it for just $0.25 per tube at Walgreens when you stack a sale price with a coupon and then top it off with a Register Reward.

4 Crest Toothpastes
In-Store Deal
Buy 3, receive $5 Register Reward
$6.00/4 Crest or Oral-B Dental products, Walgreens App Coupon
Pay $6.00, get a $5 Register Reward
Pay $0.25 per Crest toothpaste at Walgreens
Compare To: Crest Toothpaste, $1.25 at Dollar Tree
See all the Crest coupons available now.


Related: Dissecting the Battle of Dollar Tree vs. Family Dollar


6. Don’t buy Dollar Tree’s generic soda; look for freebies on name brands instead.

Soda at dollar tree

When you can get name-brand soda for free, buying generic-brand soda from Dollar Tree for $1.25 seems like the worst deal ever.

All you have to do is wait for a sale and a BonusCash offer from Rite Aid to score 2-liter sodas (like Pepsi and MTN Dew) for free. Here’s what that looks like:

Two 2-Liter Sodas
In-Store Deal
$0.00 $2.99 (100% Off)
Buy 2, receive $5 BonusCash
Pay $5.00, get $5 BonusCash
Pay $0 for two 2-liter soda bottles
Compare To: One 2-liter bottle of generic-brand soda, $1.25 at Dollar Tree
Grab these soda coupons before you shop.



7. Never buy shampoo from Dollar Tree; you can actually MAKE money when you buy it from Walgreens.

A shampoo moneymaker from Walgreens puts Dollar Tree prices to shame. Instead of paying $1.25 per bottle of generic-brand shampoo at Dollar Tree, you can walk out of Walgreens with two free bottles of Garnier Fructis and an extra $0.78 in your pocket. To snag this Walgreens moneymaker, stack a coupon, promo code, and a Walgreens Cash offer like this:

Two Garnier Fructis Shampoos
-$0.78 $6.58 (112% Off)
Buy 2, receive $4 Walgreens Cash
$3.00/2 - Garnier Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner, Style, or Treatment Product, Walgreens Digital Coupon
Pay $3.22, get $4 Walgreens Cash
Pay -$0.78 for two bottles of Shampoo
Compare To: One bottle of Shampoo, $1.25 at Dollar Tree
And of course, we have plenty of shampoo coupons to choose from.


8. Don’t buy hand soap from Dollar Tree — you can buy four bottles for less than $2 at Walgreens.

four bottles of Softsoap hand soap sitting in the basket portion of a Walgreens cart

A 7.5-ounce bottle of Softsoap for $1.25 at Dollar Tree is a bad deal. Why? Because you can buy the same bottle for less than $0.40 at Walgreens when you stack, stack, stack those coupons.

Softsoap Hand Soap
In-Store Deal
$1.47 $7.96 (82% Off)
Buy 1 get 1 50% off
Buy 4, receive $4 Register Reward
Pay $5.47, get $4 Register Reward
Pay $0.37 per bottle at Walgreens
Compare To: Softsoap Hand Soap 7.5 oz., $1.25 at Dollar Tree
See all the hand soap coupons you can get right now.


9. Never buy Carmex lip balm at Dollar Tree — you’ll save $0.27 on each at Walmart.

Carmax lip balm at Dollar Tree

Walmart sells three packs of Carmex tubes and jars that are cheaper than a single Carmex from Dollar Tree. You’ll pay just $0.98 per Carmex at Walmart, compared to $1.25 per Carmex at Dollar Tree.

In-Store or ONLINE Deal
Pay $0.98 per Carmex at Walmart
Compare To: Carmex Moisturizing Medicated Lip Balm, $1.25 at Dollar Tree
Use these Carmex coupons to save even more.


10. And finally, don’t buy garlic powder at Dollar Tree — buy it at Walmart to save $0.21 per ounce.

Garlic powder at Dollar Tree

Walmart’s store-brand garlic powder isn’t just cheaper than Dollar Tree’s, but you get more out of it. So don’t buy a 2.5-ounce container for $1.25 at Dollar Tree. Instead, you can get a 3.4-ounce container for $1 at Walmart.

In-Store or ONLINE Deal
Pay just $0.29 per ounce at Walmart
Compare To: Supreme Traditions Garlic Powder, 2.5 oz., $1.25 at Dollar Tree

What’s something you’ve learned NOT to buy at Dollar Tree? Leave it in the comments below!

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