Build Wealth With — Dollar Tree!

Image by Sean Owen

If you go into Dollar Tree and spend $100, you might be a redneck.
— Overheard in Dollar Tree

I love Dollar Tree. There, I said it. Despite some of the reservations I have, at the end of the day, I absolutely love it.

The place is like methadone for recovering consumerists, of which I certainly am one. If you ever get an uncontrollable shopping itch, run for the nearest Dollar Tree and go nuts. They’ve got all kinds of wacky stuff, and you can just about O.D. on impulse buying in there, without doing any serious harm to your bottom line 1.

It’s also a great place for a lot of everyday basics. Here are just a few of the things I’ve found there for $1. I think you’d be silly to pay more for any of these elsewhere:

  • Glasses
  • Batteries
  • Detergent
  • Dish Soap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Peroxide
  • Bleach
  • Holiday Decorations and Christmas Ornaments
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Thermometers
  • Razors
  • Various cables (coax, ethernet, even HDMI)
  • Tape Measures

I personally find many of the consumable items they carry, like detergent and soap, indistinguishable from their counterparts at traditional outlets, which can cost up to 10x as much, or even more in some cases. So I am happy to get them on the cheap. (They’re indistinguishable to me, at any rate. If you’re a dish soap connoisseur, feel free to buy yours elsewhere with my blessing.)

Of course Dollar Tree also carries a lot of second-rate crap from China, destined for the landfill. Then again, much of the stuff you’ll find in more “upscale” establishments is also landfill-bound crap from China, only with better branding and a bigger price tag. So who am I to judge?

Still, much like the former junkie furtively leaving the methadone clinic, once you’ve started down the road to financial enlightenment, it can feel slightly dirty walking out of the place with lots of crap you know you don’t really need, even if it was dirt cheap. And of course both the environmentalist and the frugality enthusiast in me take issue with cheap stuff that doesn’t last 2. So it’s best not to go overboard.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re going to give in to temptation, might as well keep the damage to a minimum, and for that, Dollar Tree is your friend.

  1. Nowadays I’m not much tempted by such things any more, even in Dollar Tree. Stores of all varieties are sort of like museums to me, now. I find I can pick up silly stuff I might once have bought on a lark, show it to DW, have a laugh, and move on. I get about 90% as much enjoyment out of the item that way as I would have had I brought it home, at 0% of the cost.
  2. When it comes to consumables, though, it’s six one, half dozen the other as far as the landfill is concerned, so go to town.


  1. Any time I even contemplate buying something now there’s this almost instant thought that just says “That’s a waste, don’t bother”. Then if I start thinking about it for too much longer I just start imagining how much damage the items already done to the environment and how by buying it I’ll just be further encouraging the idea that it’s all OK to make useless crap.

    Maybe I’m just a bit different though…

    • Sean Owen

      I feel the same way. I still fall off the wagon from time to time, but rarely these days.

      Food continues to be my biggest vice. DW and my restaurant and grocery bill last year was ridiculous.

  2. Betty

    LOL! When my kids were young I would for a treat,
    take them to dollar tree. 🙂 The were each told they could
    choose one item in the store. They were so thrilled with
    this “special” treat. Too, yes the stuff was useless crap.
    But, they were entertained for a day on the cheap! Priceless.

    • Sean Owen

      Yeah, Dollar Tree is a godsend when you have kids, especially little ones. It has all kinds of fun stuff. They’ll either destroy or lose interest in more expensive toys just as fast, anyway.

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