Dollar Store Hacks

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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azurekep
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Dollar Store Hacks

Post by azurekep » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:59 pm

The fuel filler door on my car won't pop open when I pull up the lever. It appears that the spring inside the compartment broke off. I did find a workaround to open it and get gas.

In the meantime, I found a YouTube video that shows how to use a binder clip to replace the spring in the fuel filler compartment. I thought I'd try this before buying an OEM replacement part.

While I don't happen to have any binder clips of the right size, I plan on going to the Dollar Store this weekend to get some of the smaller ones.

That got me to thinking of various "hacks" that can be done with cheap items bought from the Dollar Store.

I use binder clips along with velcro cable ties on my laptop risers to loop cables through. I also set up an improvised charging station using the same items.

Do you have any special hacks you use with clips, cable ties, or other cheap items that can be found at the Dollar Store? The cost of gas to go to the store will likely be more than anything I buy, so I might as well load up.

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whodidntante
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by whodidntante » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:21 pm

My approach is even easier. Just leave the door open. LOL

mega317
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by mega317 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:41 am

Not what you're looking for but I have found the dollar store can be a great source of gifts for younger kids, and millenials (me) who miss being a kid. We've loved racing to put together 100 piece puzzles or playing with dumb little toys on Christmas morning.

snowox
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by snowox » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:17 am

No Hacks but with 4 kids if we are going to a movie or some kinda event we take the kids there first and let them pick and chose some snacks. We also do buy some stuff there regularly like toothpaste and just a couple things because of the deal but when its on the way to something.

pennywise
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by pennywise » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:02 am

I discovered greeting cards are 2/$1.00 at the Dollar Store so I go in periodically and buy a supply for various occasions. With a large extended family I stock up on birthday cards and also get well, condolence, thank you, and congratulation cards. I keep an accordion file at home labeled by category so once everything is sorted and put in there it's easy to get a card immediately and the price is amazingly cheap for literally the same thing that costs $2-$5 dollars at other stores.

I also buy wrapping supplies for gifts-wrapping and tissue paper, bows, boxes etc. That stuff is by definition disposable and again, I get a sufficient supply so I always have some on hand.

Both these types of purchases also save time and aggravation; it's nice not to add one more errand to life because I forgot to pick up a card or gift wrap.

bungalow10
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by bungalow10 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:36 am

Mylar balloons are only $1 there, filled with helium. For that price I can bring a huge batch of balloons to a kid's birthday party!
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:19 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:21 pm
My approach is even easier. Just leave the door open. LOL
On the rare occasion that I forget the close the door on the Bronco, as soon as I get on the highway "wind of passage" takes care of that. It's not a latching door though.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:38 pm

The Dollar Store is a go to. It is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact their bread is really good. Multigrain, etc. Only comes in one day a week around here, and it is gone real fast.
Otherwise just wander the aisles. Some canned goods can be cheaper in the grocery store.
For the reasons people have described already, you should go.
I must not be the only one. Their stock is doing good.

azurekep
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by azurekep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:42 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:21 pm
My approach is even easier. Just leave the door open. LOL
I tried that on the way back from the gas station. Someone honked their horn at me -- trying to get my attention that the door was open. :D

I'd feel uneasy with an open door, but then again, I remember when gas prices were ultra high and thieves would be tempted to siphon when confronted with an unsecured gas cap.

The upside, though, is that if the cable that controls the fuel filler door breaks, you don't have to start dismantling the frame to get at the cable, and install a new one. I'd hate to be low on gas, then end up at the gas station and find out the door won't open because of a broken cable.

azurekep
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by azurekep » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:49 pm

mega317 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:41 am
Not what you're looking for but I have found the dollar store can be a great source of gifts for younger kids, and millenials (me) who miss being a kid. We've loved racing to put together 100 piece puzzles or playing with dumb little toys on Christmas morning.
Yea, I realize I made my question too narrow. I'm looking for ANY ideas on what values people find at the dollar stores. I haven't yet explored the toy area, which is something I should do. I'm enjoying hearing other people's ideas.

I might as well add some additional ones of my own where I've found value:

* Plastic baskets and containers for storage
* Vitamin C - Another shopper was looking at the vitamins, and me playing the naysayer, I said I bet they're expired. She looked closely at the bottle and it was NOT expired. I don't know how they get away with selling vitamins for a dollar that cost ten bucks everywhere else
* Deodorant
* Toothpaste

PoppyA
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by PoppyA » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:57 pm

Platters for Christmas cookie exchanges
"La Bella Luna"

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Info_Hound
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Info_Hound » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:01 pm

Swim noodles

I buy them so I can wrap my quilts around them instead of folding the quilts which result in thread stress and ultimately holes at the fold points.

music_man
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by music_man » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:20 pm

I bought a toilet scrubber from there, cut it down so there was about 2 inches of the wand. The wand then fits perfectly into my cordless drill chuck, and I use it as a power scrubber when cleaning.

runner3081
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by runner3081 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:08 pm

Face wash, shampoo, hand soap, cereal, crackers, cheap cookies, etc. We buy tons of things from there.

gretah
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by gretah » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:22 pm

Baby shampoo - I put it in the soap dispensers at the sinks. Plus I use it instead of laundry detergent.

Generic Purell - I use it instead of deodorant. A doctor told me this is healthier.

Toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste.

Kitchen items, like wooden spoons and pot holders.

Unscented tea candles and box matches to have on hand during power outages.

Fuzzy socks for me and for gifts. Sometimes I find matching mittens for a cute gift.

Sunglasses, reader glasses.

Extra umbrellas to give to guests when they forget theirs when visiting me and it's raining when they go home. Plus one for the car.

LED flashlights.

Teenagers steal contents from locked cars here. So supplies from the dollar store aren't missed so much when I get cleaned out.

ENT Doc
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by ENT Doc » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:54 pm

pennywise wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:02 am
I discovered greeting cards are 2/$1.00 at the Dollar Store so I go in periodically and buy a supply for various occasions. With a large extended family I stock up on birthday cards and also get well, condolence, thank you, and congratulation cards. I keep an accordion file at home labeled by category so once everything is sorted and put in there it's easy to get a card immediately and the price is amazingly cheap for literally the same thing that costs $2-$5 dollars at other stores.

I also buy wrapping supplies for gifts-wrapping and tissue paper, bows, boxes etc. That stuff is by definition disposable and again, I get a sufficient supply so I always have some on hand.

Both these types of purchases also save time and aggravation; it's nice not to add one more errand to life because I forgot to pick up a card or gift wrap.
+1

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Pajamas
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Pajamas » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:04 am

Liquid hand soaps in pump containers are sometimes a good buy, depending on the brand. Bars of soap such as Yardley's and Pears. Liquid and glycerin bar soaps from Turkey.

Some dollar stores have a good selection of generic medications in 1 oz. tubes such as triple antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone and diphenhydramine creams, benzoyl peroxide cream for acne, menthol cream for muscle pain, diaper rash ointment. Aspirin, rubbing alcohol, peroxide are common finds, but the rubbing alcohol is usually only 50% concentration. Check the expiration dates on the aspirin, sometimes they have a range to choose from! Petroleum jelly is a good buy but it is often in the baby section rather than the aisle with personal care supplies.

The bags of candy and packs of gum can be a good value and they are not so huge that you are committing to eating a ton of sugar. Sometimes you can get good name brand candy including the excellent coffee candies or lollipops from Colombia, Brachs, etc. They also sometimes have sugar-free candy, which can be expensive elsewhere.

The boxes of generic artificial sweeteners and zero calorie drink mix packets can be a good value. The little jars of instant coffee are a great price if you need one for an outdoor trip and don't like the little packets with creamer and sugar. It's no worse than the jarred instant coffee from major brands, in my opinion. In general, you can usually find a good selection of snack foods.

Toothpaste and floss. Sometimes I see good name brand toothbrushes, usually imports, but often they don't have soft bristles or they are not name-brand and look cheap. Razors are iffy but if you can find branded razors (Bic, Gillette, Schick), they are okay for several uses even if they are single blades, perfect for traveling. I frequently see name brand pens, markers, mechanical pencils.

Pet toys. Just be careful to choose ones that are safe, but of course that is true at any store. Name brand cat treats (Purina or Meow Mix?) were a good value last time I saw them.

The tool aisle can have a good selection including screwdriver sets for eyeglasses or general tools for occasional use, say pliers to keep in the drawer at the office.

Drinking straws, plastic cups, sometimes plastic containers.

I saw plate covers for use in microwaves last time I was in a Dollar Tree.

Seasonal merchandise can be a great deal. For instance, the flip flops are cheap but kids lose them anyway. Pool noodles, things like that.

andypanda
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by andypanda » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:47 am

I love the Dollar Store. You don't have to get dressed up like you do when you go to Walmart. ;)
Cheap dog toys, too.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:13 am

azurekep wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:59 pm
Do you have any special hacks you use with clips, cable ties, or other cheap items that can be found at the Dollar Store?
I used to use these reflective, velcro strap things to cinch the bottom of the right leg of my pants when I ride a bicycle (to keep it away from the chain).

One day I didn't have one of those straps handy, so I wound up just sort of folding over the end of my pants and putting a small binder clip on it. I wound up liking it better that way (it lets the pants still ride up and down your leg as you bend your knee, rather than bunching up) and have been doing it ever since!

:sharebeer
Stay on target...

Halicar
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Halicar » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:25 am

andypanda wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:47 am
I love the Dollar Store. You don't have to get dressed up like you do when you go to Walmart.
Now there's a relic from the olden days of the internet. I think I saw that picture on fark.com back in about 2004 :D

azurekep
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by azurekep » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:32 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:13 am
I used to use these reflective, velcro strap things to cinch the bottom of the right leg of my pants when I ride a bicycle (to keep it away from the chain).

One day I didn't have one of those straps handy, so I wound up just sort of folding over the end of my pants and putting a small binder clip on it. I wound up liking it better that way (it lets the pants still ride up and down your leg as you bend your knee, rather than bunching up) and have been doing it ever since!

:sharebeer
That is truly a great idea and will try it myself.

I was able to get to the dollar store yesterday and was disappointed to find the smaller binder clips weren't available. I did buy another batch of the bigger ones, figuring I'd find additional uses for them... and magically, here comes a new use. :mrgreen:

(I think the small clips you mention are equivalent to the bigger clips I'm speaking of. Or at any rate, I think the bigger ones will work.)

Bill Bernstein
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Bill Bernstein » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:59 pm

I have a theory about dollar stores, which is that the more economically depressed an area, the better the dollar store.

This for 2 reasons. First, in a tony area, overhead is higher, so they can make a profit on fewer items. For example, in our expensive neighborhood, the dollar store had a very skimpy selection--before it finally closed for good. Second, an increase in the indigent population means that volumes will be higher.

The dollar store in the small, poor town I formally lived in in rural Oregon was excellent; whenever I visit there, I always stop in. Recently we visited a larger, and equally economically depressed, town in eastern Oregon that had easily the best dollar store I've ever seen.

My favorites:

tupperware
superglue
LED light bulbs (in the past 18 months, none of the 50 or so we have in our place have burned out)
minor kitchenware of all types
computer cables
all kinds of tools
and, oh yes, the odd large-sized candy bars that the movie houses can't sell

Bill

likegarden
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by likegarden » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:30 pm

Dollar stores also have internet web sites to sell their wares. I could no longer find wire-mesh waste baskets, such you could keep under your desk. I use them in my garden, burying in the ground with only showing a rim above ground. Perennials (hosta) are planted inside, and meadow mice (voles) can't reach the tasty roots of hostas. I was able to buy a box of 50 baskets on their internet website.

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dual
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by dual » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:53 pm

AA and AAA alkaline batteries
watch batteries
kitchen gadgets
poultry roasting bags

david
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by david » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:08 pm

The dollar store by me has a great assortment of fruit and vegetables, electronics, and more. I have worked the dollars store into my weekly shopping routine (it works cause it is next door from another store I frequent and across the street from a produce store I go to).

I buy:
cherry tomatoes (a pint is 1 dollar, still pricey compared to other tomatoes, but they are affordable compared to the 3 dollars at other stores)
small red potatoes (3lb/dollar)
strawberries (1lb)
artisanal lettuce (4 pack of small lettuce heads)
tortillas (10pk)
pasta (2lb packs)
canned vegetables (2/$1)
canned olives
sometimes they have small containers of fancy jam

It also has small electronics like headphones (now I don't have to feel bad if they get broken or lost), bluetooth headphones (though they were $6), LED bulbs, work gloves, and then standard health/beauty items like toothbrush multipacks, toothpaste (though, I am somewhat scared of where some of these originate as there were news reports years ago about knockoff toothpastes containing bad additives), shampoo/bodywash, and deodorant.

But, you can never know what they will have as their inventory is always changing.

margered
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by margered » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:12 pm

banquet table-sized plastic table cloths

Nyc10036
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Nyc10036 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:28 pm

not hacks per se but ...

made in USA Mead envelopes
made in USA padded envelopes
Christmas gift bags. Some of the designs are a bit cheesy but I am sure the children getting the gifts don't care.
LR44 batteries
timers that use the LR44 batteries
made in USA blank note cards
made in USA greeting cards

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Geneyus
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Re: Dollar Store Hacks

Post by Geneyus » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:57 pm

Between Family Handyman magazine and Pinterest, I have too many "life hacks" to list. Both of those sources supply me with tips and tricks all the time. Google "life hack" and click images. Every once in a while, you'll find something to make your life easier.

As for the dollar store... we just spent $10 so my wife could decorate her cubicle for Christmas. We got quite a bit of stuff. I recently bought a few stiff-bristle brushes (I think they're for toilets) to clean my blender bottles and small-mouth water bottles. They work great.

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