What You Should Be Buying At The $1 Store Part I

I shop at the Dollar Store as often as I shop at the grocery store.  I really do.  And I regularly have friends ask me what on earth it is I continue to buy in there.  So I thought it would be fun to do a series sharing with you exactly what it is I’m shoveling into my cart at the Dollar Store.

First of all, the trick in shopping the Dollar Store is knowing what stuff costs elsewhere.  There’s plenty of stuff in there you can buy at the grocery store for .50 cents, so don’t get duped.  And there’s plenty of junk you shouldn’t even bother with, even for a dollar.

I’m here to tell you what’s what.

modeling clay

This edition of What You Should Be Buying at the $1 Store is all about crafts and crafting supplies.  Obviously.

My bestie Marie LeBaron, queen of kid crafts, swears by the Dollar Store.  She gets most of her crafting supplies there, and I’ve become a believer.

Not to be confused with a Beleiber.

craft supplies

My friend Heather has an entire blog devoted to Dollar Store Crafts.  There’s an entire world of crafting in those crowded aisles of the dollar store, belieb it.

craft glitter

Here’s my list of craft supplies you should be picking up on the cheap:

  • modeling clay
  • glitter
  • googly eyes
  • Popsicle sticks
  • pipe cleaners
  • fake flowers
  • floral wire
  • glitter glue
  • ribbon
  • scrapbook paper
  • felt
  • foam wreaths
  • flower tape
  • pom poms
  • wrapping paper
  • beads
  • hot glue sticks
  • hole punch
  • shaped hole punch
  • stickers {if there are a ton of them in the package}

What do you buy at the dollar store?  Do you have any other awesome craft supplies you buy when you’re picking up cheapy, cheap-0, McCheap supplies?



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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Shea :

    I love the Dollar Store.
    I can, and will, buy anything from there. I figure since it’s only a dollar, I can afford to take a stab in the dark at anything from there.

    • Allison :

      It’s true Shea! I love it. And when I “miss”, which I do all the time, it’s not a biggie because I haven’t spent the whole wad on something pricey. It’s fabulous.

  2. sunny :

    I buy gift bags. You know the “quick, we’ve got a birthday party in 10 minutes and still have to hit Toys R Us on the way,” kind of wrapping dilemmas? Suits the bill just fine and places like the grocery store or Toys R Us always charges you at least $5 per bag. During the school season I try to stash one in the back of my car for just such emergencies.

    I also by a crap-ton of glowsticks – especially this time of year. I load every kid in the Halloween Trick or treat party up with as many glow sticks as they want. “You want to be a glowstick mummy? Cool, load up, kid.” I firmly believe it helps the rapid candy marauders stay visible to any traffic they encounter.

    • Allison :

      Sunny, I forgot about those! Yes, we do too. They’re especially great for late nights on road trips, those glow sticks. Worth their weight in gold.

  3. Marie :

    Great list. Not sure I knew about the modeling clay. Good find!

    Ha, I’m totally the same as Shea. It’s only $1, so totes worth buying and trying. :)

    Thanks for the shout out, lady!

    • Allison :

      Well, it always switches out, right? Depending on the week you can find some pretty rad stuff. A couple weeks ago it was modeling clay, so we stocked up!

      You don’t need my shout outs, but I’ll give them to you anyway. Because I love you like that.

  4. Kristen :

    Love these suggestions. I always hit up the dollar store when friends with small children come to visit, especially if they’re doing a road trip back home. I make a grab bag with a bunch of little presents (mini coloring book and crayons, travel games, glow sticks) so they get to open one thing each hour/100 miles/whatever. It’s been a HUGE hit, and I probably spend more on the brown wrapping paper than I do on the presents!

    • Allison :

      You are the cutest. I actually have done that since my kids were tiny, and it makes the road trips the greatest thing ever. My kids are in love with traveling, probably because it all started out with presents from the dollar store.

      So funny we both do that! I need to blog about it actually…

  5. rachel :

    Well, I’m not in the market anymore, but when I was I would totally stock up on ONE DOLLAR pregnancy tests. Seriously. Peeing on a stick used to be so expensive! (Fun, yes, but expensive!). Some of the stores also carry ONE DOLLAR ovulation sticks. I even researched the preg tests online one time and it turns out the dollar store ones are actually really good/sensitive.

    • Anne :

      Second. I found this out on one of those “I’m trying to get pg” boards on Babycenter. I had a POAS addiction. Rachel, did you do your research on http://www.peeonastick.com by any chance? Because that site even shows you what a positive one looks like. I love the Internet.

      • Allison :

        Anne, the internet is made of awesome and dipped in glitter. Amen.

    • Allison :

      You know what, those preg tests are going in another one of my dollar store posts. I buy them all they ARE accurate. Love it.

  6. Ani Reina :

    I use the trusty dollar store for Birthday cards, along the same lines as buying the last minute gift bag. The other dollar store must is candles. I truly love burning candles to just have on for ambiance and the dollar store pillar white candles fit the bill. My mom also turned me into the person who stocks up on sweets before the movie theatre. Thanks mom!!

    • Allison :

      Ani, that’s fabulous. I’ve never bought candles at the dollar store. Ever. I buy the glass votives all the time and then use IKEA candles in them, but I’ll have to try some of those.

      And movie theater treats? Can’t miss those.

  7. Carina :

    I haven’t been to a dollar store in YEARS. I’m scared to go into one in case I want to buy the whole store; I get so tempted by the price that I probably buy more than I should. Also, the dollar store depresses me, like everyone in there is 20 minutes and half a Hale-Bopp from expiring.

    This post is making me want to duck into a store just to check it out.

    • Allison :

      You haven’t? Are you kidding me? You’re a child of the hippie parents who save plastic bags but you don’t shop at the dollar store? I’m speechless, truly.

      The dollar store is made of fabulous. And you can find the most random nonsense in there sometimes. Or, you can find porcelain screen printed classic Winnie the Pooh Christmas ornaments. Maybe, if you’re lucky like me.

      • Carina :

        See, I think this just would encourage me to spend more money on crap I don’t need because I CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

        Besides, we got all our random nonsense at Ream’s. Duh.

  8. Nemesis :

    You didn’t mention the music! They play crazy awesome music at the Dollar Store, so you may find yourself shaking your heiney down the aisle while stocking up on awesomeness.

    • Allison :

      Do they? It’s probably drowned out by the sound of my children begging for things. I’m going to pay attention next time. Shake my caboose a little.

  9. Sarah :

    I am in, I love shaking my heiney :)

    • Allison :

      I’d like to see that!

  10. Katrina :

    I don’t go to the $1 store often, usually when we have a birthday party, but I do LOVE the Target $1 spot! I get the girls glow sticks and shove them in my purse for the summer. If we go to movies in the park or fireworks, I am not paying $5 for one glow necklace. Plus they have extras to hand out, to make friends while we are there ;)

    • Allison :

      Target is so far away from my house that I rarely go. And when I do, I spend too much money because it’s all made of amazing. But, I have found some awesome stuff in that dollar spot.

      I hear you on the glow necklace stuff. That’s actually going in a future post….

  11. Rain :

    I always find goodies at the Dollar store. But, I’m totally all about the Target Dollar Spot, as well. Like right now, they have cutesy bins and boxes… and if you’re into making organizing fun? Head on over and stock up. I’ve been sorting and categorizing like crazy cakes…and for a dollar, I can enjoy it in every way.

    Also? My bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen look AMAZing.

    • Allison :

      You’re trying to tempt me to drive 40 minutes to Target aren’t you? I need cutesy bins and boxes. I’m obsessed with the organizing.

      Thanks a lot.

  12. christina :

    we go every week too – my daughter is only three and she wants only one thing a big shiny balloon and it makes her whole week and then she comes home and plays with it for hours. hmm Crafts – in the kids toy isle they have really cute wood letters with a full magnetic back aka they can be painted etc. They are also just as nice as our melissa and doug letters so we have a couple of sets for my daughter to make words with.

  13. JennyM. :

    My hubby wanted to go into the $ store yesterday…. just because, and I…. turned him down. Guess where we are going on our date tonight? Yup!

    And Allison, this is my first time on your blog and I love you already. Not in the creepy, stalker sort of way, but in the “her-humor-is-so-refreshing-and-she-can-certainly-make-me-laugh-with-her-wit-especially-at-4:38-in-the-morning-so-how-can-I-not-help-but-love-her-already” sort of way. And yes, yes I did just put in all those hyphens. Thank you for this fun post!

    PS- I also appreciate the little note below as I am writing that talks about using HTML tags. HA! like I actually know how to do that! :D

  14. Becki :

    Foam core! My kids (all elementary age) make everything out of it–forts, signs, castles, zoo buildings, puppets. And $1! It is at least $4 everywhere else.