"You get what you pay for" is a saying we all know, and have (for the most part) experienced. Sometimes we don't care, knowing full well we bought something for a limited use.

We have hundreds of various dollar stores around New England, including plenty in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

However, even the budget-friendly, money-saving excitement at dollar stores filled with goodies and deals is not always worth it. According to numerous sources like Reader's Digest, The Thrifty Apartment website, USA Today, and even home specialist Bob Vila, here are some items you should pay the extra few dollars for.

Read on: Chain w/ Hundreds of New England Stores Closing

Hair and Beauty Products

Cosmetics and hair care product claims aren't regulated. They do expire, and use harsh chemicals and alcohol that make them cheaper to make. Is your skin and hair worth it? This includes sunscreen, which can include harmful "forever” chemicals and toxins.

Pet Food

The unhealthy or missing ingredients are why it's cheap. Or the name brand may be expired or close to it. Is your pet's health worth the risk?  Storage is another potential problem at dollar stores because turnover isn't there, and rodent contamination has been an issue.

Medicine and Vitamins

If something is too good to be true, then it probably is. The FDA has been known to send warning letters to dollar store companies for selling over-the-counter drugs from foreign manufacturers. Also, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and generic vitamins haven’t necessarily been subjected to the same testing and regulations, and may even be missing active ingredients or even expired.

Feminine Products

Tampons, pads, panty liners, and other feminine hygiene products possibly filled with toxins in your body? No thanks.

Plastic Cookware, Utensils, Plates

From plastic cooking utensils to those plastic forks and spoons that grace our barbecues, these are questionable at best from dollar stores. Because they're so cheap, they could easily contain those "forever" chemicals that aren't flame retardant, or release toxins when you add heat.

Oven Mitts 

They have one job: to protect you from getting burned. However, dollar store mitts are often thin, cheaply made, and may not be flame retardant.

Toys, Baby Products, and School Supplies

Cheap toys are made with cheap materials that may not be toxin-free, and that includes plastic school supplies, too.  From health and safety issues to chemicals and toxins, it's best to stay away. Obviously, this goes for baby products like bottles.


Dollar store batteries are more than likely old or generic, made from carbon zinc and not lithium. They're also more likely to leak and damage your electronics and gadgets.


Whether they have thinner wires that can't handle power loads or are just poorly made, there's a very real safety issue with fire.

Phone Chargers and Accessories

It's simple. They're junk, cheaply made, and can damage your phone or computer. Plus they break easily and don't last long at all. I mean, why even go there?


Do you really want to use cheaply made, dull knives when the entire point of quality is safety? Quality matters here, and they're often forever dull, which is incredibly dangerous.

Also, always check expiration dates, especially with laundry detergent and fresh food.

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