Dollar stores can be great places to pick up survival supplies, as long as you realize that in many cases, you get what you pay for.
Here are a few things I’ve seen at my local dollar store that might make for decent supplies:
Food: They typically have a variety of canned and boxed food, such as veggies, instant potatoes, and sweets. Be sure to look at the expiration dates on these things. At my local grocery store, I can usually pick up canned veggies on sale for $0.50 each so be sure to shop around and don’t overpay. Just because it is at the dollar store doesn’t always mean it is a great price.
Soda: Yeah, I know, soda is terrible for you. But, for a measly buck, I can get 3L bottles of it and refill ’em with water from the tap when the soda is gone.
Sunglasses: Something I recommend be in every bug out bag and other kits, yet often overlooked. Pick up several pair at the dollar store, that way if you lose or break a pair, you aren’t out a ton of dough.
OTC meds: Things like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin. Again, watch the expiration dates as well as the number of doses in each package. I can pick up a bottle of 500ct ibuprofen for around $4 at other stores, so I’m not going to pay a buck just for ten or fifteen tablets.
Hand sanitizer: I like to have several bottles of this on hand as it helps in cutting down the spread of illnesses. I frequently see little travel size bottles sold in a three pack for a dollar.
Feminine hygiene supplies: I don’t use these myself so I can’t speak to the quality of them. But, having a few pads in your first aid kit to use as compression bandages isn’t a bad idea either way.
Sewing kits: I sometimes see little travel size sewing kits at the dollar store. Comes with a few needles as well as several bundles of thread of varying colors. Not a bad idea for expedient clothing repair but I do wonder about the quality of the thread.
Ice packs: These smallish instant ice packs work well on bruises and similar injuries.
Toilet paper: Probably not the softest brand around but it’ll still be better than leaves.
Aluminum foil: Check the square footage of the package and compare it to your other local stores to make sure you’re getting a decent price.
Glow sticks: Great additions to any survival kit, come in a wide range of colors and sizes.
Even though the price seems right, I’d never buy hand tools at a dollar store. Not unless you want to impress your friends by showing them you can bend a wrench with your bare hands.
Same goes with anything electronic. Even something as simple as a book light just falls apart the first or second time I’ve tried to use it.
Dollar stores can save you money, as long as you’re careful.