Best (And Worst) Things to Buy at Dollar Stores for Summer

Ah, summer.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ah, summer. It’s the time of year when living is supposed to be easy. The laid-back sentiment extends to shopping for summer essentials. The goal: Spend as little as possible in as few trips as possible on items that won’t hang around past Labor Day including beach toys, picnic supplies, Memorial Day and Fourth of July décor and the ilk.

When it comes to picking up expendable seasonal merchandise on the cheap, start at a true “dollar store” such as Dollar Tree, where everything sells for a buck or less. No Dollar Tree nearby? Dollar General is a good alternative, though you may pay more than $1 for many items. And we've also seen Walmart slash prices on some items to less than a dollar in a bid to beat back the dollar stores.

To help you put together your summertime shopping list, we scoped out the uber-affordable offerings at Dollar Tree. We also tossed in a little Walmart for comparison’s sake, since sometimes it comes in even cheaper than the dollar store. Take a look.

Bob Niedt
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.