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How To Build A Long-Lasting Bargain-Priced Stockpile At The Dollar Store

How To Build A Long-Lasting Bargain-Priced Stockpile At The Dollar Store

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With many Americans and homesteaders living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s often hard to find the extra money necessary for stockpiling.

One great help is the local dollar store. While not everything in the dollar store is actually cheaper than it is in big box stores, there are some things that are significantly less expensive. The trick is to do your research and know how much the same or comparable item costs elsewhere.

I recently took a run through a couple of my local dollar stores just to see what I could find. Here’s the smart buys I spotted:

1. Cardboard boxes for the fire

I’ve found the local dollar stores to be the best source of cardboard boxes. Many of their products come in low-quality cartons, which are actually better for my purposes than the rugged ones. Shredded and soaked in water, they can be compressed into bricks in a homemade mold, just like newspapers. This is a cheap way of coming up with fire-starter or fuel for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. The store may even thank you for hauling them off.

2. Anti-bacterial hand cleaner

I’m a big believer in anti-bacterial hand cleaner as a survival supply. In a situation where water may be at a premium, washing your hands before eating may seem like a luxury. But it’s much more than that; it’s a means of helping to halt the spread of disease.

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If there’s not enough water around, then anti-bacterial hand cleaner may just be the way to go.Personal hygiene supplies

3. Personal hygiene supplies

Some personal hygiene supplies are much cheaper at the dollar store, especially when you buy their brand. I was shocked to find razor blades for about a third of the price they are in other stores. Granted, they don’t have a brand name on them, but they still work just fine. Another good find was toothbrushes. You can buy packs of cheap toothbrushes and similar personal care supplies cheaper at the dollar store than anywhere else.

4. First-aid supplies

Some dollar stores have a fairly good collection of basic first-aid supplies, especially adhesive bandages and medical tape. I was even able to find knuckle bandages in one local store, much to my surprise. First-aid supplies can be rather expensive, so it’s nice to find them at a low cost. I do suggest you buy a test box so you can try the bandages before stocking up. Some of those bandages don’t stick all that well.

5. OTC medicines

How To Build A Long-Lasting Bargain-Priced Stockpile At The Dollar StoreI think the dollar store is the only way to buy antihistamines, decongestants, cough drops and other over-the-counter medicines. These are generic products, which means that they are made of the same ingredients as name brand ones. But they are not made to such exacting standards. In other words, if something is supposed to have 50 mg of the active ingredient, the generic brand might have slightly less of that amount. But that’s close enough that it will still work just the same.

6. Duct tape

You can buy duct tape pretty much anywhere, and I try to buy the best. But there’s one thing I’ve found about dollar store duct tape that’s unique; they sell little rolls of it, rather than the big ones. Those little rolls are much better for survival kits.

7. Plastic dishes and cups

I’ve found some great survival gear in the kitchen section of the dollar store. They have cheap plastic bowls, cups and plates, which are perfect for camping as well as survival.

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They also are the cheapest place around to buy Nalgene water bottles, which is what everyone recommends using instead of the cheap water bottles that you buy bottled water in. Nalgene doesn’t release chemicals into the water.

8. Plastic storage containers

I’m a big fan of storing my survival supplies in plastic bins and even plastic food containers. I live near the Gulf of Mexico, so one of the survival scenarios that is central to my planning is hurricanes. Storing things in plastic bins makes it water repellant and can even help it float. That helps protect my food and other supplies in case we have flooding.

9. Food

Buying food at a dollar store is a bit of an iffy proposition. There are some products which are the same as you buy in the grocery store and others which are off brands. Some of those off brands can really taste kind of off too, in my opinion. But one thing I’ve found is that dollar stores tend to have pre-packaged meals or main courses, which don’t require refrigeration. These are usually very hard to find and make great survival food.

What would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:

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12 comments

  1. My favorite brand of canned stew and chili is Hartford House, and I have only found them at Dollar Tree. They taste great, I prefer them to the way more expensive Armor or Hormel .

    • pennywise and pound foolish you are! “Buying food at a dollar store is a bit of an iffy proposition.” I’d say so – seeing how most of it is from china and completely free of regulatory oversight. way to go you survived the apocalypse and now your entire family has stomach cancer, AWESOME!!!!

      • Those toothbrushes are also probably from China. I wouldn’t use them for the same reasons you cite about their food.
        Their plastic cups and plates and utensils are probably not too great either. BPAs, etc.

  2. I wholeheartedly disagree with purchasing hand sanitizers of any sort – cheap or not. Almost all contain triclosan which is a dangerous endocrine disrupter. If you want to be healthy in a crisis or normal life situations it is important to use natural means of disinfectant and even medicines. Long term autoimmune diseases can be caused by the accumulation of man-made chemicals we ingest and put on our body each day. We use essential oils for disinfectants, creating healthy skin care, natural cough medicines etc. These natural substances work with the body to support the body’s healing process without creating more stress as the body tries to detoxify and can become overwhelmed. Studies are being done on some of the chemicals used in many products that may be cancer causers with prolonged use. If you want to live off the grid don’t buy into the fake modern chemical lifestyle.

  3. we stockpile 32 oz bottles of hydrogen peroxide. It’s proven to be one of the world’s best antiseptics, household cleaners (just dilute with water and put in a spray bottle) & mold/mildew removers. It’s also environmentally safe- only one active ingredient, hydro P. and one inactive ingredient, purified water. My buddy who works in the professional mold extraction business says just spray directly into mold & wipe of with a dry rag. It even reveals mold in areas & on surfaces NOT so obvious since you can actually see white bubbling when mold is present.
    and Hydro. Per. is CHEAP at Walmart and probably even cheaper at the dollar stores

    • Be aware of the SHELF LIFE if items you stockpile. HO (hydrogen peroxide) is a wonderful sanitizer, but breaks down into H2O. Consider vinegar, which can be used to clean MANY things, and even preserve food.

  4. This article is VERY iffy. A LOT of the food at Dollar stores comes from China. There are a few brands of food made in the USA so stick with them or the name brand. $1 Campbell’s beans are ok.Plastic containers sometimes don’t seal. Buy when they have name brand specials on them. Zip lock bags are usually more expensive per bag .NEVER buy medicines made in CHINA> I have seen many people wind up with reactions. Their antibacterial soap is actually dangerous with an unknown source for active chemical. NEVER buy pet food in off brands there. In fact even paper towels for $1 can be bought at any supermarket for $.88 when on sale. Store brand BUT made in the USA.I shop $1 for certain things like gift paper,cards,Party good which can be more expensive per item than say Sam’s club.

  5. What are some of the better sites to find like-minded people in the Hampton Roads Virginia area just now getting started what do you do first what I’m reading probably move but this is where we work so all you lifers tell me where to get started

  6. There’s a lot of comments about stuff being from China in the Dollar stores. However, I don’t find any more stuff from China in Dollar stores than I do in any other major store. Target, Walmart, other grocery stores… it’s a global economy, and despite popular opinion, there ARE actually standards that have to get followed.

    Also, most of the plastic containers now are made and labelled in regards to being BPA free; I’ve found many really useful, foodsafe plastic containers that are BPA free at the Dollar Tree that are perfect for spices, lotions, or sauces, and I use them. I don’t have stomach cancer from it. Even the ones that are produced from overseas.

    One of the nicest things about Dollar stores is you can get smaller quantities of things. Pound for pound, sometimes the dollar stores are actually more expensive, but when you factor in the realization that if you don’t have refrigeration or power, things like smaller cans of foods- soups, meats, canned beans or vegetables- will get entirely eaten, instead of only partly eaten and then having to discard the remainder after the safety window has passed on them.

    I’m always finding overstock in the dollar store from brands I see all the time in the grocery store, and especially for things like canned meat, it ends up saving a lot of cost. The downside is that once those items are purchased, they don’t get restocked. So it’s really a game of figuring out what you eat, how much you will eat, and purchasing the best quantity for your value.

    I always keep expiration dates in mind: If there’s a type of sauce I really eat a lot and it shows up at the dollar store, I calculate how much I think I’ll eat in between now and the expiration date on the package, and buy slightly less than that. Because if you overeat your favourites, you’re GONNA get sick of them.

    Another trick to watch out for is remembering only to store what you eat. It’s fine to get excited about a great deal or sale item, but if you don’t eat it much, it’s gonna go to waste. It’s better to buy one can as a special one-time “treat”, instead of a whole flat of cans. Trust me when I say, “If you’re not going to eat it today, you probably won’t really want to eat it tomorrow or the next day.”

    I always hear about these people who buy cases of ramen noodles but don’t eat them regularly. I don’t think they realize that those noodles go rancid a lot faster than spaghetti, because they’re deep fried. Let me tell you from experience, eating rancid ramen sucks monkeyballs. Your stomach does not forgive you. Move along.

  7. I have never commented on these before, but shopping at dollar stores is never really a bad idea just make sure you check dates to see when it expires and see where the product has been made. There’s nothing wrong with buy dollar store items my family of five does it all of the time. I’m 18 years old and I have made a stock pile that’s worth hundreds in just a few months and have purchased most of it at stores such as family dollar, dollar general, and the dollar tree as well as other stores like big lots and acme not to mention Walmart and any other store that has really good deals.

  8. I like dollar store shopping! I’ve been buying things for kids, for example, a mini connect 4 game, card games come with 3 or 4 games for a dollar( old made, hearts, go fis & war) pencils, sissors small activity books. And hard candy! My favorite is Dollar Tree! And of course all that was mentioned above! Sometimes, small tarps, hand warmers, folding spoon- fork-knive set( I bought a lot of those!) my ideas are limitless! And it’s fun! Take care, be safe & God Bless!

  9. This is NOT something u can get @ $$store, but I consider it one of the most important safe & long lasting food storage item there is. Lowes has much higher quality & longest lasting 5 gallon buckets there r. They also have the special lids that allow easy access to contents of bucket…no more breaking the top to get in.
    The lids themselves cost $7, but have a ring that snaps onto the top of the bucket, which also is threaded. The second part of the lid is a spin off top that threads onto the new ring on top of the bucket. Spin in, spin off…anytime u want. I have many extra, so that when I have to open one of my long term storage buckets, I then put the ring on that bucket w the spin off top, & there I am w a seal that I can spin on, spin off.

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