Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to host barbecues, graduation celebrations, summer birthdays and the Fourth of July. So, it’s smart to start stocking up on items you know you’ll need, especially if you happen to catch those items on sale.
There’s another way to save big on what you’ll need to host your next summer celebration, as well — head to your local dollar store. The great thing about shopping at the dollar store is that prices are generally low every day of the week, so you don’t have to wait for a sale to save.
To help you know what to look for, here are 10 excellent dollar store finds you need for your next summer bash.
Joann Butler, lifestyle expert and editor-in-chief of LifeMinute.tv, recommends stocking up on citronella candles at the dollar store if you’re having an outdoor party. Not only can these candles provide ambiance, but citronella also helps repel pesky insects like mosquitos.
At Walmart, a six-pack of citronella tealights is 88 cents, while a 12-pack at Dollar General is only $1. These tealight candles have a burn time of about 2.5 hours each, so it makes sense to stock up at this price.
Cocktail napkins are another item Butler suggested buying at the dollar store. At Dollar General, you can pick up 16 cocktail napkins for $1 (about 6 cents per napkin) and choose from an assortment of colors and prints. In comparison, a pack of 20 cocktail napkins at Bed Bath & Beyond is $4.99, which is about 25 cents per napkin.
To be fair, the Dollar General napkins are 2-ply, whereas the Bed Bath & Beyond ones are 3-ply, but the price difference is undeniable.
“If you’re hosting any kind of outdoor summer party, there are so many excellent vases you can find at Dollar Tree stores for $1.25 each,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews. “They’re easy to use for centerpieces — just fill with some decorative rock and then tuck a candle inside, and you have a simple but elegant look for an evening affair. Even better, these can be repurposed for decorations throughout the year, so these won’t be something you have to pack away when summer is over.”
A glass vase at Walmart starts at $3.97, which is over three times more expensive.
Red, White and Blue Floral Bushes
Elice Max, co-owner and marketing director at EMUCoupon, suggested buying red, white and blue floral bushes as patriotic decor for Fourth of July parties, which are available for $1.25 each at Dollar Tree. These would work well in glass vases, too.
Walmart offers a bit larger option — not flowers, but a red, sliver and blue mixed glitter berries bush, but it’s also more expensive at $3.47.
“These are a game-changer for parties any time of year, and at Dollar Tree, you can grab a variety of designs for $1.25 each,” said Ramhold. “They’re perfect for holding tea, punches, or even mixed cocktails like margaritas and will keep your guests refreshed without you having to constantly make drinks.”
A decorative plastic pitcher at Walmart is priced at $2.98, or over two times what one pitcher costs at Dollar Tree.
“You can find regular glasses like tumblers but also specialty glasses that’ll make themed dinner parties a lot more fun,” said Ramhold. “Think shot glasses for bite-sized desserts or daiquiri glasses for frosty poolside drinks. Or even cactus stemmed margarita glasses. That’s not all though — you can find regular glassware like champagne glasses, wine glasses and even beer mugs and pilsner glasses. The fact that you can buy them for $1.25 each also means you can get exactly what you need, rather than having to buy a whole set if you only need a few.”
Walmart’s glassware is mostly sold in sets. However, the store does sell some open stock, but it’s not as cheap. For example, a stemless wine glass is $1.48, or 23 cents higher.
“Why spend a ridiculous amount of cash on dinnerware when you can find great patterns and colors at Dollar Tree?” Ramhold asked. “There are seasonal patterns like lemons and blue flowers, but also modern patterns like black and white dashes and solid colors as well. Switch things up by mixing and matching to create your own place settings at a fraction of what it would cost elsewhere, whether you want something to be used year-round or for a specific themed party. At $1.25 per piece, you can get as complicated as you want, or keep things simple without spending a fortune.”
Walmart offers a four-pack of melamine salad plates in assorted solid colors for $5.94, which averages about $1.49 per plate. However, the retailer’s standard-size melamine dinner plates are $3.78 each, which is about three times the cost of Dollar Tree’s offerings.
Plastic Storage Containers
“Most of these containers are less than $2 apiece or come in a multipack for around the same price,” said Deepak Tailor, founder and CEO of Latest Free Stuff. “Most food containers are also similar, and you do not need brand-name ones to ensure your food will be properly stored. You can also use these containers to hold games and party supplies, which makes it easier to store for the next time you have a party.”
For example, at Dollar General, you can pick up a three-pack of 8-cup storage containers with lids for $3.75 or $1.25 apiece. At Walmart, a two-pack of the same size containers is $2.86 or $1.43 apiece.
If you’re planning to host regular cookouts this summer, check your local dollar store’s prices on condiments — and not just the generic brand. Sometimes name brands at dollar stores are cheaper than they are at Walmart or the grocery store. For example, Dollar General’s current ad has a 38-ounce bottle of Heinz Ketchup for $3.50. At Walmart, the same product is $4.28.
Just like with condiments, you can find great deals on snack foods, such as chips, at the dollar store. The current Dollar General ad lists full-size bags of name-brand chips like Ruffles, Fritos, Doritos and Tostitos at two for $7, which averages to $3.50 each. An 8.5-ounce bag of Ruffles at Walmart retails for $3.98, so you can really rack up the savings by buying such items at your local dollar store.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 Dollar Store Finds You Need for Your Next Summer Bash