5 Products Renters Should Always Buy From the Dollar Store

published Sep 18, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Renting an apartment definitely has its advantages, but it’s pretty hard to get over the fact that your monthly housing costs are going towards your landlord’s wealth and not your own. Because of this it’s no surprise that the wealth of the average homeowner is over 4,350 percent more than that of the average renter ($231,420 for homeowners compared to $5,200 for renters, according to a September 2017 federal reserve release.)

While those numbers are pretty drastic, this article isn’t about scare tactics, it’s about solutions. Homeownership may be a while away for you, but there are some ways to stash some cash in the meantime—either for a down payment or other investment avenues—like comparison shopping when possible. (Why spend more if you don’t have to?!) And while your neighborhood dollar store can be packed with impulse buys and overpriced items, experts say it’s also home to some of the best deals renters can find. Here, they share the items they’ll never spend more than a buck on:

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Zip ties 

Zip ties can come in handy way beyond just securing your loose cords and cables together. All renters should have a bag of these versatile tools handy for everything from snaking a clogged drain to hanging holiday garden. And, according to Tracy Fauntleroy, director of marketing at Morgan Properties, an apartment management firm based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, you’ll save at least a couple of bucks picking them up from the dollar store compared to a big box store.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Laundry bags

Although it’s possible to score in-unit laundry as a renter, many of us have to schlep down the hall, to the basement, or even to the laundromat. In that case, laundry bags are a must for transporting laundry. And Rowland Hobbs, co-founder of apartment rental app Stake, recommends spending only $1 on them. Unlike $3-4+ you’d spend at a home goods store, you won’t mind when these accidentally show the inevitable wear and tear. (They’re pretty handy to use in the dishwasher, too!)

Stylish storage

You know what’s often weirdly more expensive than you think it should be? Storage. From glass jars in the kitchen to plastic shoe boxes for the bathroom, Hobbs recommends skipping an organizing specialty store and instead heading to the dollar store for cute and functional storage.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Picture frames

Although you might not be able to paint the walls or make other big design changes in your rental, there are still ways you can show off your personal style. One of the easiest tricks to making a rental reflect you and your personality? Display your treasured photos. Jordan Bishop, Airbnb host and founder of Yore Oyster and How I Travel, says the picture frames at the dollar store offer a great value. They’re of a comparable quality to the cheaper ones you’d find at a craft store, but still only $1.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Removable hooks

Nails, screws, and thumbtacks are often a dicey move in rentals because of wall damage. (Yes, you can spackle when you move out, but let’s be honest: It takes a good amount of time and there’s already so much to do!) While we probably don’t have to convert you to the cult of the Command Hook, there’s a good chance you’ve been overspending on them thus far. According to Fauntleroy, you can save a good amount on 3M brand adhesive hooks if you pick them up from the dollar store. (Yes! They’re even name brand!)

“As long as you follow the application and removal instructions, as well as the weight restrictions, you should be good to go,” says Fauntleroy. 

Own and not rent? A trip to the dollar store is still totally worth it. Here, 5 things you can find there that maintenance experts say every homeowner needs.

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