The first time I went in one of the branches of Dollarama, I was amazed and curious how things can be cheap. Then I started questioning the quality.
As I strive to live better with intentionality and frugality every year, I would often think of Dollarama first whenever I need something.
Should I buy it at Dollarama?
I’ve learned that some things are better off to be bought in Dollarama. If quality is a priority, it’s best to spend more in stores like IKEA, Canadian Tire, and Home Depot.
What Do I Buy in Dollarama
I’ve come up of the list of things I’ll only buy at Dollarama because why not. Maybe we have the same list. Let me know what you like or even hesitant to buy.
1. Toiletries and Personal Hygiene
Ex: tissue, alcogel, and shower cap
I like that I buy these items in small packaging but also think of stocks that occupy space.
I am able to save a lot in reusing shower cap from Dollarama. I’ve tried the transparent shower cap from other store only to waste money. The garter would easily loosen up.
Recently, I started using vegan shampoo bar. I use shower cap every day to keep my hair dry except when washing my hair twice a week. So far the outcome is favourable and I’ll keep journaling about it for future blog post.
It was my habit to buy small packs of facial tissue and alcogel and it takes more than a year to use it all. Time to switch gear. I’ll only buy what I need if a thing is about to run out.
2. Travel Gear
Ex: empty reusable bottle, poncho, and packing cubes
Last year I went to Philippines, Cambodia, and Vancouver. It was the busiest year for me. So far.
I kept my things organize with the help of reusable containers and packing cube from Dollarama. Before buying, I compare prices with other stores and went ahead with cheaper alternative.
At first, I have doubt with $3 packing cubes. Can it hold together all my stuff and withstand the trips?
Surprisingly, it did. I bought three packing cubes where I stashed my clothes and toiletries. I didn’t put too much stuff in the packing cubes and zipped and unzipped it carefully because I knew that zippers will be the first thing to break.
Tip: When buying packing cubes check the zipper. Make sure you can open it without hassle.
At some point I’ll buy a sturdier packing cube at MEC for my gadgets and other stuff. For now my cheap packing cubes are doing a great job until it’s time to ship it to a balikbayan box to be used by my sibling.
The reusable shampoo and conditioner bottles helped me to share my stuff with my friends and siblings. And they seemed to like the brands I’m using. Next time they have to bring their own stuff unless they want to try a shampoo bar which I wouldn’t recommend for first timer on a trip.
3. Kitchen Utensils
Ex: placemat, wooden utensil, strainer, stainless bowl, and dish sponge
When I moved to a new apartment, I had to buy mostly kitchen stuff at Dollarama and it will be my habit whenever I need a replacement.
Surprisingly, I found myself using wooden utensils often although I bought other utensils made of metal and plastic.
Wooden utensils are biodegradable and doesn’t ruin cooking ware which probably depends on manner of using things instead of materials it is made of.
The strainer and stainless bowl maybe thin; nonetheless, they get the job done so there’s none to complain. Last time I check, I didn’t notice any dent which I am expecting after several use.
Sometimes I like to be proven wrong.
I used to buy sponges at Dollarama because they are smaller and cheaper than anywhere else. Lately, I’ve been thinking of trying biodegradable sponge to add to my list of sustainable things I’ve been using.
As much as possible, I want to reduce waste that comes out of my place. It’s challenging to go zero waste but I’ll keep doing what I can no matter how simple or seem trivial it is.
Tip: IKEA is a great place to grab a deal . . . depending on what you are buying.
It’s where I bought salad spinner, bed (I’m sleeping on a floor with it. No frame.), utensils, stainless cooking set, etc.
4. Paper Bags and Cards
It has been my habit to write handwritten letters and put it inside a balikbayan box. I always buy an empty card; nothing is written on it because I like filling it up with my thoughts no matter how simple it is.
As for giving gifts, I use paper bags instead of buying gift wraps. It’s practical to use paper bags; use it whenever it is needed instead of having excess gift wrap lying around and waiting to be used for the next occasion.
5. Battery and Cable
When in doubt give it a try. That’s what I did with an HDMI cable I bought for less than $6 to connect a used monitor to a CPU. I’ve been blogging on a desktop with two monitors for years and the cable still works.
I even bought one for my sibling who also get to have a used iPhone send in the Philippines and other gadgets I don’t need.
Why do I even buy AA batteries anyway?
Even if I have a cellphone, I still like to use a clock in the washroom to keep myself from staying too long.
The batteries can be disposed at Staples, Canadian Tire and other ECO recycle center in Canada
6. Fridge Magnet
It’s not for me. Our fridge is devoid of any notes and fridge magnets other than a small free calendar gifted by a tax preparer company every year. It’s their way of saying it’s time for another filing of income tax return.
I sent the fridge magnets from Canada to the Philippines. These are places in Canada that I’ve been to. I’m not planning to fill up the door with magnets. Only half of it maybe.
What I Don’t Buy in Dollarama
Although I like to shop at Dollarama and other similar stores, sometimes I would spend more for some items for quality and surprisingly for a cheaper price.
1. toilet brush – it’s cheaper to buy at IKEA; for less than $2 you can stock up depending on how often you change your toilet brush. How often do you have to anyway?
2. can opener, peeler, knife, and cutlery – I no longer buy set of knives. What will a vegetarian do with steak knives? Two knives are sufficient.
IKEA and Canadian Tire are my go-to stores for smaller kitchen tools. For appliances, I’ll go for the latter.
3. compostable kitchen and garbage bag – It’s cheaper to buy a box with 50 bags in Canadian Tire, Walmart, and Superstore.
I’m thinking of using compostable garbage bag but my roommates would still bring home plastic bags from groceries so might as well use those.
Although I am a minimalist and trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, I can’t force others to live the same way. Live and let live as they say.
Sometimes quality comes with affordability. I’ll keep buying items at Dollarama whenever necessary.
I would love to find other stores where I can buy things not compromising quality. It’s also nice to window shop from time to time and practice discipline instead of impulsive buying.
What do you like to buy at Dollar Store or do you avoid it?