How Shopping at Dollar Stores Saved Me $40 This Past Halloween

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  • I encountered a lot of extra expenses this Halloween.
  • Turning to my local dollar store resulted in a lower total bill.
  • I was also able to stock up on a variety of fun little items to make Halloween special, rather than just candy.

At a time when costs are so high, I was happy to enjoy the savings.

I remember the days when preparing for Halloween meant buying my kids a costume each and purchasing a large bag of candy at my local Costco. Gone are those days.

Now that my kids are older and enrolled in different activities, there's a lot of pressure to participate in a host of Halloween events leading up to the actual holiday, including class parties. So this year, in addition to purchasing costumes and regular candy to give out to trick-or-treaters, I had to buy both sweets and non-food items (think pencils, erasers, and stickers) for several dozen Halloween goodie bags.

All told, this year's Halloween credit card tab was higher than it's been in years past, due in part to those obligations and also due to the cost of everything being higher thanks to inflation. But I did make one smart move in the course of my Halloween purchases -- I paid a visit to my local dollar store. And by my calculations, buying a number of key items there saved me $40 this fall.

A host of low-cost items

I'm normally a little cautious about buying food at dollar stores because I worry about expiration dates. But I made the decision to purchase some candy at my local dollar store after checking the packages carefully and seeing that the expiration dates in question were actually quite reasonable. (One candy item I bought had a "best-by" date of February 2023 -- that's better than some of the candy items I found at my regular supermarket.)

I also turned to the dollar store to load up on non-food supplies for the dozens of goodie bags I gave out. First, I bought my bags themselves at the dollar store and paid $1.25 for a pack of 20. I would've paid $4 or $5 at Target or on Amazon.

I also stocked up on pencils, notepads, erasers, stickers, and temporary tattoos (which I'm not at all a fan of but kids seem to love). I wanted to include some non-food items in my goodie bags in case children had food restrictions like allergies, or parents who don't allow them to eat sugar (it's not something I enforce in my household, but I respect other parents' rights to restrict junk food as they see fit). These items also cost $1.25 for a bunch of 12-packs, but those same 12-packs would've been three to four times as much at another store or online.

Why spend more than you have to?

I can admit that I went a little all out for Halloween this year, but my children happen to really love it, as do I. And it was fun showering my kids and their friends with extra goodies this year.

But I'm really glad I made the decision to stock up on Halloween items at my local dollar store. And I'm also glad I planned ahead and hit that store the second week of October, because friends of mine tried following my lead the week before Halloween and didn't have nearly as much luck.

The next time you're celebrating a holiday or event and need goodies for a crowd, it makes sense to see what items your local dollar store has in stock. You may find that you're able to cut down your costs nicely. And at a time when everything is just so much more expensive than normal due to inflation, that's an important thing.

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