Canada is a country that is both big and beautiful, but due to the climate and the distance of travel, you may end up spending more than you expected while traveling in the country if you don’t plan. But fortunately, there are ways you can take a road trip through Canada while sticking to a budget and still making the very most out of it.
Head down the Trans-Canada Highway, one of the longest roads in the world, as it spans 8030km. It goes from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. To start exploring across four islands, nationals parks, glaciers, and more, you need a car and a plan.
Rent a Car
This is one of the easiest ways to get on the road in Canada. Plan by exploring different rental fees and insurance options. Some companies can charge one-way drop off fees, which can get costly. Numerous credit cards cover rental car insurance, so there is no need to buy it twice. Your existing car insurance can cover it, too.
Buy a Used Car
Used cars often cost a lot less than new ones, and if you are planning on staying longer than a few weeks, buying one can come in handy. The main thing you should think about when purchasing a car for your road trip through Canada is obtaining car insurance. In British Columbia, the laws for protection are different, and you should research them ahead of time.
Driving in Winter Weather
In the winter, Canada’s roads are often salted, which can eventually cause damage to your vehicle. Older vehicles can need their timing-belts replaced not to destroy their engines. The brakes and tire tread should also be checked regularly. Making sure your car rental or the vehicle you are purchasing has winter tires can be crucial. All these can help prevent vehicular accidents and keep you safe during your road trip through Canada.
30+ Products to Buy and Not to Buy at the Dollar Store
The Dollar Store is a very convenient place. You can find all sorts of things there for cheap, but let’s be honest: there are some items you just don’t want to buy at a Dollar Store. Whether you aren’t comfortable with it or you don’t trust the quality, there are reasons. One way or another, here’s our list of items that you both should and should not buy at a Dollar Store.
Should: Coffee Filters
Coffee filters are a great bargain at Dollar Stores because you don’t really need to buy brand name coffee filters. A coffee filter is a coffee filter, a cheap one gets the job done just as well as an expensive one. That being said, why not buy them for cheap?
Moreover, you can often get packs just as big for a dollar as the ones you can get at another retailer for even more money.
Shouldn’t: Electric Devices
We’re not saying that all electronics have to be expensive, but such products are one of the few in which their price is often heavily tied to their quality. A $1 power strip is probably going to be inferior to a more expensive one.
Needless to say, whatever electronics are being offered at a Dollar Store, you’d probably be better off investing in something a bit more expensive elsewhere.
Should: Hair Accessories
The Dollar Store always has plenty to offer when it comes to hair accessories. Bobby pins, hair ties, headbands, you name it. You can usually get a ton of them for very cheap, and they aren’t the types of products that you need to spend a lot of money on regardless.
Products like that are perfect to buy at the Dollar Tree because you can get more for less, without sacrificing too much in regards to quality.
Shouldn’t: Body Wash and Shampoo
You get what you pay for. For some people that don’t have sensitive skin or fragile hair, the body care products you can get at the Dollar Tree may be alright. But for those who don’t, it’s probably not a good idea to place their faith in those cheaper products.
Sometimes, you have to pay more for the products that meet your needs. When it comes to body care products, that’s something you may have to do sometimes.
Should: Plastic Buckets
You might be wondering why you would need to buy a plastic bucket, but let’s be honest: at some point or another, plastic buckets have their uses. You never know when you’ll need to combat a water leak, or just to wash the car! That being said, you can get plenty of them for cheap at a Dollar Store.
And they’re just plastic buckets, so it’s not like you need premium versions of them or anything, right? Right. A plastic bucket it really only worth about a dollar.
Shouldn’t: Toilet Paper
Let’s be honest, toilet paper that doesn’t cost much is not pleasant. They are low-ply and don’t feel particularly good. And besides, regular toilet paper isn’t that much more expensive, so why be so stingy when it comes to bathroom comfort?
We know for our part that we wouldn’t want to use cheaper toilet paper when we don’t have to. That’s something we’re willing to spend extra on.
Should: Dish Towels and Washcloths
These items are often expected to be dirtied or damaged in no time at all, so why spend a bunch of money of them when you don’t have to? That being said, both of these are great buys at a Dollar Store, because you shouldn’t pay a lot for something so expendable.
Really, all of the things you should buy at the Dollar Store are like this. If they won’t last long anyway, you may as well not spend a lot on them.
Shouldn’t: Boxed and Canned Foods
It may seem like a bargain to get boxed and canned foods at the Dollar Store, but for one, you may not actually be getting a better deal than at some regular grocery stores. Moreover, we’re just not sure if we’re comfortably buying, say, canned oysters at a Dollar Store.
Who knows, maybe such foods are just as good from the Dollar Store as anywhere else. But for the life of us, we don’t really want to risk it.
Should: Greeting Cards
There’s plenty of holidays in which you’ll feel inclined to send cards to people. At Walmart and other retailers, such cards can cost $5. At the Dollar Store, they cost $1. We’re sure you can do the math and determine why it would be a good idea to buy them cheaper.
After all, it’s not like they are inferior cards, and you can get several for the price other retailers are asking. It’s just good business sense.
You may be able to find brand name batteries at your local Dollar Store, but if you can’t you can probably find non brand name batteries there as well. That said, you shouldn’t expect such batteries to last very long or be particularly durable.
If you can find Duracell or something, all well and good. But if you have to buy generic batteries, chances are they won’t be very good, so skip them.
Should: Picture Frames
If you just need a basic picture frame, why spend more than one dollar on it? After all, you can decorate such picture frames yourself if you want to, and probably still get an end result that is cheaper than buying a fancy frame.
Besides, it’s a good opportunity to express your creativity if need be. Or just if you want to. After all, it never hurts to get a little creative every once in awhile.
Pens are inherently cheap because they aren’t hard to make. But pens from the Dollar Store are often of low quality, either being very easy to damage or just running out of ink much faster than other pens you would pay a bit more for.
Sure, you could buy a lot of pens at the Dollar Store for cheap but you could also just buy one good pen for roughly the same price from elsewhere.
At the end of the day, socks are one of the most disposable articles of clothing out there. We tear through them in no time, and they’re bound to get holes sooner or later. That being the case, why bother buying expensive socks when you can just buy cheaper ones for a dollar that are just as good?
Obviously, you shouldn’t. Just buy socks for cheap because they have a pretty limited lifespan anyway. And we all know how easy it is to lose one.
Shouldn’t: Baby Utensils
Plastic does come in many different qualities, and you have to ask why some plastic is cheaper than others. The thing is, extremely cheap plastic may have toxic substances in them, and this potentially includes utensils that would go in your baby’s mouth.
Needless to say, it’s better to just play it safe and spend a bit more money to ensure a baby isn’t getting any dangerous toxins in its body.
Should: Party Supplies
Party supplies are things you buy for literally just one day, so why spend a whole lot of money on them? Besides, party supplies don’t have to be super fancy or anything, so you should spend as little on them as possible. That’s a job for the Dollar Store.
It’s just one of those things that should be bought as cheaply as possible every single time. There’s no reason to spend anything more excessive on them.
Shouldn’t: Phone Chargers
If you just need a backup phone charger, you may be tempted to get one for a buck at a Dollar Store. You really shouldn’t though, as many of these cheap chargers are not certified for the phones they are being used with. They could cause damage to your phone via power shortages or incorrect voltages.
Either way, it’s a much better idea to spend a little extra money on an official charger that is designed for your phone. It’s just a much safer bet.
Should: Pregnancy Tests
All pregnancy tests do the same thing, and there isn’t really any product or brand that does it better than the competition. So why spend $10 or $15 at a drugstore when you can spend $1 at a Dollar Store and achieve the same thing? Simply put, there’s no reason to.
If you can achieve the same thing for less, there’s no point in throwing money down the drain. That is the essence of the Dollar Store, after all.
Shouldn’t: Dishwasher Pods
The thing about Dollar Stores is that they often sell products such as these in small packs: think 2 dishwasher pods for $1. But at other retailers, you could buy packs of 14 for roughly $4 or $5. What does that mean? Well, it’s actually more cost effective to buy the bigger pack.
It’s not that the pods themselves aren’t of decent quality, you’re just paying more for each individual pod when you don’t have to.
Should: Vases and Decorative Bowls
A vase is a vase. Sure, if you want an extremely nice one, you won’t be able to get it for a mere dollar. However, if you just need a way to hold some flowers, then there’s no reason to spend more money than you need to in order to achieve that.
The same is true for decorative bowls. They just have to look nice, they don’t have to be the sturdiest things in all existence.
Honestly, we shouldn’t have to talk about this too much. If you buy jewelry for $1, you should obviously expect them to be of any decent quality. As you may imagine, they’re quite poorly made and you shouldn’t expect them to last very long.
In fact, they’re hardly worth buying at all if you want jewelry that is going to last any decent amount of time. Just skip it around here.
Should: Plastic Food Containers
Here we have another inherently cheap item that you should always try to get for as cheap as possible, because the difference in a $10 plastic food container and $1 plastic food container are practically nonexistent. Like we’ve been saying this whole time, don’t spend more than you have to.
Besides, plastic food containers are also something people often want to own in bulk, so being able to get each one for $1 is pretty nice.
Shouldn’t: Hair Dye
Hair dye generally has chemicals in it that are a little worrisome. That being said, you should be even more concerned about what may be inside of hair dye you can buy for a mere dollar. Needless to say, we really don’t recommend it.
Most items that go on or in your body should be bought at places other than the Dollar Store. It’s just a lot safer, when you really think about it.
Should: Chocolate and Candy
Everyone likes to get their hands on some candy now and again. Now, we’ll readily admit that Dollar Stores don’t have access to every type of candy out there, but they do still have a pretty wide array to choose from. So if they do have some candy you like, you may as well get it there instead of anywhere else.
Moreover, they actually have some candies that are somewhat difficult to find elsewhere, so there’s always that benefit to buying candy there as well.
Some Dollar Stores sell tools, but unless you only need that tool once or twice, it’s a bad idea to invest there. After all, do you really think a tool that is only $1 is going to be anywhere near as sturdy or durable as tools that are more expensive?
You just shouldn’t expect any tool you get from a Dollar Store to last very long, so there’s not really any point in wasting money on them.
When you get down to it, notebooks are just a whole bunch of paper, so you really shouldn’t have to pay that much for it. If you need a notebook for any reason, it’s much better to buy one for a much cheaper price at a Dollar Store.
No need to spend $5 or $10 on something that you can get for a lower price, especially since paper performs the same function regardless.
Shouldn’t: Paper Towels
Much like dishwasher pods, paper towels aren’t as good of a buy at Dollar Stores as most people think. That’s because you are usually only getting one roll, and they’re usually smaller than regular rolls. Meanwhile, regular retailers offer larger packs of larger rolls.
At the end of the day, you’ll often be paying less per roll when you buy those packs at those retailers. That being said, you shouldn’t buy paper towels at Dollar Stores.
Should: Storage Containers
Much like food containers, storage is something you should buy in bulk when possible, and at a low price if you can. So storage containers are also something you should try to buy at a Dollar Store when you can. There’s plenty of options as far as size and designs are concerned.
In fact, it’s kind of a great place to go for organization freaks, as there’s no shortage of options, which is the best thing to take into consideration.
It’s not that the deodorant at Dollar Stores are terrible, but the thing is, you’ll probably be able to find a larger stick of deodorant for an only mildly more expensive price. Like many of the other products you shouldn’t buy, it’s just not cost effective.
Of course, if you are in a rush and needed a little bit of deodorant and nowhere else was available, it’s not like you couldn’t make use of Dollar Store deodorant.
Should: Mugs and Glasses
Is your stock of drinking dishes a little sparse? Well, you can easily fix that if you stop by a Dollar Store, which often has plenty of mugs and glasses available for $1 apiece. We’ll readily admit that they aren’t the fanciest glasses, but do you always need the fanciest?
If not, then you may as well save some money by getting those glasses at the Dollar Store. Five glasses from there would be much cheaper than five glasses from somewhere else.
You can get headphones for cheap at a Dollar Store, but you really shouldn’t. Aside from the fact that they will probably not be very durable at all, their sound quality is almost always very poor as well. And at that point, are those headphones even worth it?
You’d be better off buying some for $15 at a Walmart. At least they’ll actually be worth using compared to the cheap $1 ones you could buy at the Dollar Store.
Should: Wrapping Paper, Bows, Etc.
Need to wrap a present for someone? Don’t spend extra money buying wrapping paper at a different retailer when you can get the exact same wrapping paper for much cheaper at a Dollar Store. After all, the quality of wrapping paper and bows is pretty consistent across all retailers.
When that kind of consistency exists, well, there’s really no point in spending extra money to get something of the same quality as you can get for less.
Shouldn’t: HDMI Cables
We understand why some people would be enticed by $1 HDMI cords, as many retailers charge too much for such cords. However, cheap cords have low quality durability and are far more likely to break, making them a poor product to purchase at a Dollar Store.
Of course, this ties into our earlier point about not buying electronics at the Dollar Store in general. It’s just not a great idea.
Should: Seasonal Decorations
Seasonal decorations are something that only get used every once in awhile, and you usually don’t need them for very long. That said, you can often find such decorations at the Dollar Store for a much more affordable price than buying them elsewhere.
If you’re the type of person that is only going to decorate their home for one day or night for a holiday, then cheap decorations is the way to go.
Shouldn’t: Kitchen Knives
Kitchen knives are definitely products that increase in quality as you pay more for them. That being the case, $1 kitchen knives are certainly not worth it. They’re flimsy and lose their edge very quickly. When it comes to these, you should spend more to get better quality.
We know that no one likes spending more money, but this is one of the product types in which you would absolutely need to do that.
Should: Cotton Swabs
An item that is almost universally the same no matter where you buy them, cotton swabs are actually a pretty good thing to buy at Dollar Stores, as you can get the same amount for much cheaper than if you bought them at CVS or something.
We’re not saying there’s no difference in brand name cotton swabs and others, but those differences are minor enough that you should save money.
Shouldn’t: Medicine and Supplements
Needless to say, you should be concerned about the quality of medicine and supplements that you find for the price of a mere dollar. Should you really put something like that in your body? Even if you find brand name that you can trust, there’s a catch.
Because quantity is usually smaller due to the lower price, you end up paying more for the same amount of medicine at a Dollar Store as you would at a pharmacy.
Should: Tote Bags
Whether you are looking to reduce environmental impact of just need a bag to carry things in your day to day life, a tote bag is a great choice that you can pick up at a Dollar Store. They may not be the sturdiest bags in all of existence, but they don’t need to be.
A cheap polyester bag can go a long way as far as convenience is concerned, and if you can get one or a few for just a few dollars, why skip out?
If you want really fancy plates, the Dollar Store isn’t the place to go. But if you just want functional and serviceable plates, it’s a different story. Getting 10 plates for $10 is a pretty good deal compared to how that deal may go elsewhere.
It’s all about what you are aiming to actually get out of dishware. Practicality is often cheaper than aesthetic and whatnot.
Shouldn’t: Fabric Softener Sheets
A dollar for some fabric softener sheets sounds like a good idea upfront, but like many other items on this list, you’re actually paying more for less. You could get bigger boxes of fabric softener sheets at other retailers, while ultimately paying less per sheet.
Ultimately, it pays to do a comparison of how much you are paying per unit when shopping at different retailers. $1 isn’t always the deal it sounds like!
Should: Paper Clips
Paper clips are pretty similar regardless of how much you pay for them. That being said, if you need to buy a lot of paper clips, you may as well pay for a pack for $1 instead of a pack at Office Depot for $3. After all, paper clips don’t really need to be ‘premium’ or anything.
It’s one of the products you can buy in bulk for cheaper because you don’t need to spend that much on them to get a higher quality version.