The (Only) 5 School School Supplies You Should Buy at the Dollar Tree


UPDATE: as of July 2017, add binders to the list. My store has awesome quality 1″ binders for $1 and are totally worth it!

Folks, you know love the Dollar Tree



I love it for crafting. And sometimes for decorating. And even for organizing.


But, I just don't love the Dollar Tree for (many) school supplies. And here's why.


Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, Walmart, Target, and even Amazon offer deeply discount school supplies this time of year, and they sell high quality items at a crazy low cost. While the Dollar Tree has reasonable prices on some back to school supplies year round, their quality just isn't good enough to compete with those stores during the back-to-school shopping season.


There are however a few items that I think are worth swinging by the Dollar Tree for this year. My friend Shannon made a trip yesterday and here's the list we came up with of what to buy (and what not to buy.) See what you think!


5 Back to School Items You Should Buy at the Dollar Tree

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1. manuscript tablets

These are often hard to find and rarely available at that price. If you have young children learning to write and this is on their school supply list, it's a great way to save!


2. project boards


3. poster boards

I *love* the savings you can get on project boards and poster boards at the Dollar Tree. You won't find this price anywhere else, so this is an easy way to save.

4. construction paper, 36 ct

It's rare to find construction paper deeply discounted during the back to school sales at other stores, so it's worth picking up construction paper when you're there

5. crayons, 64 ct

This is a great price for that size pack of crayons, however you'll be getting an off brand. I would rather pay a little more for Crayola, but that is a pretty good price on those!



And here are 9 items I wouldn't buy at the Dollar Tree (compare to Walmart & Target pricing . . . )

1. 200 count paper $1

compare to 150 ct for $.82 at Walmart or 175 ct at Target for $.99 – I think it will go on sale at those stores for even less over the next few weeks

2. 24 count pencils $1

compare to $.97 for 20 pencils at Walmart or $1.24 at Target – these are also on sale this week for 1¢ at Office Depot with $5 purchase

3. 1″ binder $1

the price on these at Walmart and Target is $1.97 – $2.94, however these are pretty flimsy binders so if you'll need them to last your child throughout the year it's probably worth spending more 

4. 8 ct pens $1

compare to 10 ct Bic Pens $1.17 at Walmart, 5 ct Pentel RSVP Pens $1 this week at Staples

5. 10 ct colored pencils $1

compare to $.97 – $1.29 at Walmart and Target

6. 3 pack glue sticks $1

compare to 2 ct glue sticks are $.50 at Walmart and Target

7. 200 count index cards $1

compare to $.45 at Walmart and Target

8. composition notebooks $1

compare to $.50 at Walmart and Target

9. 120 page notebooks $1

compare to 70 page notebooks $.25 at Walmart and Target 

What to Buy at The Dollar Tree

What would you add to the list to buy or not to buy at the Dollar Tree? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and check out my list of 25 items you should never pay more than $1 for thanks to the Dollar Tree!


See the best back to school deals at Staples, Office Depot and Office Max this week, and print your free 2015 Back to School Walmart & Target Stock Up Price Cheat Sheet!


Find the complete list of back-to-school deals over HERE.

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  1. I gotta disagree with you on the crayons. Go for less colors and higher quality for super cheap at most stores this time of year. I have bought 64 count crayons from the Dollar Tree before, and all of them broke after a few minutes of use. 25 counts from Crayola are usually less than 50¢ right now, and will serve them much better!

  2. I always get my son’s heavy duty binders from STAPLES! Even though they are more expensive, it is well worth it because they are guaranteed for life. I’m not sure if this goes for ALL Staples, but I always keep the receipt and whenever my son says his is falling apart we take it in and exchange it for a new one. I think I happened to have read it somewhere or something a while back and so I asked about it when we went in. They said to keep the receipt and bring it back when it got ruined! Even though they are heavy duty they still take a beating from boys like mine, so it is totally worth the money spent at Staples. I would suggest double checking with an employee before you buy them though, just in case they don’t do that =)

  3. NEVER buy scotch tape at the dollar store!

    • I buy the tape for my daughter to have her own supply. She enjoys playing with it, but I wouldn’t use it for something I wanted it to stick.

  4. I would not buy crayons at the dollar store. While my son is not school age yet I see the lists of supplies that the schools provides. They all specify Crayola brand. I believe they want everyone to be the same. I’ve known teachers who sent supplies home with students in order to get the correct item. I’ve also known teachers to just throw away the incorrect item and tell the student to tell mom/dad to buy the correct item.

    • I used to work in a preschool and we specified Crayola because they are “true color”. Have you ever used an off brand red crayon and it looked more orange? So a lot of times it is done to avoid color confusion when trying to teach colors. However just throwing them away is harsh. And wasteful.

  5. The dollar store crayons I bought for my kids class at church were TERRIBLE. Never again.

  6. As a teacher, I am begging you to NOT buy their pencils. You are literally throwing $1 in the garbage – they don’t sharpen right & once they are sharp, they break easily.

  7. The 200-count paper seems like a good deal to me. You’re getting 50 more sheet for 18 cents more.

  8. The comp books for $1 have plastic covers! So for my crazy messy boys it was worth the $.50 extra. Also they have more pages 🙂

  9. Poster boards are cheaper at Michael’s than Dollar Tree.

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