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42 Dollar Store Tricks Every Broke Person Should Know

♫ You don't have to be rich ♫ to have the life of your dreams.

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1. Use coffee filters for everything from snack-sorting to plate-stacking.

Obviously, make sure that they're clean first. Then use them to separate snacks, serve small amounts of dry snacks (like, to preschoolers), or as plate dividers. Get an excessively complete list here.

3. Or, glue three picture frames together to make a simple faux (or real!) terrarium.

This tutorial uses faux succulents from the dollar store, but if you cut the bottom panel out of wood or plastic instead of paper, you could definitely plant actual plants in here.


4. Organize your drawers with small baskets instead of pricey drawer dividers.

They're just the right size to fit whatever you need — those pink ones are perfect for silverware. If the colors bother you, give them a coat of white (or whatever color) spray paint. Learn more about how they organized this kitchen here.

5. Wrap an empty box in twine and inexpensive fabric to make a basket for just a few dollars.

If your dollar store doesn't have fabric, you can use a shower curtain or a flat top sheet as fabric instead. Get the full tutorial here.

6. While you're at it, wrap any extra twine around balloons and fill 'em with a short string of outdoor lights to make these outdoor lanterns.

7. Wrap inexpensive bamboo utensils in contact paper to make them match your kitchen.

Of course it's fine if you prefer to leave 'em plain, but if you're looking for a fun update (or a good but affordable gift for the wannabe chef in your life), contact paper is the easy answer, and you can pick the pattern you like best. Learn how to do it neatly here.


8. Cut up simple color dot stickers into half-moons to make decorative fruit stickers.

This is a project for when you have a little bit of time, but with the help of a fine-tip pen, you can make lemons, limes, oranges, watermelons, apples, and whatever other fruits you can come up with. You can use 'em to decorate gifts, simple handmade cards, your bullet journal, a composition notebook cover — whatever your heart desires. Get the full tutorial here.

9. Glue five or six empty jars together to organize all of your desk supplies vertically.

This is also theoretically a project you could make for free, if you buy tomato sauce or other jarred foods and wash and save the empty containers. Get the full tutorial here.

11. Or, grab 19 compact mirrors and glue them together to knock off a high-end honeycomb mirror.

Perfect for hanging above your vanity, in your entry way, or by your back door for a little over $19 and an afternoon's work. Get the full tutorial here.


13. Pick up a mesh laundry bag or basket for any beach trips you plan to take this summer.

They're great for storing beach toys of course, but you can also use them to help tote your water bottles, chairs and umbrellas, and anything else you might want to quickly hose off before putting in the trunk of your car. Read more about it and get more beach tips here.

14. Duct tape one end of a pool noodle to your hose (and duct tape the other end shut) to make a sprinkler that waters your yard and is fun to jump through.


16. Pick up a bunch of supplies to put together an engineering kit to keep your kids and their friends busy one day over the summer.

You will have to be okay with your kids making a mess, though — to make cleanup easy, you could constrain them to a plastic table cloth on the floor. Learn what's in this kit and why here.

19. Pick up plastic placemats and use them to line your fridge shelves for easy cleaning.

Of course, with a huge spill you'll probably still have to clean the shelf, but this is a great way to easily clean small messes without pulling out an entire shelf. Read more about how to perfectly measure them to size here.


21. String faux flowers onto a wire dry-clean hanger to make a fluffy spring wreath.

Buying that many flowers will still cost you $15+ dollars at a Dollar Tree or Dollar General, but it's cheaper than the flower wreaths you can buy! Get the full tutorial here.

23. Glue glass beads to the back of a bookshelf to make a decorative backsplash.

While this would be a huge project to try and tackle in your kitchen (and for various other reasons probably wouldn't work in a space so large), it's a great option if you want to add a pop of color to a small shelf. Get the full tutorial to pull it off here.


24. Pick up a bedding storage bag and use it to pack towels, tablecloths, and other linens when you go camping.

You could also use this tip to store seasonal linens, like your holiday tablecloths and quilts, if you have them. Get more dollar store camping tips here.

25. Glue a tart pan to a candlestick to make a cake stand for just a couple of bucks.

If you're worried about putting your cake on something you painted, just put down a cardboard cake round first (you can find them at the dollar store and craft store). Read the full tutorial here.

26. Put flameless candles into white paper bags to make affordable wedding luminaries.

Sara Sultan Photography / / Via

You'll probably also need sand or some other weight to keep them upright, which you may or may not be able to find at the dollar store. Get more dollar store wedding ideas here.


29. Fill a pair of hose with dried beans, cover them in cheap fuzzy socks, and sew everything together for a relaxing heating pad.

You could even make this work with just a few simple hand stitches if you don't have skills with a sewing machine. Read the tutorial here. (You can also use a towel and rice, like in this tutorial.)

30. Or use those fuzzy socks, some duct tape, and food coloring to make rainbow bubble blowers.

Um, amazing. No expensive bubble solution required here — you make your own from diluted liquid dish soap. Get the full tutorial here.

31. Use a hula hoop and some fabric curtains to make an affordable canopy.

The curtains (you could also use top sheets) will probably be over $1, but they'll still be super cheap at the dollar store. And you can skip the lights to cut down on the cost. Get the full tutorial here.


32. Glue (yes! using fabric glue) rag rugs around pillow inserts to make cozy pillows for all around your house.

The exact pillows you end up with will depend on what rag rugs your dollar store has in stock, of course. This tutorial will tell you how to pull it off with any rag rugs you find.


37. Organize and display your rings using a square drawer divider, a little bit of cotton batting, and some simple fabric.

This is another project that takes a little bit of time, but the gorgeous end result is worth it. Here's the tutorial.

38. Paint your own vintage floral designs onto cheap plates and serving ware for a custom kitchen set.

This project is more foolproof than it seems, because you draw out your designs with a Sharpie and clear up any mishaps with rubbing alcohol. Get the full tutorial here.


41. Organize your earring drawer by sorting each pair in ice cube trays.

While you're at it, grab some to organize the small things in your toolbox, the stuff in your junk drawer, thread and washi tape, single extra buttons, eyeshadows, and whatever other tiny things you have laying around. Get more dollar store organizing ideas here.

(And P.S., you can use ice cube trays to save money in the kitchen, too — get ideas for things you should freeze in the handy trays here.)

42. Pick up some boxes, buckets, or baskets to institute a "crap basket" system in your two-story home.

Anything the kids leave downstairs goes in their crap buckets, and they carry it upstairs at the end of every day to put stuff away. If they wait too long, the stuff is confiscated, and they have to do something to get it back! Read more about the system here.