Dollar Store Philosophy: 12 Amazing Things Being a Cheapskate Can Teach You About Life

Written by Angela Atkinson

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” ~Lord Byron

I don’t know about you, but I have an occasion now and then that takes me into a local dollar store. Sometimes it’s because I know I can get a certain thing there cheaper than anywhere else, and sometimes it’s just because I happen to be in the area and figure I’ll stop by to see if anything on my list can be picked up for a buck.

Okay, you caught me. It’s MOSTLY because I’m a total cheapskate. I can’t help it. It hurts me to spend money that isn’t necessary when I could have something of the same or similar quality for much less if I’m willing to find it. 

What, you thought that was a secret? Oh no, my friend. I kinda like that about me. So much I’m willing to do this.

Go ahead. Click it. Tell the whole tweeping world! I don’t even care. In fact, I dare ya!

Wasn’t that FUN??

Anyhoo, I have an idea for you to consider today. 

I propose that, next time you go to the dollar store, you can pick up something more valuable than clothes pins, candles and funky socks.

Yeah, I love a good bargain just as much as the next cheapo, but next time you’re cruising for one, try stocking up on some really useful life lessons too. 

Are you ready to discover how dollar store shopping can make you smarter and more productive? Let’s do this. 

How does any of this have to do with life lessons? Seriously, you wouldn’t think that shopping on the cheap (yeah, I’m proudly a cheap shopper – why spend more than you need to??) would induce any seriously philosophical thought, but somehow, my brain goes there – and I’m always happy to share it because, even though it might come out in a somewhat unorthodox way, it might be exactly what someone needs to read in order to finally have that breakthrough moment they need. So stick with me – I’ll explain after the jump!)

life lessons cheapskateSo, it occurs to me that shopping on the cheap could actually teach you a little something about how to get what you want in your life – and about how to do it successfully every time. 

Indulge me a moment, won’t you? 

12 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Bargain Shoppers

Here’s how bargain shopping can relate to your being ultimately more successful in every aspect of your life.  Yes, there are serious lessons you can learn from your cheapskate friends. 

  1. Plan ahead. It’s easy to become carried away at the dollar store and start loading up your cart with specials that you really don’t need. Writing out a list helps you to resist impulse shopping and other temptations.
  2. Seize the day. And don’t miss any potential opportunities. Watch for exciting circumstances and opportunities that come your way – and be sure to grab them! Keep your eyes open for new friends just like you watch for marked down items.
  3. Look beyond the surface. You probably know that retailers sometimes lure you in with low prices on certain merchandise so you’ll stick around and buy more. Think carefully about how you invest your money and efforts.
  4. Manage your time. Part of the appeal of dollar stores is their convenient one-stop shopping. Check your schedule regularly for other ways to free up time.
  5. Make a comeback. A lot of the merchandise in discount stores is leftovers that customers passed over in other shops the first time around. Give yourself a second chance when you need one.
  6. Do it yourself. Some of the best buys are staples like cleaning goods and greeting cards. Then again, you may be able to save more money by making them yourself.
  7. Appreciate quality. Finally, some items are overpriced even when they cost a dollar. Check the label to see what ingredients are in that chocolate bar or skin moisturizer. Sometimes you need to spend more to achieve the results you want. Pursuing ambitious goals could be more fulfilling than coasting along.
  8. Break free from labels. By now you’ve probably noticed that most of the merchandise at dollar stores costs a lot more than a dollar. Think twice if you’ve been letting any label limit you. A stay-at-home mother can return to college, and a bookworm can learn to play field hockey.
  9. Throw a party. Dollar stores also specialize in party supplies. Why wait for Christmas when you can treat your friends to your hospitality all year long? Parties help you strengthen your support network and connect with others in a setting outside of work.
  10. Give stuff away. Studies show that spending money on others makes us happier than spending money on ourselves. Even better, dollar stores will stretch your money so you can enjoy more happiness. Give your coworkers novelty candies or toys. Surprise your babysitter with a funny t-shirt.
  11. Change your look. A new hairstyle or home improvement project can lift your spirits and build your confidence. Try on a variety of hair bands. Paint an old chair.
  12. Lighten up. As long as you love something and it’s functional, why worry about whether it comes with a prestigious label? If your kids seem to lose their socks after each gym class, buy cheaper pairs. If you want to save up for a house, simplify your wedding decorations with a visit to the dollar store or borrowing a cake stand from a friend.

Bargain hunters love dollar stores because they’re cheap and convenient. Now, these discount shops can make you wiser and more prosperous too. The strategies you use to find the best deals on toothbrushes can help you to overcome other challenges and live out your dreams, right? 

So what about you? Tell me about your bargain shopping habits. Maybe they’ll inspire even more life lessons (or give me some good ideas! LOL!). Let’s talk. 


  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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