I highly recommend the Dollar Tree for a number of household goods for anyone on that #ActorBudget, but here's my hotlist of top items you should buy at the dollar store specifically for your acting career.
1. Thank You Cards
You better be writing thank you cards. These are actually fifty cents! So two for a dollar, sucka. Sometimes they have packs of smaller thank you cards hanging on the ends of the aisle at only a dollar for the whole pack. Remember to open this blog post, 3 Mistakes Actors Make Writing Thank You Cards, to read when you finish this one.
2. Gift Bags
I love these gift bags. They're simple enough to give to anyone on any occasion, but chic enough to not look cheap. They're also fairly sturdy. More on giving gifts with your thank you cards in my Ebook here.
3. Writing Pens
If you've ever waited tables, I know you love pens. You also want to stab anyone who steals them after signing their check. Not only does the Dollar Tree have a variety of pens, they also have cute decorative pens. Plus, they last a while in my experience.
4. White Foam Core Board
Y'all, you can make your studio or DIY photo lighting look way more pro with white foam core board. Reflect that light for cheap!
5. Mailing & Shipping Supplies
If you're mailing out marketing materials, then hook it up in this section! PS-if you ever decide to make a career move to another city, I would like to point out the rolls of packing tape for a dollar on the bottom left next to the creepy doll someone left in the wrong place. That's some serious LP for any of my actor friends that have worked retail. You know what I'm talking about!
6. Puzzle Books
If you ever need something to do in the casting lobby or during downtime on set, look no further than this section full of awesome puzzle books. You might also get the chance to brush up on your celebrity knowledge in the process. #MarkleSparkle
7. Chapter Books
Again, I highly recommend having something to do if you have downtime at an audition or on set. These friggin' hardback books are only a dollar! I have no idea if anything they offer is any good, but it's worth browsing. You may find something that expands your knowledge and supports your acting in some way, like information for a special skill.
8. Clothes Storage
You know you need hangers for your wardrobe pieces, although I highly recommend these. To date, I haven't been asked to change for an audition, but it's always a safe bet to have a couple of options hanging in the back of your car just in case. Please also note the plethora of lint rollers in the bottom left. Always good to have if you're wearing dark clothes and need to look polished.
9. Storage Bins
Speaking of your car kit, I cannot even believe that these cute bins are so cheap. These jokers are freaking expensive even at Target! I purchased one of these gray ones to keep all of my knickknacks organized in my car. Listen to me you messy creatives: your car is your peaceful sanctuary before and after an audition. Keep it organized so that you're less frazzled coming and going. I can't tell you how nice it is to need something and have it at the ready by just turning around and grabbing it out of my storage bin.
10. Hair Accessories
If you need various brushes for different types of hair styling, then hair it is. Get it? I also love the claw clips for sectioning my hair for styling, and who doesn't need a huge pack of ponytails and bobby pins? Wardrobe will also love you for having your own on lower budget shoots. The headbands are useful for keeping my hair back while washing my face. You could also use these to change up your hairstyle in an audition if that's ever needed.
11. Travel Size Toiletries
Cuz you don't need crusty hands, food in your teeth, or stanky breath during your audition. That is all.
12. Mini Deodorant
Why is it that we put on deodorant before acting class, auditions, and shoots only to find that we are crazy sweaty when we arrive? Take one of these minis for quick-and-easy touchups, and keep one in your car for when you rush out of the door and just totally forget to put on deodorant period. Anyone else? Am I the only one?
13. OTC Medications
No need to spend more than a dollar on over-the-counter medications, especially for name brand items. Don't risk showing up to an audition or shoot with no way to alleviate a headache or cramps.
Gentlemen, you need makeup sometimes, too, if only to even out your complexion and reduce shine. Be cautious about buying cheap makeup for HD cameras. However, I just found out my Dollar Tree sells Elf cosmetics! Elf is also sold at Target, and most of their items have fairly good ratings. The few items I've used have been great.
15. Cotton Pads
I use these to remove makeup, a crucial part of your actor skincare routine. These shed a little, but if you don't mind flicking a few pieces of cotton off your skin, then the discount is worth it.
16. Healthy Snacks
I'm a stickler for what I put into my body, so dollar store food is not my jam, but I have recently noticed a few Non-GMO Verified options at the Dollar Tree. I think they may be a long way from selling anything organic, but I was impressed to see this progress. This brand of pistachios typically has the Non-GMO Verified stamp on the back. I try to only eat raw nuts and seeds, but this is still a great healthy fat option, which will satiate you longer than junk food.
17. Coconut Oil
There are so many uses for coconut oil. This one also has the Non-GMO Verified stamp (bottom right corner of label), so a spoonful would work as a quick healthy fat snack to hold you over for a few hours in a pinch. You can also use it as skin moisturizer or on your lips if they're chapped, especially in the winter. If your hair is out of control, rub a small handful through the ends of your hair to make it less frizzy.
Be sure to go browse your Dollar Tree to see what's available the next time you have time to kill. Every store is different, and the selection varies based on the time of year.
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,
I'm a screen actor and certified goals coach focused on helping other screen actors that are not yet a household name achieve their most urgent goal.