Top 10 Dollar Store Buys

Top 10 Dollar Store BuysShopping at a Dollar Store is really fun. Over years we have observed that certain goods are definitely cheaper at dollar stores. So we created a dollar store game plan to cash in on low prices. We often wondered how they kept their prices so low. Later we discovered that dollar stores, whether mom-and-pop shops or local franchises of a national chain, get some inventory from product lines created just for discount stores. The rest come as remnants from wholesalers, which explains why we see such a wide variety every week.

However, we are suspicious about the quality of food and kitchenware sold at these stores. So as a policy we never purchase edible stuff or anything that has to do with cooking from them. Barring that we've found tonnes of useful goodies at rock bottom prices. Here are our top ten dollar store buys:

Stationery & Office Supplies1. Stationery & Office Supplies

Whenever we need pens, notebooks, pads, post it notes and likes we get it from a dollar store. It's way cheap. However sometimes for bulk purchases of the same we've seen that Costco wins. So if you have a couple of kids and you're planning to get a year's worth of supplies, it might pay to check prices at Costco or BJ's.

Cleaning Supplies2. Cleaning Supplies

Usually dollar stores carry cleaning supplies created by private brands. Don't expect any recognized brand names. If you get one that's a bonus! Most of our cleaning jobs deal with removing grease and minor carpet stains. So far dollar stores' supplies have done the job pretty well.

Gift Wraps3. Gift Wraps, Calendars and Cards

Supermarkets burn deep holes in our pockets when we buy gift wraps, cards and calendars from them. On the other hand dollar stores have saved us a lot of money during the holidays and other festivities when we needed gift wraps and cards at galore. Now a days most dollar stores carry good collections of wraps, ribbons, cards, calendars, place mats and other trivia that make our gifts look as attractive but only at a fraction of a supermarket's prices.

Babies' Goodies4. Babies' Goodies

Experience has shown that stuff like babies' shampoo, blankets, soaps, talc, body oil, and many more useful items rock at a dollar store. It's more expensive to buy the same at supermarkets or online sites. At certain times of the year we have noticed that goods from recognized brands like Johnson & Johnson also adorn the shelves for babies' products at dollar stores.

Candles5. Candles

We love candles. And dollar stores provide some great deals on candles during pre and post Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. Our norm is to stock up. We also like the beautiful glass candle holders available at different times of the year. Candles (preferably scented ones) and holders make good gifts too.

Batteries6. Batteries

At first we were not sure whether we should use batteries from dollar stores for our expensive gadgets. Since they are very cheap, chances are high that they are fake. But instead of giving up, we experimented by using them in inexpensive gadgets. We found that they worked equally well as those from a supermarket or warehouse. It's been a couple of years that we've been using batteries from dollar stores in most of our gadgets and they have given us no reason to complain. So far so good!

Photo Frames7. Photo Frames & Decorative Gear

We feel dollar stores are the place to buy decorative gear for holidays and festivities. During holidays we have found good quality photo frames too. Keep an eye for photo frames and other decorative gear at your local dollar store. At particular (read seasonal) times dollar stores offer good deals on photo frames and albums.

Bathroom Supplies8. Bathroom Supplies

Big dollar stores usually beat supermarket chains like KMart or Target on products like bathroom mats, shower curtains and caddies, place holders for smaller items and many more. We distinctly remember having purchased a shower caddy from Bed Bath and Beyond for $9.99 only to find the same product being sold at a Ninety Nine Cents store for $0.99! This gives us an idea about price markups at most upscale chains.

Tools & Handyman stuff9. Tools & Handyman Stuff

Whenever we need some tool or screws or replacement kits for the usual maintenance of our assets, we check the nearest dollar store before heading for a Home Depot or Lowe's. Time and again we've seen that a dollar store won!

Garden Supplies10. Garden Supplies

Since gardening is a popular hobby, large dollar stores carry a lot of supplies like gardening gloves, tools, decorations, seeds, pots and plants at a fraction of the cost for the same at supermarkets. But their collection is not as exhaustive as the ones available at Lowe's or Home Depot. So depending on your needs it might be a good idea to check out a dollar store before heading for a specialty store.

It's true that most items at a dollar store are priced at one dollar, but even at that price it offers great bargains. And perhaps it's the $1 price tag that attracts nearly three-quarters of Americans (according to market research firm Retail Forward) to make regular trips to so-called dollar discount stores. We love them :). Long live dollar stores!

On a closing note, we'd love to hear from you about your dollar store purchases and experiences. Please feel free to comment. Thanks in advance :).
Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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