WHAT TO BUY AT THE DOLLAR STORE
You're missing out if you haven't been visiting the dollar store on a regular basis. Dollar store aisles teem with treasures just waiting to save you money. Cheapism.com has compiled a list of best dollar store buys -- and a few things to leave on the shelves.
Dollar stores are awash in party supplies such as balloons filled with helium, which go for $1 each compared with $3 to $8 elsewhere. You can also load up on party decorations, gift bag fillers, and invitations. For those all-important presents, you'll find wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, and tape.
While school supplies are best bought in August during back-to-school sales, the dollar store is a good place to stock up year-round. Check your local dollar store for paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, Post-it notes, tape, and more. The dollar store is also a good place to get mailing supplies, such as bubble envelopes, for cheap.
STATIONERY AND CARDS
You can pick up greeting cards, holiday cards, thank-you notes and even blank cards for about $2 less than you'd pay at other retailers. Notepads and other stationery are also easily bought for less at the dollar store, and the quality is the same.
As long as you don't walk in expecting to find the latest best-seller, you may be surprised at the selection. This goes for children's books, too. There's certainly no reason to spend a ton on something that's so prone to damage by little hands.
At any given dollar store, you can find decent glass dishes and heavy-duty plastic utensils for $1 apiece. What's more, you can set your entire table with dollar items: Tablecloths, place mats, table runners, cloth napkins, candle holders, salt and pepper shakers, serving pieces, flatware, wine glasses, and more come in matching sets. You'll also find casserole dishes, baking tins, cookie sheets, and the like -- all for $1.
Cleaning products can get pricey, especially if you buy name brands. Opt for off-brands from the dollar store instead. Although they may be a bit diluted, be assured that the ingredients are the same and they'll get the job done.
You'll find an array of organizational tools and storage containers at the dollar store. Look for shoe racks, hangers, and storage bins for less than what they'd cost at the cheapest big-box store. Also keep an eye out for Tupperware-type containers for food storage.
It's worth a look for cheap headphones to go with your smartphone or tablet. In fact, there are many small electronic gadgets readily available at the dollar store. Items to look for include device stands and cases, covers and skins, reading lights, and flashlights.
PERSONAL CARE ITEMS
Oftentimes the dollar store stocks items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, hairbrushes, and other personal care items. While most are generic brands, sometimes you'll find brand names (although generics should perform just as well -- for a much lower price tag).