Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dollar Store Deals

A couple days ago Money Talks News posted an article about the 15 best things to buy at dollar stores.  You can read the full article here.  I'm giving my opinion on the matter because I do love dollar stores but sometimes the deal isn't a good deal.

These are the 15 things they suggested purchasing because you get what you pay for and why pay more when you don't have to? 

1) Greeting cards- I totally agree with this!  Often the cards are only 50 cents!  If you are like most people after your birthday or whatever, you toss the cards (hopefully in the recycling bin!).  Why pay $5 or more for a card when it's going to get tossed anyway?  BTW: I'll keep cards if something sentimental is written in them because I like to go back and read them. :)

2) Party Supplies- along the lines of greeting cards- this stuff just gets tossed after the event so might as well only spend $1.  For parties I like to get solid color tablecloths/plates/utensils and then spend money on the centerpiece.  BUT make sure Wal-Mart isn't cheaper -if you are already there- WM has party supplies for 97 cents- yes of course it's only a couple pennies, but it could save you the gas to drive to the dollar store.

3) Gift bags/wrapping paper/gift boxes- Again along the lines of party supplies and greeting cards, this stuff is just going to get thrown away- so why spend a lot?  I am a firm believer in reusing gift bags so getting multiple uses out of a $1 bag is a great deal to me.  A lot of times there will be 2 for $1 plain bags that you can fancy up with stickers/stamps/tissue paper.

4) Seasonal decor- Yes!  Dollar stores always have cute little seasonal items- just beware that the items might not make it through more than 1 season of use- especially if the item is outside.  But for $'ve got to weigh the odds.

5) Reading glasses- ????  I wear contacts so I'm no help here....but I will say I've bought sunglasses at the dollar store before and they have been cute and served the purpose.  I'd much rather loose a $1 pair of glasses in the lake or river than a $15 pair.

6)Hair accessories- My 10-year-old self is screaming YES!  When I was little my mom would give me $5 to spend on whatever I wanted in the dollar store and most of the time I ended up with $5 worth of hair stuff.  From hair elastics to clips to bobby pins there is always neat stuff to pick from especially for little girls.  Plus, at only $1 who cares if it gets lost (like it inevitably will)?

7) Pregnancy tests- I wouldn't know at this point in life but I will say I've heard this is true and they are supposed to work just like the more expensive ones do.

8) Vases and decorative bowls- If you want clear, small vases then definitely hit up a dollar store.  Just don't expect anything too fancy.  This stuff is great for crafting.

9 and 10) Mugs/glasses/dishware- First place?  Camping trip? Crafting idea?  Then yes!  For anything else, probably not.  Yes, they function but probably won't make it through too much wear and tear.  On a positive note if you need just one or two pieces it is great because you can buy single pieces.

11) Storage containers- YES!  Have you looked on Pinterest lately for organizing solutions?  I bet at least 80% suggest buying storage containers from dollar stores. They will have a range of sizes and you will be able to organize everything in your home!  (Almost!)

12) Picture frames- Ummmmm.....maybe....I've bought picture frames from the dollar store before and they do function- don't expect anything too fancy.  These are your basic frames- great for crafting because you'll probably want to paint them.  Also, you probably won't be able to find any sizes over 8x10.

13) Candy- $1- need I say more?

14) Socks- One word: NO.  Maybe I'm just particular about my feet, but no.

15) Dish towels/wash cloths- Yes, especially if you are just going to use them for cleaning.  You won't care about getting bleach on these towels.

Some things I think should be added to this list....
Cleaning supplies- if you aren't particular to certain scent- most work just as well as other brands.
Craft items- I've found some cute items to use in crafting and they almost all will have those little marbles to put in vases or to decorate with.
Candles- Need non-scented candles or just a lot of candles for decoration?  They will have them in a variety of sizes.
School supplies- pens/pencils/glue/stickers/poster board, etc.  They'll have it.
Bulk items- you can buy in bulk from their website and have it shipped to the store for free.

So, moral of the story: don't be afraid of the dollar store.  You can find some great deals and save some money and that's always a good thing!
Now, excuse me as this has made me want to go shopping at the dollar store! :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Christmas returns = sweet deals

Ah, January, the month of returns.  I don't know that for sure, but it sure seems like it for me.  It never fails that something I buy someone for Christmas doesn't work out or something I have received doesn't work.  I don't think anyone likes to take returns back into stores because you always end up spending more money than what you return.  That is a trick that the store uses to their advantage.  Trust me!  I've spent my fair share of years working retail to know that stores know you will spend more in the store when you bring a return in.  How many times have you walked into a store just to make a return and end up making a purchase too?'s a nasty little trick.  Well, I'm here to prove that this little trick isn't always a bad thing.

Case in point: My trip to Ross today to make a return.  Unfortunately, two tops my mom purchased for me for Christmas didn't work out.  I went back to Ross to return them and received an in-store credit for $21.78.  Now, I did what you aren't supposed to do to save money, I walked around the store 'just looking' and told myself the lie we all do, 'Well I do have money to spend and it's not really like I'm using my own cash because it was a return.'  Riiiiight.

I ended up in the clearance clothing section, because being the thrifty gal I am, I hit up the clearance section first (even in stores like Ross).  I found some awesome under $3 for pants!  I tried on a few pairs that were on clearance for $2.49!  Crazy right?  It was fate I tell you!  I also hit up the clearance dresses and found more awesome deals.  The store had a good selection of clearance items, but you had to dig a little.  I ended up returning two items and walking out with four.

This cute black and white dress has a few pops of lime green (how fun!) and it was only $4.99!  I also ended up with three pairs of black pants- a pair of black jeans for only $2.49!!!  A pair of black skinny legging type pants for only $5.49!  And a pair of black slacks for $10.99!  

I ended up only paying $4.46 out of my own pocket (half of that was for tax).  Pretty sweet if you ask me.  January is a good month for finding clearance items.  It's the time of the year when stores do mass markdowns after Christmas.  Also, it's a slow time for retail which means the stores are usually less crowded, a little cleaner, and in a transition period between winter and spring which equals goodies for you!    
So, I did end up spending money while making my return, but I think it was worth it.  2 tops VS. 3 pairs of pants and a dress?  I'll say this one evened out. :)