Dollar stores seem to be popping up on every corner, especially with the ever unsteady economy. These stores advertise great deals, but it's time to see if your bargain is actually a smart buy.
Stores like Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Fred's claim to have aisles overflowing with treasures at a low cost to buyers.
"I like the dollar store; it's convenient," says Steven Colston. "You come by the dollar store and get your day-to-day little things. Convenience of just going in and get one or two things and going home."
But, are the items really a bang for your buck? Some items really are worthy of the shopping cart. Some, however, you need to pass on.
"Probably paper goods. I don't know about the quality, but you get more, larger quantity for smaller price," reasons Colston.
Household cleaning items, like glass cleaner, are in fact a great dollar store buy, along with paper products paper towels.
According to Consumer Reports, you may not find many name brand cleaning products, but the ones on the shelf do get the job done. The Good Housekeeping Institute says some of those products may be a bit diluted, but regardless, the ingredients are similar and handle day-to-day cleaning jobs.
"Cups, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates," Colston says of the items he usually picks up at a dollar store.
If you are a penny pincher, those items, along with things like tissues and napkins, can save you several dollars.
Some other items you will want to make sure you pick up are small kitchen accessories, like a cheese grater. You can grab small culinary tools for up to 50 to 90 percent off.
Also on the list, heavy duty aluminum foil. You can typically purchase an entire roll for only a dollar, and it works just as well as the more expensive rolls at other stores.
"I think the dollar store is appropriate. A lot of people like going there just for their small staples and stuff," adds Colston.
Last on the list of dollar store do's and dont's, party products. From wrapping paper to pinatas, if you're planning a party in the near future check out the party aisle. It's full of great items for a low budget price.
Now to the items you may want to leave behind. Batteries and electronics. They are priced cheap, from one to five dollars normally, but Consumer Reports say you are wasting your money and time. They tend to be cheaply made and don't last very long.
Multi-vitamins that sit on the dollar store shelves that only cost $3, may not have the amount of nutrients claimed on the label, warns Consumer Reports.
Now to two items that you can find very cheap, a dollar or less, but should leave inside the store. Children's jewelry and toys. These tempting treasures could be toxic. According to Good Housekeeping, many of these items can be contaminated with lead.
While some items may not be worth purchasing, keep in mind the items that are.
Whether it's a pinata, party goods or electrical items, as you try and stretch that dollar to its fullest value, remember these tips the next time before checking out at your local dollar store.
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