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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday Tip - 5 Dollar Store Deals

I was reading an article by Consumer Report that said there are 5 things you should always buy at the dollar store. Generally I view dollar stores as nothing but junk stores. But this article suggests that I'm missing out. I've copied it here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy! And save!

1. Cleaning Supplies
Don't expect to see many brand names that you recognize. Dollar-store cleaning products tend to be private labels developed just for that market. Most have the same ingredients as the brand names, just slightly more diluted. "They have to find some way to make it 99 cents," says Carolyn Forte, homecare director for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Unless you've got a job that requires more than a little elbow grease -- say, removing some seriously built-up grime from the tub or cleaning a red wine stain off the carpet -- these off-brand products should suit you just fine, she says.

2. Gift Wrap
Putting together a pretty package doesn't mean you need to spend a small fortune on wrapping paper, tissue and ribbon, says Constance Richards, author of 'Creative Giftwraps.' You can be just as creative with dollar-store materials for a fraction of the cost. In addition to conventional wrapping paper, dollar stores offer other items that can be used as wrapping materials, from placemats and bandanas to glittery hairclips (a creative and functional replacement for bows and ribbons).

3. Snacks
Hershey's With Almonds chocolate bar -- check. Planter's peanuts and Wise potato chips -- check, check. "Buying at the dollar store is certainly a lot cheaper than if you just walked into a grocery store without a coupon," says Teri Gault, founder of The Grocery Game, a program that helps consumers match manufacturer's coupons with store sales. And you'll spot the same brand names that you'll find at supermarkets and other convenience stores. Look for kids' snacks with long shelf lives, like chips, cookies and fruit rolls, she suggests.

4. Shampoo
Whether you're spending $1 for dollar-store shampoo or $20 on a pricey salon brand, that money is going one place -- down your shower drain, says Paula Begoun, author of 'Don't Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me.' "The notion that expensive means better is a joke," she says. No matter which kind of shampoo you buy, there are only minor differences in ingredients and concentration -- not enough to affect how clean your hair gets. Save your cash instead for your favorite conditioner, suggests Begoun. That's one product where you'll see more of a difference brand to brand.

5. Kitchen Accessories
When you're trying to coax the last bit of batter out of your mixing bowl and into the cake pan, it doesn't much matter where the silicone spatula you're using came from. You'll find plenty of kitchen accessories at dollar stores, from standbys like measuring cups and can openers to esoteric gadgets like melon ballers and egg slicers. One caveat: You might not want to buy anything with a blade, unless you don't plan on cutting food tougher than butter.

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