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The inexpensive dollar store has taken over from the 5 and Dimes that existed decades ago. Dollar stores buy from a large range of vendors with the knowledge that they will sell their goods for 1 to 3 dollars so you know that they are buying pretty cheap.
The larger dollar store chain stores are packed full of items while the smaller family owned ones can carry a mismatch of things that you have to hunt through.
Here is the insider secret for getting real finds and deals at the dollar store. Dollar stores are not always buying form the same vendors and they will at times get amazing items on "one time only" deals from manufacturers that have had orders cancelled, or over runs, or these manufacturers are trying to break into the dollar store business.
It is hard to believe that quality items can be found in dollar stores but they are there, usually very briefly before they get snapped up.
I treat dollar stores as if I was buying bulk wholesale items. I realize if I am finding something that looks like better quality it will probably won't be available for very long and it won't be restocked.
For the items that they regularly stock there are a few things that I am always looking to buy.
I will chose one idea for hostess gifts each holiday season and make up as many of the gifts as I need. So if I know I am going to 8 parties or dinners I will make up 8 hostess gifts the same. Yes my previous hostess might be at the same parties that I go to but people don't usually see what is given to the hostess as she tends to put it aside and the gifts are so nice no one cares that I do duplicates. (read Making Inexpensive Gift Baskets That Look Expensive for more examples of what I buy from Dollar stores.)
Think of buying several gold or silver toned gift bags and wine bags for easy gift wrapping and gift giving. Gold and silver are colors that are good for men or women and almost any occasion except for perhaps children's gifts.
You want to look for versatile wrapping that can be used for many different occasions and holidays. Inexpensive dollar store gift wrap in a variety of solid colors can be a great way to stock a wrapping center in your home but remember that the quality of wrap won't be great and to look for wrap in other places as well.
You can sometimes find great birthday cards and I stock up on generic Happy Birthday ones that are good for almost anyone. I find it much cheaper to make my own gift tags but if buy yours then keep your eyes open for these as well. (Read Inexpensive Greeting Card Ideas)
Dollar store seasonal decorations can be a good deal as well. At Easter, Halloween and Christmas see what is being sold in the high end shops and you might be surprised that a version of it will be sold at the dollar store. (My red and gold Christmas tree is filled with a mix of dollar store ornaments and high end ornaments bought on sale.)
I am always on the look out for items in red that I can use at Christmas and black & orange items I can use at Halloween.
A ceramic red plant pot will look amazing as the base of a small decorated Christmas tree and bits of orange or black around Halloween will set the mood.
Sometimes their silk flowers are amazing and sometimes they are rubbish. Look over them critically.
The same can be said about craft items, it can be hit or miss.
I love buying the 4 x 6 acrylic frames as I use them during holidays to put out my children's photos from previous years. I will display photos of them in their various Halloween costumes during October and them sitting on Santa's knee in December.
These also make great gifts if you want to give someone a photo of themselves and don't know the style of their decor so you don't want to splash out for a fancy frame that they might not like.
Some times the stuff from a inexpensive dollar store is exactly what you need. But make sure that your not paying a dollar for something that would cost you 66 cents if you bought it somewhere else.
For small containers and baskets that will not get a lot of wear and tear inexpensive dollar store plastic containers can be ideal. In all different shapes and sizes you can use them to organize your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
Dollar store buy from a variety of vendors so while the consistency of great items is not there if you have the time to look and know what you are looking for there are amazing deals to be had. Keep your eyes open for inexpensive dollar store finds!
The dollar store isn't the place that you are looking for quality household items or items for the kitchen. (For the kitchen you have many other options including restaurant supply stores.)
Don't make the mistake of just heading out to the dollar store when you are bored or looking for inspiration or have an itch to go shopping. You can easily drop $50 at the inexpensive dollar store on a whole pile of nothing.
Check out the other options you have from Inexpensive Shopping.