HOUSTON, Texas – It’s the start of the week and Paula Whitfield, a mother to two fast-growing boys, Robby and Myles, is making out her shopping list.
Her very first stop, surprise! The Dollar Tree website to check prices on what she needs.
“I simply have to be conscious about every dollar right now with the way inflation is going and everything is so expensive. I mean, saving every dollar is important now more than ever,” Paula says. “And I don’t have the time to price shop at five different stores.”
Paula is a small, business boss who operates FasTest Labs in Midtown.
So, as a wife, mother, and leader, she is keenly aware of our 40-year high inflationary rate, food prices going up, clothes for the kids going up AND household furnishings going up.
”Yes, I actually go to the dollar store to buy cleaning supplies and I buy gift bags there because I am always running out to a birthday party and I buy cards there too because I don’t want to have to spend six or seven dollars per card at the drug store,” Paula said.
Now, with help from shopping-savings-expert, Nora Kapche, The Coupon Contessa, we’re about to show you the ten things you simply must buy at the dollar store to survive this inflation storm.
At number one, this is about as timely as you can get, Christmas decorations.
“Bill, holiday decorations are one of the best buys we can find at Dollar Tree,” Nora said.
And we’re not talking about just cheap-looking, standard, glass bulbs. Here, you can find high-end, rich-looking, really creative tree ornaments, wooden holiday signs, sparkly, hanging displays, and loads of Christmas characters that we all love.
“They’ve even got the Grinch,” Nora said.
Next up, festive gift bags, for Christmas, birthdays, whatever. And they’ve got some big names here to choose from including Disney brands.
“This is incredible, you’ve got brand name characters like the Disney characters, Frozen and Mickey Mouse and Jurassic Park, The Minions. It’s fantastic,” Nora said.
They say education is the best gift you can give yourself, so school supplies are next on our list.
“This is huge. School supplies. You can purchase all year long, great name brands for $1.25 and you get big names like Sharpie, Crayola, Bic, Elmer’s, and more,” Nora said.
How about hair supplies for women?
No, we are not talking about hair products, shampoo, and sprays, because everyone has their own favorite brands.
Instead look, at the hair scrunchies, scarves, hair clips, brushes of all kinds, combs, and mirrors.
I mean, why pay 6-to-10 bucks for a mirror when you can get it for a dollar or so?
“Yes, you can also find wonderful brands at the dollar store. Just for example, Goody has these great hair clips. And check this out, this is a great find, 12 combs for $1.25, you can’t beat this,” Nora said.
How much do you spend on glassware?
Here, they’ve got wine glasses, margarita glasses, decorative glasses and they are all for about a buck.
And there is more.
“Check out these water canisters for the table. They look so much classier than having a plastic bottle on your table at parties and such,” Nora said.
Hey, let’s get organized and stop paying a bundle just to keep your stuff straight!
Our next big, savings find is organizational products.
“Yeah, why pay a fortune at some stores? This is all color coordinated. You can use these underneath your cabinets, or the laundry room, to put the kid’s toys in,” Nora said.
Another household necessity and we all use them and you can find deep discounts on them, the next category is kitchen utensils
But Nora says you have to be selective and look for real quality as opposed to junk.
Nora suggests you handle the product and feel it for sturdiness and durability.
She also suggests buying name brands.
”Again, these are a great buy, cookie cutters, scissors, serving utensils. I found an avocado tool and name brands, like McCormick, Betty Crocker. They have a very big variety but you need to look through and see the quality. Pick it up and hold it in your hand,” Nora said.
Next up... No you won’t find designer brands here, but if you are looking for cheap sunglasses that don’t look cheap, the dollar stores have ‘em!
”Here, you can get a variety of colors and styles and they’re only $1.25, so it doesn’t matter if you lose them,” Nora said.
Wrapping things up now at number nine on our list, we’ve got helium-filled, party balloons.
I bet you didn’t expect that one.
”Yeah, they can be found for $4 to $5 or more each at a normal store but here they are simply a $1.25 and they last for several days,” Nora said.
And number ten on our list of bargains, greeting cards for birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions. They look really good and yes, you can find big, name brands, just like you find at the card shops.
”Look at this Bill, they’re Hallmark greeting cards here, two for $1 and sometimes $1 each. These are wonderful cards and anywhere else you’d pay $5 or more easily,” Nora said.
In the end, Nora and I bought a total of 58 items from the categories we just outlined here and spent a grand total of just 76 bucks.
Then we went to another very popular discount store, which many of us shop at every week, and bought the very same or very similar items, as well as the same amount of items, and the grand total at the other store was more than $276.
That is roughly three and a half times more than we spent at Dollar Tree.