I’ve noticed dollar stores cropping up more and more, and with today’s economy it’s not hard to understand why.  In many cases, there is a reason items are for sale in a dollar store – they are cheaply made and thus probably don’t have a long lifespan.

But there are items that you can find at an excellent value. I have found products on shelves in dollar stores that are the same as my local supermarket for a cheaper price and it would be stupid to pass up that type of deal. Making a trip once a month and stocking up on values isn't a bad idea.

1)    Cleaning supplies

You can find brand name bottles lining the shelves and a selection just as large as any supermarket. Drain cleaner, window cleaner, tile cleaner, and mop buckets, and everything else you need to clean the house. Or office.

2)    Holiday decorations

Be it Easter, Halloween, or Fourth of July, dollar stores always have sections dedicated to holidays chalk full of stuff.  You can find paper cut-outs for your windows, center pieces for your table, wreathes for your front door, and candies for for the kids.

3)    Cards

There’s not a large selection of greeting cards at most dollar stores, but you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs.  Two cards for a dollar is a common sale, and there are usually packs of cards - invitations, thanks yous, or blanks - that you can find as well. Gift bags are also a good buy.

4)    Toiletries

Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash, bar soap, hair gel, shaving cream - the value buys at the supermarket are even cheaper at dollar stores. Not to mention luffas and washcloths.

5)    Flatware

I’m always surprised by how many plates, bowls, mugs, and glasses dollar stores supply.  I’m always even more surprised at how long they last. You can get entire matching sets. Or if you just need a small child’s set for your niece at the next holiday you host you can purchases one of those too.

6)    Helium Balloons

Yes, you can get these at dollar stores. You can get a whole balloon bouquet.

7)    Hair Ornaments

For women, not men.  There are alligator clips of various sizes, barrettes for young girls, headbands – cloth and not – , pony tails and bobby pins. They are a ton of sizes and designs. You can also find decent brushes and combs.

8)    Reading Glasses

Prescriptions aren’t usually needed for these, so you can find them anywhere. Dollar stores usually have a variety of lens strengths and frame designs. They also sell glasses repair kits and cases.

9)    Yarn

I buy a lot of my fun, fancy yarn from dollar stores.  I need to usually get three or four of them for a full scarf, but when they run three dollars each at Michael's, it’s worth it to shop elsewhere.

10) Snacks

You might get less fruit snacks per box, but it’s still a better value to get snacks – salty and sweet – from the dollar store. Popcorn, trail mix, cracker sandwiches, and cookies.  Not to mention brand name candy bars. Don't forget drinks. If you get the generic store pop anyway, consider buying it from dollar stores where a dollar gets you a full two litter bottle.  And if you don’t like pop, they do have the large bottle of Gatorade and Arizona products.