8 Surprising Dollar Store Steals

Many people, including, once upon a time, me, typically avoid the dollar store at all costs. That's a big mistake. And a costly one.

My (former) impression of the dollar store scene: Chaotic aisles of miscellaneous, random stuff that no one really wants or needs. Plus, who has hours to rifle through piles and pallets to find something that will only save a dollar or two?

But after a visit, I stand corrected! Here are some of my cartloads of fab discoveries that saved a small fortune.

1. Food. 16-ounce bags of frozen vegetables, large baguettes, jars of spaghetti sauce and boxes of pasta: You can feed a family of four for under $5. 

2. Office supplies. High-quality notepads, desk calendars (themes included the New York Yankees, Disney (Stock Quote: DIS) characters and zen thoughts of the day), leather journals, steel-blade scissors, highlighters, an entire array of 3M (Stock Quote: MMM) Post-it products, all a dollar each. No joke, you can stock your office—sans the furniture and intern—for a cool $10.

3. Gifts. Welcome to candle central. You’ll find the same shapes and scents as those seen in high-end stores, plus holders in vintage-inspired colored glass, chic votive and mini Nambé-esque styles. And, yes, they’re 99 cents each. Candles, another buck. Plus, a set of 20 gift bags…you guessed it: one dollar.

4. Tools. I’m not handy, but if I were, I’d load up on one-dollar man gadgets, like pliers, hammers, tire gauges, screwdrivers, drill bits and the list goes on. Sure, they’re not designer labels, but until Gucci puts out a luxe line of Allen wrenches, I’m fine with off-brands.

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