Monday, January 28, 2008

Dollar Stores--A Comparison Study

After my trip to the 99 Cents Only store, I went next door to The Dollar Tree. I love the Dollar Tree for things that are great for parties, kids, gifts, and paper products. This is my store for choice for gift bags and wrap as well as a complete set of partyware and balloons. Every once in a while, they have neat kids tableware like the dinosaur plate and cup set in the picture above. And, they sell greeting cards for 50 cents each, 2 for a dollar. Take a look at the 8 greeting cards I bought for $4 which would be the equivalent of one Hallmark or American Greeting card! They have a pretty good assortment of greeting cards for kids birthdays which I like. I bought two birthday gift bags, one with a dinosaur design and another with cute animals.

So, here's my take on the 99 Cents Only versus Dollar Tree. 99 Cents Only caters to those who have limited budgets including welfare recipients along with the frugal/budget-minded shopper like me. I saw an interview recently with the founders of 99 Cents Only and they explained that they get remainders, overstock and poor sellers. Sometimes, they pick up real bargains like the larger size Heinz ketchup that Heinz decided not to sell anymore. Overall, they have a broader and more eclectic selection and they have a grocery/produce section.

The Dollar Tree, though, focuses more on the stationery, paper products, educational books and supplies, and kids' toys. So, they are my store of choice for kids' birthday party decorations and for kids' and school supplies as well as paper plates, napkins, aluminum foil pans and the like. Just a moment here about aluminum pans--they sell for $3 or more at regular grocery stores. So, to get a roasting pan that might cost $6 at a regular grocery market for $1 makes my heart sing.

In any case, you can find all sorts of deals and bargains at both stores, even remaindered books that are worthwhile reads. You just never know what you can find but you can usually depend on a certain group of items to be available at most of these places.

Do you frequent these stores? What have been your best finds at these stores?

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