- Party Supplies: Decorations for birthdays, weddings, and other special events and holidays seem to be increasingly popular at dollar stores.
- Household Cleaners: Most off-brand cleaners contain the same basic ingredients as brand names, which cost much more.
- Kids' Toys and Novelties: As a special treat, a friend of mine gives each of her grandchildren a single dollar bill and lets them loose in the dollar store. "You should see their smiles, knowing they can buy anything in the store," she says. "They get more joy out of spending that dollar than they'd get from a $20 toy if I bought it for them."
- Some Food Products: Check perishable products to make sure they're not nearing their expiration dates. At my favorite dollar store, canned items, such as olives, pickles, relishes, and condiments are particularly good buys.
- Kitchen Utensils: You'll find a nice selection of kitchen tools at most dollar stores, and they are just as useful as some of the higher-priced gadgets sold at department stores.
- Picture Frames: My local dollar store has a big selection of frames, which make nice gifts when you put a family photo or other piece of memorabilia inside.
- Candles and Incense: Another great, simple, inexpensive gift item, candles with popular scents (vanilla and apple, for instance) are just as available here as in higher-priced shops.
- Reading Glasses: When you lose as many pairs as I do, you need to buy them by the dozen. At a buck a pair, that frequency is doable. Now, where did I put my glasses?…
Jeff Yeager is the author of the book, "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." His Web site is www.UltimateCheapskate.com.