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Lets face it, the Dollar Store probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when we think of planning a shopping trip.

What does comes to mind when you think of shopping dollar stores, are images of dusty mazes of shelves packed with shoddy and weird off-brands. As well as the fact that the store is often times not in the safest part of town. But a recent article in Good Housekeeping says maybe we need to think again.

To me, shopping at the Dollar Store always seemed a bit like being on a treasure hunt—they carry a wide and ever-changing stock of goodies, but you have to seek them out. However, many of today’s dollar stores are well organized and designed to get you in and out fast. They are also moving to better locations around the country.

Seems the “dollar store” industry is officially competing with each other for our business. Stores like The 99 Cent Store, Dollar Tree and Dollar General are not only competing with each other, they want to compete with stores like Walmart and Target as well. 

But according to the Good Housekeeping article, there are good deals to be found. Below are seven solid buys they say you should still take advantage of when shopping at any Dollar Store.

  1. Spices – We know how expensive spices can be. You’ll likely pay three times as much as anywhere else, than you’d pay at the Dollar Stores.
  2. Ibuprofen – They won’t be name brand, and you may not get a huge bottle for just a dollar, but if you don’t need a large amount, this is a great buy.
  3. Party Supplies – These are terrific  buys as they are usually paper items that will be used only the one time anyway. But normal Party Stores can be costly. Most Dollar Stores have a “party section”.
  4. Flip Flops – Its nice to have an extra pair around for those times when your favorite (nicer) ones break. Spending only a buck or two for them, you won’t care if they break.
  5. Office Supplies – Things like pencils, pens and notebooks are good. A 40-pack of envelopes cost substantially more at the office supply.
  6. Greeting Cards – Going to Hallmark for greeting cards can break you these days. You’ll save a ton on card here. Especially the all occasion cards that are blank inside.
  7. Pregnancy Test – Yes, they do carry these and they are only $1.00 each. The cheap kind still work the same. And this way you can buy several of them and double or triple check the results, and still save money.

So, the next time you are in need of some of the usual household items, maybe give your nearest Dollar Stores a second chance. Why not, who doesn’t want to save money?

Rich Fields is a veteran radio broadcaster who is best known for having been the Announcer on the Price is Right. He is also an Emmy Award winning Meteorologist .