Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dollarama Chronicles: The Good and the Bad

I really enjoy a bit of a jaunt around the local Dollarama. I realize that some people hate dollar stores, feeling an ethical tug due to the ultra low prices and how the products are nearly all produced overseas. I don't buy a ton of stuff at the dollar store, but I have to admit that I do love to buy certain products there, especially at Dollarama. Here are three things I love to buy at Dollarama, and a few things, well, not so much.

Good Things to Buy at the Dollar Store
1. Office supplies. Yes, the quality at certain dollar stores might be dubious at best, but I find that Dollarama really does have a good selection of certain office supplies. I like to buy sticky notes (generic Post Its) there, along with tape, and pens and pencils.
2. Greeting cards. They might not be ultra fancy, but buying greeting cards at the dollar store really makes sense. Instead of the $4 and up you can buy at a greeting card store, you can get a nice card for a buck. I really like it when I can snag a multi-pack of cute Thank You cards (or even blank cards with pretty fronts) for just a dollar. Score!
3. Name brand items. I hate to give away a great secret, but Dollarama here in Canada has recently had some pretty awesome brand name items for $3 or less. Yardley lavender soap from England (and yes, I checked the box and product before buying to make sure they were the real thing - they are) is only $1 a bar! Incredible! They sell for at least $3 in other locations. And, I bought a lovely big container of name brand apricot body wash (I can't remember the name now, and I'm done with the bottle! lol) for $2.50 and it lasted me for absolutely ages. You can sometimes treat yourself with a brand name for way less at a dollar store.

What I'm not so keen to buy at a dollar store
1. Certain food items - for instance, I tried the peppermint tea at Dollarama recently. I was on an uber frugality kick, meaning that I kicked up my natural frugality a few notches and started doing the unit price thing a lot more regularly. But, the peppermint tea was not very refreshing, to say the least. I'll give a pass on Dollarama tea, called 'D Gourmet.' lol I learned a valuable, minty lesson that day. I'll stick to my regular herbal teas, which still only cost around a dime a cup to brew. On the other hand, I love buying a big bag of SmartFood popcorn at Dollarama for only two bucks - it's my favorite snack food by far.
2. Electronics. Now, I'm not electronics or technological whiz. In fact, I often think I'm more like an old lady two and a half times my age! But, I know that little gizmos and gadgets likely aren't such a great idea from the dollar store.
3. Kids toys. Be careful, as certain parts might be a danger to small children in dollar store toys.

The dollar store is a great way to stretch our budgets. What DO you buy at them, and what do you REFUSE to buy there?

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