A Blast from the Past – Part 1.1 – 13 Dollars and 13 Items

So it just so happens I found this little thing on my computer that I thought I had posted to the blog I am closing.  Guess I didn’t.  It was also written on 12.19.09, the same day I wrote the Random Activities post so I will throw this in extra and you’ll have a twofer for today!  Hope you enjoy!

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This was originally written but not posted on 12.19.09

13 Dollars and 13 Items

 Last weekend while I was visiting a friend in St. Augustine we were talking about shopping at the Dollar Tree.  Some of the other stores people call the “dollar store” aren’t actually “dollar stores” because everything isn’t just a dollar.  Many people think they’re too good to shop at a dollar store, but I do occasionally go.  Tonight was one of those nights.  I bought 13 items and I only paid 13 dollars and some change – for tax.

One of the reasons I don’t go more often is because I’m not totally convinced these “everything is just a dollar” stores is a good bargain.  I’ve gone shopping and looked in these stores several different times and I’ve noticed the size of their packages and I think at Wal-Mart you could come out ahead if you bought what was at Wal-Mart as opposed to these dollar stores.

Tonight I went in with a plan.  I was looking for several items and wanted to first see how many of them I could find at Dollar Tree before going to Wal-Mart.  (I actually prefer to shop at Target but I currently don’t have as much money to spend and I know I will usually save money at Wal-Mart so, for now, Wally World is getting most of my business.  I actually want to try a little experiment with Target v. Wal-Mart later…but it will have to be when I have a little extra money.)  On my list was a pizza cutter, a small plastic container to put my craft scissors in, Styrofoam cups, and plastic spoons.  I didn’t know if I would find all these items, but I thought I would give it a try and see what I came up with.

I was able to find the plastic box for my crafting scissors.  I didn’t remember to look in Wal-Mart to see how much their boxes were for a similar size, but if memory serves me I have seen a similar size box for ninety-something cents and over a dollar.  I didn’t find the pizza cutter but I did find some measuring cups and I almost bought them but I thought I remembered seeing a set of measuring cups at Wal-Mart for 97 cents: I when I went to Wall-Mart tonight I did find the measuring cups and I bought them.  (Although I already have a set of measuring cups, these exact same ones, I wanted another set because I needed another one-cup measuring cup for Miss. Kitty’s cat food that I could keep in her dry food jar without having to take the one from my original set.)  I didn’t find the plastic spoons – I may have over looked them or, like Wal-Mart they probably don’t always have the same items.  But I did find the Styrofoam cups.  When I went to Wal-Mart the same quantity, I think, was 27 cents more.

Sometimes you come out ahead and sometimes you don’t.  What I did see were several decent snacks.  I bought a pack of chocolate cookies and they taste good.  At the store in St. Augustine I was able to find a travel coffee mug and lent rollers which I thought was a very good buy.  They also have neat Coke A Cola mugs which I’ve seen in several different Dollar Tree stores.  They also have a very good selection of cleaning products and personal hygiene items which is good if you’re not picky about the brand you use.

The thing that I was most excited about, being a big reader, were three books I found…and again they were all just one dollar.  The titles are: Bill and Dave: How Hewlett And Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company which I think might be interesting because it talks about the story of why and how they created such a successful company and their enlightened management style, as the author puts it on the front inside flap; Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole which is written by and about Doctor Jerri Nielsen who went to the South Pole to be part of – or help with – a science experiment and while she was there realized she had breast cancer which she diagnosed herself and I think even did a little surgery on herself; Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle For Control of the United States Supreme Court which sounds interesting.

Sometimes the best part of going to these stores is the…neat, different, or interesting things you might find that you didn’t realize you were looking for.  One of the great things I found was cleaning sponges that had 4 or 5 in a pack.  My sponges don’t last long because I throw them away often so it’s very nice to find them at such a good price because I know I pay much more than a dollar for them at other stores.

With all this being said, you will come out ahead if you only have a few dollars to spend and need to get several things.  Something I’ve always said: it might be nice to buy in bulk and you might come out saving money in the long run, but if you don’t have the money to spend you can always look for the best bargains.  This is where stores with everything costing only one dollar come in very, very handy.

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