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July is Best Time for Shopping Bargains on These 9 Items

Finding authentic hot bargains and deep discounts on the things you need often has more to do with when you shop than where. It’s all about knowing the best time to buy.  And the time is now for great July shopping bargains.

In the same way that cars are often discounted late in the season and just before new models are introduced, appliances, clothes, sporting goods, linens, home decor, and even travel deals are predictably discounted for a variety of different reasons. In fact, 4th of July sales are known as Black Friday in July—a chance to get a deal iPads, 4K TVs, outdoor grills, appliances, and sporting goods, too— at Black Friday-like prices.

As July temperatures soar, keep an eye out for these hot bargains.

Outdoor grills

July is smack dab in the middle of summer, and grill retailers are starting to sweat. They’re checking inventory. Most people purchase grills at the beginning of the season and traffic is starting to slow. What to do with all the inventory? Sell it, baby! As soon as the last fireworks display is packed up for another year, expect every kind of outdoor grill imaginable to go on sale.

Whether on Amazon or elsewhere, gas grills are a super smart buy in July because you still have plenty of choices, nearly everything available is on sale and lots of great grilling days still ahead.

Young man at a barbecue grill

 

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17 Things You’d Be Smart to Buy at a Dollar Store

At least a couple of times a week, someone will ask me what I miss most about living in Southern California. Because we lived there for 47 years before pulling up roots and relocating to Colorado, you might assume that it would be a long list.

But my usual response is “Not much!” and not just to get a laugh. Truth be told, I can only think of two things: Good pizza and my beloved 99 Cents Only Store—the best “dollar” store ever, AND the food retailer no one knows. The company’s nearly 400 stores derive close to 80% of their sales of $2.4 billion from categories such as fresh, grocery and consumables that overlap with those of traditional grocers and discounters.

Admittedly, I have not tried every pizza option in our new location, so hope springs eternal. But I cannot find even a hint of a plan to expand 99 Cents Only Stores to Colorado, and that’s a cryin’ shame.

Good thing there are other brands of dollar stores nearby while I wait for 99 Cents Only Stores—the gold standard when it comes to good stuff cheap—to get smart and open a store in my neighborhood.

Here’s the reason I love dollar stores in general: It’s easy to match quality with need when what I need does not require much quality. Let me show you what I mean about need vs. quality with this quick list of 17 things you’d be smart to buy at a dollar store:

Greeting cards

Don’t expect Hallmark’s complete line to show up at the dollar store. But you can expect first-quality greeting cards for just about every occasion. This is my go-to source for greeting cards that I know will be opened, enjoyed for the moment, and tossed. Nothing wrong with that, but I sure don’t want to spend $3.99 or more for a disposable card when I can get it for a buck!

Gift Bags, gift wrap

A dollar store is the best place to buy gift bags and gift wrap for a fraction of the cost of traditional stores. And why not? The gift bags and all that gift wrap are going to end up in the trash in just the time it takes to rip open the gift. So who needs super, high-end quality for disposable gift wrap? Dollar store quality is plenty good, and cheap to boot. Gift bags and wrapping paper are my favorite examples of matching quality with need.

Paper goods

Paper plates, cups, disposable tablecloths, plastic cutlery, balloons, and even theater-size boxes of candy—if you need it for a party and don’t need it to last for more than a few hours, the dollar store is the place to find it.

Wax paper, parchment paper, aluminum foil

These are hard to compare price-wise because the square footage is different in the boxes at the dollar stores than the boxes in the regular grocery stores. However, they are still cheaper per inch. I also really like the pre-cut pop-up foil sheets that are huge frustration savers.

Seasonal decor and favors

Want to decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and any number of other holidays? Love to fill  Christmas stockings with trinkets, small gadgets, and other kinds of fun stuff? You’ll find everything from packages of spider rings, to glow sticks, streamers, wall and door decor and on and on—all super cheap—at the dollar store.

Pregnancy tests

Hold on. It’s true—most dollar stores sell pregnancy tests for a dollar that would cost upwards of $15 or more in a drugstore. Are they reliable? I suppose they are if they do what they say on the label. And assuming the test kit is sealed and not beyond its expiration date, why not? If you’re worried about a false response, buy a few kits to make sure. At a buck each, you’ll still save a bundle.

Double-sided tape

You can get 130 inches of this tape at the dollar store. This is a shorter tape than the 450-inch roll for $4.79 at Staples, but it is still cheaper per inch.

Beauty and personal care

Get ready to be blown away by all the shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream, soap, body wash, razors, hair accessories, hair care gear, bandages, and personal care items in the typical dollar store. You may not see a lot of name brands—but then again you might, depending on the day. As for unknown brands, check the ingredients. It may be junk or you just might find products that are similar if not the same as the more pricey options you’re used to.

Containers to get organized

Why pay $3.99 each for plastic shoe boxes with lids to organize the kids’ rooms when you can get them for a buck at the dollar store? Dollar stores are notorious for their containers, bins, boxes, and organizational helpers.

Having a Garage Sale or need to sell a car? Dollar stores are the place to find ready-made plastic signs for posting. Just use a marker to fill in your specific information in the spaces provided and you’re set.

Reading glasses

Yep, you’ll find them too, at a dollar store. Probably not a huge selection, but you’re sure to find at least a couple of options that fit and in the magnification strength you need. And when you do, grab a few pairs because you know how easy it is to misplace reading glasses.

Home decor

Where do you go when you need a  picture frame, a flower vase or wreath, doormats, or another kind of home decor? Check the dollar store! 

Cleaning supplies

Look on the shelves of the cleaning aisle at any dollar store and you’ll find lots of off-brand bleach, cleansers, dish soap, laundry detergent, stain treatments, toilet cleaners, glass, and mirror cleaners, too. And don’t be shocked to find an occasional name-brand in the lot. Look for microfiber cloths, sponges and scrub brushes and other equipment as well.

Kitchen utensils and accessories

I suggest caution when considering cutlery, tongs, spatulas, and so forth from the dollar store. Much of what you’ll find is not worth spending a dollar on. But on occasion, you’ll come across a super bargain on name brand, excellent-quality kitchen utensils, and accessories that will bring a great deal of value to your kitchen. Things like measuring spoons and cups, spoon rests, name brand kitchen scissors, peelers, scrubbers and cutting boards; towels, pot holders, and placemats, too.

I have rubber spatulas, serving spoons, glassware, and measuring cups from 99 Cents Only that I’ve had for many years and they’re still my favorites. 

Tools

Not every tool in a home or garage needs to be a top-of-the-line, name brand with a life expectancy of many decades. Take a tape measure, duct tape, glue or maybe even a tiny set of screwdrivers for the kitchen. You’ll find all those things at a dollar store. Picture hanging kits, handy assortments of screws and nails, too.

Non-perishables and produce

The main thing I miss about 99 Cents Only is the fresh produce. Not kidding! I would make 99 Cents my first stop on the way to the supermarket. Beyond bananas, I couldn’t predict what I would find in the fresh produce section, so I’d stop there before going on to the supermarket. Oh, the bargains on beautiful, locally grown produce!

You will find lots of food in the typical dollar store. The array of canned goods and other non-perishables is impressive. Just make sure you know your prices. You don’t want to pay $.99 for a can of soup that is regularly priced $.69 at the supermarket. It can happen.

Clay flower pots

Look for great flower pots, especially if you like to decorate clay pots. They make great gifts, or awesome decor for windowsills, patios, and porches. You’ll see the same $1 pot at Lowes is $3.97.

Pet supplies

From name-brand pet food for dogs, cats, and fish to vet-approved toys, leashes, food dishes, and even an occasional doggie sweater or Halloween costume—the dollar store lets pets live the good life without their owners worrying about the cost. You just might be surprised by what you’ll find.

In closing, let me remind all of us of this important principle: Even the best deal in the world is not a good deal at all if it’s something you don’t need or won’t use.

Question: Do you frequent a dollar store? If so, what’s the best—or worst—thing you’ve purchased there? 

 

 

January is the Best Time to Score a Deal on These 13 Things

Worried you missed out on all the After Christmas sales? Well, dry your tears because some of the best sales of the year are going live this month in retail and online stores everywhere.

January is the ideal time of the year to go bargain hunting for these 13 things:

January is the Best Time to Buy Linens

1. Bedding and Towels

White sales traditionally show up in January. Expect big discounts on most bedding, bath, and home essentials. Stores can often offer from up to 50% off to up to 75% off select bedding, bath, and other items during a white sale. Here are the types of items you’ll likely see at white sales:

  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Bedspreads
  • Duvets
  • Towels
  • Home decor
  • Furniture

2. Calendars

Most everyone starts a New Year with resolutions and intentions to get his or her life in order, but if you can stay organized until mid-January without a calendar, expect to save over 50% on most calendars and planners.

3. Spaghetti

Jan. 4, is National Spaghetti Day. So why would that matter when it comes to bargain hunting? In the past, nationally known restaurants have offered super deals (sometimes it’s been on the house!) on a plate of spaghetti—a good indication of what we can expect this year, too:

  • Spaghetti Warehouse
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill
  • Fazoli’s
  • Luby’s
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy

4. Televisions

You can be sure that the end of football season ushers in the kickoff for great television deals as retailers gear up for the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2020. Based on past years’ performances, you should expect retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Costco, and others to offer rock bottom prices towards the end of January—an excellent time to score a bargain.


The 10 Most Popular Everyday Cheapskate Posts of 2019The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2019

I can’t believe it’s 2020—a brand New Year, and, new decade, too (with apologies to those who see 2020 as the last year of the last decade)! The year 2019 has been an absolute whirlwind here at EC Central—a year filled with growth, joy, and bright new horizons.

Believing that it’s always a good thing to look back to see where we’ve been and to count the blessings—here is a roundup of the 10 most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2019. What was your favorite?

Here we go …


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Back-to-School Clothes Shopping

Your money is limited and time is short. Here is my best advice to make sure back-to-school clothes shopping doesn’t send you to the poorhouse.

Enthusiastic group of young kids in class sitting in a row at their desk raising their hands in the air to show the know the answer to a question

Set spending limits

Time to get real. How much money (not credit) do you have available for school clothes? Write it down.

Take an inventory

Sort through your kids’ clothes and decide which ones you want to keep and which ones they don’t wear due to wear and tear, or because they no longer fit. This gives you a clear idea of what you have, and what you need.

Sell the old to buy the new

If you have kids clothes that are in really good condition, sell them. Take them to a resale consignment shop to sell or use as trade items. Find a consignment store near you that specializes in kidswear. Really, if you never shopped consignment, prepare to be amazed. Expect to find gently worn and brand new clothes in current styles and colors for 50 to 75 percent off new retail. Read more