I absolutely LOVE Dollar Tree! It is truly a $1 store so if you are looking to find some great inexpensive items, they have you covered. That said, despite the bargain, there are some things I steer away from at Dollar Tree as even though the price is right, quality is simply not there. Okay, I know what you are thinking. "You get what you pay for." Right? Well, that can be true for many things, but, there are still some great items to be had at Dollar Tree. Here are my personal recommendations of items to buy, not to buy, and items I find to be hit or miss at this dollar champion.
Items I recommend buying:
Cards: Dollar Tree now carries Hallmark Cards. The selection is very good and for $1 you get a great card. They also have some Hallmark Cards that are 2/$1.
Invitations/Thank you notes: Average cards in a box is eight and there are some pretty good choices available.
Unscented candles: I often burn plain candles to cleanse and purify my home (white jar candles, 8") or colored candles for specific needs. These candles burn evenly and all the way down! Dollar Tree offers a great variety of these tall, unscented candles - white, green, red, blue and yellow. With the exception of the white candles, the other colors are not available all the time so stock up when you see them!
Holiday decorations: If you want a great selection of simple holiday decorative accents, Dollar Tree is the place to go. I want to make it clear that these decorations will not last years and years, however, they can still be great additions to what you already have. The best choices come when a specific holiday is first offered (example: Halloween decorations came out at the end of July last year). If you like something you see, buy it. Don't wait as it appears that once it's gone, it's gone.
Toothpaste: If you love Colgate and Crest, Dollar Tree has many options of these tried and true name brands for just $1!
Nail polish: The brand you will most often see at Dollar Tree is L.A. Colors. If you are not a nail polish snob and are looking for a wide variety of color options, this is the place to go! Dollar Tree also offers base coats, top coats and nail polish remover! I love getting polish for my summer toe nails here because I can get a selection of different colors and not break the bank. :)
Sleep remedy: Need a little extra help to get to sleep or stay asleep? I found these little gems at Dollar Tree years ago and have been using them ever since! As a matter of fact, this is the only thing I have ever purchased from dollartree.com in bulk.
Metal wreath rings: If you like to make wreaths for gifts or to sell, Dollar Tree offers a standard size wreath ring perfect for these projects! When you see them, stock up as around several holidays, they become quite hard to find.
Items NOT to buy:
Pens/pencils: If you are picky about the writing implements you use, like I am, I do not recommend buying pens or pencils at Dollar Tree. I have never been happy with any of the pens or pencils I purchased so I don't buy them anymore.
Off brand hard candy: I have never been satisfied by the Coastal Bay brand Dollar Tree offers. My advice? Pay a bit more and stick with Brach's or your personal favorite.
Scented candles: Now to be fair, I have purchased several scented candles at Dollar Tree that were very good, heavily scented and burned well (see pictured below). Problem is that the stock rotates often and the scented candles I found to be very good were one shot deals. I personally am not at all crazy about the regular brand they carry - Luminessence.
Battery operated candles: I would steer clear of both the pillar and tealight varieties as they don't always work. If you like the idea of timer candles, these are also not for you.
April Bath and Shower items: This is a regular personal care line at Dollar Tree. The scents are often enticing, but, it ends there. The liquid shower gel dried out my skin terribly! I have to admit that I am drawn to things that smell really good, but, I have now learned to stick with the natural companies I love that always deliver quality (topic for another post!)
Dish soap: I love a dish soap that holds it's suds if you know what I mean. I have tried the off brand dish soap Dollar Tree offers and was not happy. If you simply need to buy dish soap while at Dollar Tree, stick with the name brands they offer - Palmolive, Dawn, with the understanding that these items are much smaller (approx. 8-10 oz. per bottle) than what you will find at another retailer.
Hit or miss:
Candy: The selection of candy offered at Dollar Tree is very good. Not only is the selection good, but, they have some great "old fashioned" candy finds such as "Necco wafers", "Bit O' Honey", and "Smarties". Periodically, I find that some candies are not as fresh as I would like them to be, thus, the reason why I put them in the hit or miss category. As noted above, I don't recommend the Coastal Bay hard candy.
Decorative items: I have unearthed some fantastic decorative items at Dollar Tree! One of my absolute favorites is this tiny Buddha pictured right. As you can see, I use him to hold one of my precious crystals! I bought several others which were used to burn cone incense on. I put decorative items in the hit or miss category as often times you really have to dig for the good stuff. Below are a few more examples of some of my most cherished finds.
Solar lights: I have been drawn to the solar lights Dollar Tree offers around each holiday. For the most part, I was happy with the lights I got. I have periodically run into some that just would not work or only worked for a short time. If you are looking for temporary, decorative solar lights, these might just be up your alley!
Picks included in this post are in store options and are solely based on my personal opinion. If you like what you see, Dollar Tree also offers bulk stock on many of their regular items. Check out what they have to offer at dollartree.com. Online, Dollar Tree also offers the value seekers club which is free to join with an email address. Want to find some great tips and tricks using Dollar Tree items? Check out the tips and ideas blog!
I would love to hear about your most beloved Dollar Tree finds or those things you wish you had left in the store where you found them. Please feel free to leave your comments!
I hope you enjoyed my picks for this week! Until we meet again................Shari :)
I have not made it a secret that I love a great deal and saving money. Through the years, I have become well versed in the art of saving money and now even more so as I am able to dedicate more time to finding new ways to stretch every hard earned dollar. Just to make it clear, this does not mean that I don't buy things I love. Quite the opposite, as not only do I buy things I love, but, get a great deal on them too. Here's the catch.......I wait until they are on sale. What? Wait for it to be on sale? Yep, you read that right. I learned long ago that patience is really the best way to get what you want at a great deal. Now that I have time to check out some of the many offerings out there, I learned that not only should I wait for it to be on sale, but, I can also combine store loyalty programs with an app on my phone to get the most bang for my buck! Case in point, I recently went to Joann's to pick up some craft supplies and found that some garden statuary (Yoga frogs - regular price $14.99, sale price $5.99!) and a bird feeder (regular price $19.99, sale price $7.99!) I really wanted was on sale for 60% off! Now I will be the first to tell you that as much as I love the Joann chain of stores, I believe their regular prices to be severely inflated, however, at 60% off, the prices on the items I bought were just where I wanted them to be to make my purchase. Not only did I get items I really wanted, but, everything I got that day was on sale, including a regular priced item that I bought with a 50% off (one regular priced item) coupon I received in my email inbox for being a Joann subscriber. Interested? Visit Joann.com for details on signing up for their email coupons. Now, back to the savings!
In looking at my receipt (above), one would think that I got some pretty great deals that day and I would have to agree, BUT it gets better! Before I went to Joann, I checked out the Ibotta app I installed on my iPhone to see if there were any deals at Joann. I was excited to see that there was an offer for 15% off my total purchase! In addition to the great savings I got through Joann, once I scanned and submitted my receipt via the Ibotta app, I got confirmation that the additional 15% was pending! The very next day I received verification that I received $6.77 back as the result of my Joann purchase! Pretty sweet, right?
For those of you who have never heard of Ibotta, I would highly recommend you check it out. That said, I do have a few words of caution about using this app.
Well that about wraps it up for today. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about combining store loyalty programs with Ibotta!
Have any comments you would like to share? I would love to hear from you!
The savvy saver in me was shocked yesterday to learn that a friend of mine threw out almost two dozen eggs. When I asked her why she threw the eggs out, her reply was the date on the carton had come and gone. What? That's it? She told me that she struggles with the concept that many foods, including eggs, are still good past their expiration date, and feels consumption of said foods might make her sick. Despite my best efforts, numerous conversations about food safety, which prompted me to write this post, sadly, she continues to waste her hard earned money and precious food resources. After she told me about throwing out the eggs, I asked her if she had utilized the egg test before throwing them out. She replied no and stated that she had never heard of the egg test. I have been using this method for so many years, it didn't dawn on me that some might not even know about it. So what is the egg test? Well, it simply involves immersing your eggs in water. Haven't tried it? Let me tell you how it works! Put the egg or eggs you want to test in a bowl or pan of water. If the egg:
I hope you find this information helpful and use this simple test the next time you have eggs that are beyond their expiration.
Enjoy your Wednesday!
Questions or comments? I would love to hear from you!
Since finding the Amish "bent and dent" stores, I have become quite obsessed about food expiration dates, food storage and making sure I stretch those hard earned dollars spent on food. Food waste has always been something I tried to avoid, but, I have become more resolute these days about not wasting food. Why spend time and effort finding great bargains if we are just going to waste that which we took loving care to purchase and prepare? Doesn't make much sense does it? Let's take a look at food expiration information, food safety information as well as how to store and prolong the life of our food.
First, the confusion surrounding the expiration dates on food is real! It doesn't have to be baffling though, as on most items you will find one of 3 phrases (you saw that right, only 3):
I decided to put some expired items I bought at my favorite Amish bent and dent store to a personal test and found that with some items, there is really no notable difference in quality\flavor despite that the expiration date has come and gone. Even if you don't have these wonderful stores nearby, you most likely have expired items in your pantry that have not been used or opened. Don't throw them away! They might still be good! Here are a few items that remain pretty flavorful even several months after that expiration date:
Let's shift focus to some great resources that talk about food expiration\dating as well as food storage, and safety. This will help you further determine whether or not you can feel good about using items beyond the recommended expiration dates and how to best store and preserve the food you have and not waste it. I have also included a refrigerator and freezer chart.
In closing I will say that I am much more comfortable with using items beyond their expiration dates. Not only have I experimented with using food items beyond their expiration but also personal care and vitamin products. I guess that is fodder for another post!
May your amazing spirit provide you strength and guidance on your very personal adventure! Until we meet again................Shari :)
I have been a Aldi shopper for years and years. I started shopping at Aldi when I was in college. At that time, I was really in need of the lower prices offered as money was VERY tight. These days money is not nearly as much of an issue, however, this gal still loves a great bargain! But it's more than that. Beyond finding an incredible bargain, I am also on the lookout for quality, which many times, can be found at places one might not expect. My post today is designed to provide some basic, practical fundamentals about Aldi. This grocery retailer, headquartered out of Germany, is a subsidiary of Trader Joe's and growing rapidly in the US. For those of you who have never walked into an Aldi store, what are you waiting for? Ready? Let's get started!
So, how did Aldi come into being? The original chain of stores which later became Aldi, was founded in 1946 in Essen, Germany by brothers, Theo and Karl Albrecht. In 1962 the Aldi name was created (shortened version of Albrecht-Diskont, get it?) and in 1967 started to expand to other countries. In 1976 the first Aldi opened it's doors in the US and was located in Burlington, IA. In 1979, Aldi's CEO, Theo Albrecht, purchased Trader Joe's which remains a subsidiary of Aldi to this day.
Okay so enough about the history. I just wanted to give you a little background on one of my most favorite stores before we dive in. I guess at this point you are probably wondering about a few things. Why should I shop at Aldi? How they are able to offer great quality products and keep prices low? Well, simply put, Aldi is a no frills kind of place where you bring your own bags and pack your own groceries after checkout. Each Aldi store is small (when compared to a regular grocery store), has only a few aisles (4-5 would be my guess as I have been in quite a few stores) and stocks items in their original packing/shipment boxes. You won't find entire aisles dedicated to only one item at Aldi. What you will find are some great products without the sense of overwhelm often experienced in the large retail chains. This saves a great deal of time and energy when it comes to making decisions on what to buy. If you love to find quality items at great prices, Aldi is for you. If you are a low maintenance kind of person, Aldi is definitely for you. Aldi offers all the essentials. I am talking basic here. You won't be able to fill a prescription, make a deposit at an in store bank or visit an optician, but, you will be able to get groceries, paper products, beauty supplies, as well as baby and pet items. Sounds pretty good, right?
I would be amiss if I didn't mention some things that make Aldi different, so I am going to give you all the essential information you need to get you started. Here are a few things to know before heading to Aldi:
Whew! Now that we have gotten those basics out of the way, let the savings begin! After all, Aldi is about getting what you need and saving money. If you, like me, are the kind of person who likes to plan before your shopping trip, you can view Aldi's sale flyers - "This Week's Hot Deals!" and "Aldi finds" online before you visit the store. Find them online here. Don't want to go online? Well, they can also be found at your local store. Upon entering the store, "This Week's Hot Deals!" (pictured right below) will most likely be on a stand when you first enter the store (see left picture below). Take a minute to take a look and get the lay of the land on sale items.
Now that you have checked out the flyer, let's talk about some of the signs you will see along the way as you wander the aisles in search of what you need. Here are just a few of the signs you will see and my version of their translation based on my experience:
"New at Aldi": These are new items that Aldi is introducing and plans to keep on for an extended period of time. These items will not disappear, and no longer be available, at the speed of lightening.
"Seasonal Favorite": Yep, this tag is also blue and as such, can be misconstrued as a new item if one is not paying attention. Anyway, this tag indicates an item that is only available for a limited time of a few months.
"Aldifinds" : This tag indicates an item out of the weekly "Aldi Insider/Aldi Finds" flyer (pictured right below). For clarification, the "Aldi Insider" is the actual name of the flyer. "Aldi Finds" are the contents within the flyer. A quick note of interest: the website has the most current copy of the "Aldi Insider" as well as the preview for the next week. New "Aldi Finds" are featured every week beginning on Wednesdays. So what are "Aldi Finds"? Well, they are food and non-food items that include (but are certainly not limited to) kitchen appliances and equipment, storage options, furniture - both indoor and outdoor, gardening tools and supplies, seasonal items and so much more. I love "Aldi Finds" and look forward to seeing what will be offered from week to week. In your local store you will most likely find the "Aldi Finds" flyer rack as you are leaving the store (middle picture below). Aldi also posts a larger version of the "Aldi Finds" flyer (pictured left below) for the upcoming week, on the glass window by the exit door.
A yellow tag indicates a regular item. These are items that are generally in stock and available (unless they have sold out). This particular tag also indicates that this Barissimo coffee is "Fair Trade Certified." Want to know more about Fair trade certification? Find that here.
Hmmm.............wonder what this sign is suggesting? All kidding aside, if you are looking for organic, Aldi has a wonderful selection of organic fruits and veggies as well as organic items sold under the "Simply Nature" brand. I have to say that the introduction of the "Simply Nature" brand has been a game changer for my family. This fabulous brand offers organic at very affordable prices. I love that I can now buy organic without sacrificing quality. I know when I buy a "Simply Nature" product that I am getting just that. I guess you could say I am simply in love with "Simply Nature." :)
In addition to "Simply Nature", Aldi has added many new brands over the years and now offers a greater variety of products! Here is a comprehensive list of the brands Aldi offers and what type of products are featured within these brands.
When looking for an amazing deal at Aldi, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for. Keep your eyes open for these signs and sign modifications, as they are great indicators:
Or perhaps your local store has bins like these:
As you can see, markdowns can range from small to pretty sizable. Get to know your local store to learn where you might find the deepest markdowns.
So it all sounds pretty good, right? If you are still on the fence about trying Aldi, I guess it wouldn't hurt to mention the "Double Guarantee" on their exclusive brand products. The "Double Guarantee" is this: If you are not 100% satisfied, bring your item back to the store. They will replace the product AND give you your money back. *NOTE: Your original receipt is required to receive a cash refund. If a receipt is not provided, Aldi will give you a gift card equal to the current price of the returned item. Oh, one last thing about the guarantee; it does not apply to non-food items (such as an "Aldi Find"), alcohol (where available), national brands and items returned with non-quality related issues.
As a final thought, if you have never been to an Aldi and decide to give it a try, give yourself time to adjust to the new products and this simpler, more scaled down version of shopping. Aldi is certainly a different way to shop but the transition is well worth it when considering the money to be saved. I hope you will seriously consider giving Aldi a try and that this post has given you the basic information and push you need. Happy shopping!
I would love to hear from you. Any comments you may have are greatly appreciated!
Growing up in northern IL, my Mom and Dad taught me the value of a dollar and the value of buying the best you could afford. With this knowledge firmly implanted, I have spent years honing my bargain shopping skills. I have to admit that when I get a truly great deal, I get a little giddy! Since moving to Pennsylvania, I have found a new way (for me it is new, perhaps not to you) to save some serious cash. I am so enthusiastic about this great find I just have to share!
Shortly after I moved to PA, I started exploring and found what is referred to as "bent and dent" or "scratch and dent" stores. Around my area (Jefferson Co, PA), these stores are primarily owned by the Amish and are absolutely great places to find incredible bargains! This has quickly become my most favorite way to get a great deal. All the years I lived in Illinois, I never ran across any stores like these. I will say that in order for you to get the most of your experience from these stores, you need to realize several things. First, unlike a regular grocery store, you are not guaranteed to find the same items each time you go so you should buy items when you see them! Secondly, you have to be willing to take a risk sometimes on what you buy as some items for sale are beyond their expiration date. Anyway, considering the money that can be saved, I am/was willing to take the risk as I have since learned that the expiration date on many things does not make a difference. These stores are especially good for those, like me, who need to find quality gluten free items and can find them at GREATLY reduced prices. So how much money can you save? Check out what I found below!
There have been so many magnificent finds on my "bent and dent" travels. Another that comes to mind are these Olly gummy vitamins which I got for $1.50! My find was again past it's prime (a few months past expiration), but, I still feel they were well worth the money. When opened, these beauties had no unusual smell, were still nice and soft, and tasted great! Since the FDA does not require manufactures of vitamin supplements to include expiration dates on packaging, I find it a bonus that Olly's does in fact include this information. For the most part, vitamins don't expire like other items do, but become less potent and effective over time. So what did I save? In doing a comparison search, I found them on Olly's website for $13.99, Amazon for $13.29, and at Target for $13.99. What great savings!
Last week, I visited Yoder's which is one of my favorite "bent and dent" stores. On my most recent trip, I got the following:
Yep, you read that right. $14.17. I don't know about you, but, I thought this was pretty darn amazing as many of my items were gluten free! As anyone who has to buy gluten free instead of the regular stuff, you know that these items tend to be on the expensive side.
Finding these stores has been a God send for Michael and me as we have been able to save a great deal of money. For those of you who live in/around Jefferson Co, PA, my current 3 top recommendations of the "bent and dent" variety are:
For my readers who live in other areas of the country, I would highly recommend that you see if your area offers stores like these. You will be thrilled with what you find if you take to heart the information offered in this post.
We can all benefit from saving green. Hopefully you found this post helpful! Keep your eyes to this page for further tips on how to save money as I plan to make this a monthly feature. Enjoy your day!
As promised, in several Facebook posts, I am giving away this awesome 2019 "Living My Best Life" planner. This beautiful planner is filled with all kinds of space to keep track of what is important to you!
If you love this planner as much as I do, follow my Midlife With Moxie Pinterest page for your chance to enter the drawing! Yep, that is all you have to do. Simply go to my Midlife With Moxie Pinterest page and follow it (please follow my entire page, not just a board). Already following me on Pinterest? For your chance to win, click on and save a pin from my "Blog Posts" board and your name will be entered for the drawing! Really love this planner and want two chances to win? Save a pin from my "Blog posts" board and your name will be entered twice for 2 chances to win!
NOTE: Those who have already followed my Pinterest board will need to save 2 pins from my "Blog Posts" board for 2 chances to win.
Rules to win: