When we asked our ABC Action News Facebook fans if they shopped at local dollar stores, we got an overwhelmingly positive response. The I-Team is working on an investigation that may change your shopping habits, but here are tips from our viewers on what to buy – and not to buy – when bargain hunting.
Our viewers were overwhelmingly impressed with the cleaning supplies available at some local dollar stores and recommended it the most. "They also have a few cleaners that work better than the name-brand stuff!" Susan Padgett Sharp wrote.
Whether it's centerpieces for one-time events or cheap items to help change up a bored teen's room scheme, our viewers highly recommend dollar stores.
"I run in for party supplies and helium balloons ... you can not get any cheaper than a dollar," said Kimberly Roman on Facebook.
"Holloween (sic) decorations. They sell out quickly!" advised Jodi Abrams.
And Sharon Less knows that if flowers are going to be outside, it's better to get ones that are cheap and will last. She buys "Fake holiday flowers to take to the cemetery."
"I go load up every few weeks on crafts for the kids - bird houses, popsicle sticks, construction paper, stickers, glitter glue, etc." said Sabrina Cristia Dennis.
Lots of other people chimed in that teachers – who often use their own money for supplies – can save by buying craft supplies at dollar stores.
Even unconventional hobbies can benefit: "Most if not all of my photography/cinematography props come from the dollar store," said Chris Fish.
Many of our Facebook fans told us that name brands made a big difference on if they would buy something from a dollar store. "Recently, got Colgate toothbrushes ... pretty good deal!" said Noel Burnmeister.
Although Ashley Mitchell warned that she "would never buy clothing at dollars stores because it isn't well made," others said that if you're looking for clothing that won't necessarily last for a long time anyway, it can be a bargain.
Denise Louizos says it's perfect, "Especially for my grandson who grows like a weed."
Even shoes can be a good deal. "$1 flip flops! Love my flip flops!" said Roni Barrow.
Our responders were split about 50/50 on whether they would buy food.
"I do not buy anything that goes in the mouth. No candy, food, toothpaste," said Nichole Kaihara Cloyd.
"Dollar Tree has the most amazing hot sauce and wing sauce made in Louisiana," said Penny Connell.
Dollar stores can make for cheap snacks: "When we go to the movies we always stop to load up on movie candy for a buck," said Samantha Denault.
James Santasania offers this tip: "I check expiration dates through on a lot of the food packages."
We were surprised at the innovative items people could stock up on at dollar stores, from the practical to the humorous.
"You can make a might nice hurricane supply kit for under $20," said Margaret Ferris Kisala.
Lots of people said the greeting cards were a bargain you couldn't pass up.
David Inniss told us, "I really liked getting reading glasses for a buck."
And, finally, Crystal Mastromarino leaves us with this: "Just want to say I tested a pregnancy test from [a] dollar store while pregnant and YES they do work."
To share your best finds at a dollar store, click this link and join the conversation on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/tampabaynews/posts/10150848386890409