Are you hooked on the Dollar Store? If so, you’ve got a lot of company! Dollar stores sell everything from alphabet soup to zebra-print flip-flops and their prices are so low because they get closeouts, leftovers from wholesalers, and products created specifically for discount stores. Know this – even if you’re just spending a dollar, some items are better deals than others. Here are five items you'd be foolish not to buy:

  • Cleaning supplies. Don’t expect to see recognizable brand names. Dollar stores tend to stock private label cleaning products developed just for that market. The only difference: They’re diluted with a little extra water. Carolyn Forte, homecare director for the Good Housekeeping Institute, says they’ll work just fine – unless you have a really difficult cleaning job to tackle.
  • Gift wrap. After all, only kids under the age of two prefer the wrapping paper to the present inside the box.
  • Buy dollar store snacks. They’re cheaper and often the same name brands you’ll find at the grocery store. Look for kids' snacks with long shelf lives, like chips, cookies, and candy.
  • Shampoo. Paula Begoun, author of Don't Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me, says the rumor that expensive shampoo means better shampoo is a joke. Instead, no matter which shampoo you buy, there are only minor differences in ingredients and concentration – not enough to affect how clean your hair gets. DO spend more on conditioner. Begoun says that's one product where price DOES make a difference.
  • Kitchen gadgets and accessories. You'll find normal, everyday standards like measuring cups and can openers – as well as obscure gadgets like melon ballers and egg slicers.