What to buy, skip at dollar stores

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Dollar store deals or duds? How do you spot them? Regina Novickis with PromotionalCodes.com explains what's worth buying at dollar stored and what's worth skipping.

Shopping tips:
Make a list and stick to it.
Order online.
Be mindful of expiration dates and safety labels.
Know that not every product costs just a dollar.

Things to buy:
Spices. Will cost $1 or less at dollar stores while at Target you would be spending about $28 for a 16-jar spice rack, making that about $1.75 per spice. Do make sure to check expiration dates.

Greeting cards, party supplies, gift wrap, etc.  Of course you want your gift to look nice, but there's no need to spend more on wrapping than the gift itself. Expect to find a good assortment of gift wrapping and party supplies that are similar in quality to what can be found at Wal-Mart or your local party supply store.

Shampoo. There is huge savings potential in this area alone. You will most times find brands like L'Oreal for just $1 compared to $3-$6 at other stores. According to Consumer Reports, spending money on expensive shampoos does not improve hair quality. The only noticeable difference is in the richer smell of the more expensive brands compared to cheap brands. Save money by buying the less expensive shampoos and spend money on a good conditioner (which will actually make a difference on your hair).

Things to skip:
Paper products (paper towels, plates, etc.).  These are cheaper at big box stores when on sale, especially when buying in bulk, plus the quality and absorbency is cheaper in quality at dollar stores.

Batteries. It is better to spend a little extra for quality and safety. Cheaper batteries are made with Carbon Zinc, which leak, lasting a shorter time and put electronics at risk of being damaged. Ultimately more money will be spent having to replace cheaper batteries more often and any damaged electronics.

Electrical Appliances. Beware of electrical products without UL labels or with fake ones, vouching for their safety. Undersized wiring or other substandard components can overheat and cause a fire.

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