Friday, October 4, 2013

Dollar Stores: What I buy!

I love the dollar stores. I keep finding new items that save money. You have to know your prices though.  Some items are smaller packages and end up costing more per ounce.  I've found that on a small budget it helps provide variety. For instance, my local dollar store offers a long sausage for $1. It's not enough for a dinner meal but makes a nice addition to a pot of soup. It would cost me close to $4-5 dollars to buy a package.  I don't need that much sausage this month so a small amount will add some variety to our lunches without costing a lot.

My son-in-love put up a new antenna on our roof.
Here are a few things I buy at my local dollar store.
  • Fabric Softener ( I only use it for my towels and use half the recommendation). 
  • Flax seed (I grind them at home)
  • Shampoo
  • Sensitive toothpaste
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Peanuts in indiv. serving packets
  • Coconut milk
  • Chorizo
  • Fake cheese (I can't eat dairy)
  • Bologna
  • Candy (grandkiddos)
  • Birthday cards (2/ $1)
  • Computer paper
  • Solar lights
  • Feminine products
  • Baby wipes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pens
  • Index cards (recipes, scripture memorization cards)
  • Orange and almond extract
  • Hot sauce
  • Eye glasses for reading
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dill relish
  • Seran wrap, tinfoil
  • Freezer and sandwich bags (I only buy these when I run out of bags I've reused)
  • Paper towels (only used to clean pans with grease)
  • Turkey bacon
  • Fajita frozen veggies
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pork rinds
  • Pepperoni (LC pizza for lunch)
  • Farmer John Maple Sausage
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Spices
  • Minced or whole garlic in a jar
  • Smoked sausage (for soups)
  • Gum
  • Gift wrap and bags
  • Padded envelopes
  • Packaging tape
Here are a few things I did to stretch our budget this week:

1. Mended socks and a shirt. I put them in a mending basket by my chair.  I used to get on my laptop in the evenings but then I wasted so much time. Now, I set aside the first hour to crochet or mend. I'm really getting a lot done.

2. The stevia has been drying in my garage and it's nice and dry. I put newspapers down on my kitchen table and stripped the leaves from the stem. I probably have around 2 1/2 cups of leaves. I'm going to try grinding it first to see if I can  use the powder in recipes. If not then I'll  make a tincture. If we like it then I hope to buy some seeds to plant next spring.

3.  I tried a new recipe and we liked it.  It's an inexpensive meal, too.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder,  1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt,  1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1.5 pound cabbage ( used a bag of Coleslaw)
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Splenda, liquid equivalent (I used Erythritol)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper, crushed (optional)
  1. In a large frying pan, brown ground beef. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Remove ground beef from pan, and set aside. Leave oil in the pan.
  2. Add garlic, sesame oil, and cabbage to pan. Cook until cabbage begins to brown.
Add soy sauce, Frank’s, apple cider vinegar, sucralose, and red pepper to frying pan. Return ground beef to pan, and heat for two minutes.
4.   I saved my receipts and posted them in my Price Book.  Prices are changing so fast that I lose track of the price on items I don't buy often.

My grandkiddos love to climb our trees

5.  I pulled up the solar lights in the yard to store away for winter.

6. I made another batch of Spicy Tomato Sauce.  I love this marinara sauce. I can eat it straight from the pot. I throw it in soups and spaghetti sauce. I also like it on my eggs for breakfast. I think I made about 5 batches this summer with our fresh tomatoes.

7. I had enough green beans left in the garden to pressure can 4 jars. I also pressure canned the Spicy Tomato Sauce.

8.  The garlic chives were harvested.  The seeds were saved for next year's planting and I froze the garlic chives. I'll throw them in soups or put them in our eggs. I'll be cutting the last of the oregano this weekend to dry. I also picked some Poblano peppers and made Chile Rellenos. I found an easy way to get the skin off the peppers. I broil them and then wrap them in a wet towel and place in a plastic bag.  The peel comes off easy once the pepper is cool. I've also been throwing some of our hot peppers in my soups and chili.

9. Broccoli has been planted for a fall crop. Beet and sweet pea seeds went into the ground this week, too.

10. Things I didn't throw away this week:
  • Computer paper. One side was used. I flipped it over and put it back in the printer to use the other side. 
  • Carrot peels: (froze it for a batch of homemade dog food)
  • Left over cauliflower: Hubby was tired of it so I disguised it in scrambled eggs.
  • Strings from tea bags  (tie up plants)
  • Egg shells, vegetable peelings, tea bags (composting)
  • Cardboard (T.P. rolls, paper towel rolls) (composting) 
  • Margarine tubs (reused for leftovers) 
  • Banana peels (Buried them next to the rose bushes for fertilizer)
  • Coleslaw bag: washed and reused. 
  • Empty toilet paper roll ( I had leftover binding from a quilt so I rolled it around the roll and used a rubber band to hold it in place)
  • Rubber band from free newspaper thrown weekly in my yard. I haven't had to buy rubber bands for years because I save any that come through my door. 
  • Old jeans (cut up to make a quilt)
I'm trying to get an hour of sewing in daily! I'm working on a Christmas gift and also taking in some clothes. 

So what did you do this week? Do you see anything I missed on my Dollar Store list that you purchase?


  1. I will need to re-read that. :)
    Already forgetting it-- my brain is so cluttered.

    Anyhow I get mailing supplies at the dollar store-- the padded envelopes & packing tape and tissue paper.

    I also get my detergent there.

    Little gifts for grandkids, sometimes a plastic container. :)

    there's more, but that's what comes to mind.

    How am I saving $?
    This week--well I'm staying home pretty much-- lent my jeep to daughter cuz her's is broken down. So--if I don't go anyplace I can't spend too much.

    I am fresh out of things to share at the moment. :)

    1. I forgot about the tissue paper, packing tape and envelopes. I've purchased those, too! Along with gift bags and gift wrapping paper. Thanks for the reminder. I'll add it to my list. :-)

      Hope you're feeling okay today Mary!

  2. Well done! I love the dollar store too.

  3. I love that you are just attaching your receipts into your price book, because prices are changing so rapidly. (Well, I don't love that it means prices are going up that much. I just love how you put that.) I see prices going up here, a lot, too.

    1. I don't imagine that prices will be going down anytime soon! I keep looking at my grocery list to see what I can do without. I realized I can live without mouthwash. :-)

  4. I haven't been to the dollar store for some time now. I find it is just an opportunity for me to spend more money. I get carried away because things aren't so expensive. I tend to go in there for only things I can't get somewhere else. This week I tried to get a plastic "thermal" coffee cup there but they didn't have one. I'm guessing that your dollar stores probably carry a lot more than many of the ones around me. Where my mom lives, they also have better dollar stores.

    Kudos to you for setting aside an hour a day for sewing and mending. It really helps the budget and the clothing. It is also a bit relaxing :-)

    1. I do enjoy sewing! I love to create! Sometimes I'll listen to teaching tapes or sermons on my IPOD while I'm sewing. That's fun, too! :-)

  5. I hope your antenna works for you. We cut the cable cord in 2009 and now watch local channels with the antenna and just about anything else we can watch on demand streaming with our wireless internet through the Roku box.
    We still have our internet through the cable company but our bill is much smaller and we like that.
    If anyone is a sports fanatic, this option for tv probably won't work though.

    My big money saver this week was making some sugar scrub with coconut oil- it works the same but is so much cheaper than the kind I had been buying at bath and body works.

    1. The coconut sugar scrub sounds wonderful!

      There is a good chance we'll be dropping cable in June when our contract is up. Husband will decide but that was the last thing he mentioned. :-)

  6. My wife and I use an indoor antenna exclusively and love it. We sure love NOT paying lots of money to the satellite company.
    You might try this instead of fabric softener: white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser and two pieces of aluminum foil loosely wadded up (about the size of a tennis ball each) tossed into the dryer. I did not believe it would work when I read about it, but it works great! No static electricity, no waxy buildup on the clothes/towels, and lots more money in the pockets.
    Jeff in OK

    1. Thanks Jeff! We have a roof antenna that works great. I do use white vinegar sometimes but need the smell of the fabric softener on my towels. We lived in the country where the water was horrible and left an odd smell in my towels. The vinegar didn't help with it but the fabric softener does. I know the vinegar is a lot better for a person in the long run. :-)

  7. I also like to purchase plastic storage bins/containers for organizing at the dollar store as well as gift wrapping supplies & greeting cards. I think it's important that we remember to check things at other stores too, and not take for granted that things will naturally be cheaper at the dollar store. My grandmother asked me to pick her up some toothpaste, baby wipes, and a couple other items at the dollar store last week. I found all of those things cheaper at WalMart. The dollar store wipes were 40 count, same as WM, but they were 78 cents at WM and better quality. Toothpaste was 83 cents at WM. And in response to previous comment about the vinegar, I began using white vinegar in my fabric softener dispenser on my washer a couple of years ago. Love how good it works and how much money I save!

    1. The storage bins are great! You're right about knowing your prices! I have found items cheaper on sale at other stores. Has your grandmother ever checked out the baby wipes? You get 100 for $1.

  8. I get the sausage at the dollar store, too ... same brand as in the supermarkets! Love your "what I didn't throw away" list!

  9. I buy the boxes of flavored tea. Brand name and yes half the amounts regular ones at the regular stores...but exactly half and so I can get two flavors for that price. I have found many good books there too for me or presents...and seeds. I also get parmesan cheese there...the real stuff. They also carry a fake one.I have also used vinegar for softener for years and even during the Santa Anna winds my things are soft and static free. I am in S. Calif. where it is blowing hard right now. I am redoing my flower containers using things I have here already to do it. I recovered the patio pillows and such with material leftovers. Our patio and yards are just an extension of the house. Here with the weather so nice all year we try to keep it pretty all the time. Sarah

    1. I was so sad when our Dollar Tree stopped selling Earl Grey Tea. :( I've also found some good books that I've given for gifts. Oh, and seeds! Yes, I did buy some of those this year, too. I bet your patio and yard are lovely! Thanks for sharing Sarah!

  10. I buy their awesome cleaning supplies and they really are, greeting cards, napkins, short sneaker socks, and you never know when you will find a real deal. Found brand name ketchup at the Dollar Tree, as well as the other stuff that I mentioned.

    1. Really? I've seen the Awesome cleaning supplies but didn't know how they worked. I'm trying to make most of my cleaning supplies these days to save money but it's good to have a back up plan. :-) That's pretty amazing you found a brand name ketchup at your D.T.

  11. I don't go to Dollar tree or other dollar stores very much. I spend way to much if I'm not careful. I love how you re-use so many things. I look at our trash and think, look at all this! But so much of it I honestly can't find a use for. I do not garden, so I don't compost.

    I do most of our shopping at Save a Lot. Surprisingly, the wheat bread that I buy went from $1.48 a loaf down to $1.08! I noticed something else had also gone down, can't remember what at the moment. Just seems like meat is so expensive. So we mostly eat chicken and ground turkey.

    1. I have to really stick with my list when I shop at the dollar stores. You're right! It's so tempting. :-)

      I wish we had a Save a Lot nearby. I've never heard of them.

  12. Takes lots of time to be this frugal and inventive. Admire you.

    1. How does that saying go? Necessity is the mother of all inventions? Not sure I quoted that right! :-)

  13. such a pretty vine with the white flowers! is that autumn clematis? I have some here, just wondered--looks very striking for the short time it blooms. then it has a kind of interest seed head.

    thought of you as I was trying to save money this week. My laptop battery is about done. I priced new ones-- $60+ at a store, Saw one for $30 on ebay--but I went and got my old broken laptop and checked--and sure enough the battery is the same. So hopefully this will give me more time.

    i was trying to replace the pan in my breadmaker as it has a lot of scratches and the bread sticks in it. All I could find were more $ than I spent on the whole breadmaker. :( So... I'm thinking of baking it in the oven--but I really don't use my oven much--so I think if I put bread in it- I will fill it with several other things at the same time, and just freeze it in portions.

    I get my car back in the morning, daughter got hers fixed finally. :) I think I will stop at the dollar store. Also think i want to make some laundry pre-treat stuff for Hubby to take home next time he comes. I just ordered him new shirts and want to make sure they stay nice they're so spendy. If I can get him 5 more, I will ask him to just bring them home when he comes and let me wash them.

    I love that you write this blog. Did you know that most people believe they will be in the workforce til they are 65 and yet 41% have sudden retirements before they think they will. Besides losing a job or 'age-ism' there are physical health problems that are unpredictable, economy situations, and loss of cognitive ability.

    It is so wonderful to read what it is possible to do if one is determined to save money and to be content with what God provides--no matter what it is.

    Thanks for being a good example. :)

    1. forgot to mention another big reason people are out of the work force-- taking care of a spouse or family member who is ill or disabled. My Dad was just about my age when he had to retire due to brain cancer-and my mom stayed home with him until he died. She then went back to work but had an accident and could not work for nearly another year. Finally she was still working when she just began to fall apart physically and emotionally and then passed away--so she never really 'retired' just could not work. I think it would behoove all of us to learn how to live on a bare bones income cuz we do not ever know if we may have to.

    2. Did I tell you that I use my breadmakers just for the dough cycle and then bake my bread in the oven? I used to use the dough cycle to make tortillas and pizza crust, too. Great that you found another battery. I always love finding something to use that is already in my 'hands'. :-) Yes, it's very true about knowing what the future may hold regarding retirement. We 'thought' we had our retirement figured out. We had a rental that was supposed to be paid off by the time we retired and we would use the rent for additional income. Then the recession hit, our business folded and the rental dropped in value lower than what we owed on it. We lost all our equity. You know the rest of the story. But, here we are.. living on 1/4 of what we used to ... and God is STILL providing for us .. daily and faithfully! I've been thinking about the flip side of the coin (in my opinion) and I also want to live with less so that we can share with others.

  14. *I liked the Dollar Store list. I could be more intentional about shopping Dollar Store (or equivalent).
    *I'm going to use OUR banana peels on the roses this week. Thanks for THAT tip.
    *And using first hour of evening for projects instead of checking email/facebook/ that's something I could do, too!
    *I'm planning this week's menus around items I purchased at the Buy 10 for $10/Get the 11th Free sale. Good selections this week :)

  15. I asked my daughter to start saving her egg shells for me. I want to use them to feed my orchids and violets. I give them fish fertilizer but I think they need a little variety.

    I think I will print out that dollar store list too--cuz I really hadn't thought of many of those things.

    I got my grand daughter's birthday presents at dollar store-- her bday is in september and all the back to school things were there so I got her some flash cards & puzzles for pre schoolers. She loved them.

  16. I buy generic meds at Family Dollar: acetaminophen 500 mg (cf. Extra-Strength Tylenol), loratidine 10 mg (cf. Claritin), and loperamide hydrochloride 2 mg (cf. Imodium A-D). I suffer from allergies and IBS, so the savings here are a big help to me. No problems over the 4-5 years I have been doing this.


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