So for the last post on the Budget Savers from the 99 Cent Store, I’m going to be looking at stationary, office, electronics and the miscellaneous that doesn’t really fit into other categories. These can be some of the biggest savers in my mind, especially if you run a home based business and/or have kids in school – school supplies can be way costly!
Deals and Steals
I love buying and sending cards for all occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and more. If you can find one for $1 in grocery stores or gift stores, you are pretty lucky. Most of the time they range between $2.99 to $4.99. I had seen others at similar stores to the 99 Cent Store but they were pretty generic and the selection wasn’t great. When I discovered the 99 Cent Store selection, I was impressed. They are all individually wrapped American’s Greeting cards – normally $2.99 to $4.99 – and they have a wide selection of cards for all occasions and are far more personal feeling. These are a definite steal!
Gift Bags, Gift Tags, Gift Boxes, Bows and Ribbons
Have you bought a bag of bows recently? $5 for generic green, white, blue, and red. Gift Bags? Normally a plain single color costs $2 or more dependent on the size. And good luck finding boxes these days. Stores don’t give them out anymore and they are almost impossible to find at other stores. The quality of the 99 Cent Store is great and so is the selection. At Christmas, they have bow bags. During non-Christmas times they have a large selection of bows that either come in three, double or single large bows and come with curly ribbon. The bags come in a wide variety of sizes and themes, some that match their party supplies as well. They also have a selection of box packages with a variety of sizes. During Christmas, they have a varied selection of tags. So in my book, these are a steal.
If you have ever planned a party, then you know that basic supplies like plates, cups, napkins, silverware and tablecloths add up fast in budget hits. Now add in the extras like favors, balloons, banners, streamers, décor and table toppers. A good chunk of the budget is gone. So head to the 99 Cent Store to save. Again, comparable quality to Party City, their supplies come in solid colors and themes. So these are a deal in my book.
Packaging Tape – The tape I have found at the 99 Cent Store is 3M. So for a $1, good deal.
Envelops – They usually have plain and envelops. Standard and mini sizes as well. I have generally found that envelops are envelops and there is very few differences between them. So these varieties at a $1 for 40 to 50 count boxes are a good deal in my book.
Bubble Wrap – They come in rolls of small sized bubbles and work wonders for packing for moving or for storing other items. At a $1 a roll, good buy.
Padded Envelops – I send lots and lots and lots of orders with my Mary Kay business and sometimes I do not need the flat rate postage envelops because they are too expensive for the order being mailed. The padded bubble wrap envelops come in packages of two and in three sizes. These are way cheap and work for my smaller orders perfectly. Another good deal in my book.
Kids need a lot when they start school from the generic to the specific depending on their grade and their teachers. Even when shopping around for the best deals, these can add up. In fact one of our biggest expenses through out the year is all the financial commitments my son’s school has for him. So saving on school supplies are a big help in keeping them under control. I have found their pencils both traditional and mechanical, pens, poster and foam boards, erasers, rulers, compasses, index cards, loose leaf paper, spiral notebooks, scissors, calculators, and composition notebooks to all be good quality and a definite cost savings. Not all supplies are worth the savings but these are.
Besides the above, I have also found many of their office supplies to be worth the savings. Binder clips, paper clips both big and small, post-it notes (Post it Brand), tabs, reinforcement binder holes to fix torn pages, thumbtacks, push pins, large envelops and highlighters have all proven to be good and inexpensive investments for my office and I would recommend them for any small business or home-based business owner.
If you have an iPhone 5, 4, or 4S or Samsung Galaxy 3 or 4, then for a $1 you can protect your phone. They have a wide variety of cute styles but you can always buy a plain one and craft your own design. I will being doing a post on this later on this year.
Earbuds, Adaptor Plugs, and other I-technology and Cellphone Accessories
So I will say that these are not the super cool earbuds that fit your ears snuggly or a fancy adapter. But if you need something to do the job, then these $1 buys are a great alternative. I’ve been pleased with these and the are worth the cheap buy.
Whether its candy, décor or silly gifts, they have them. Its a good deal either way. They have name brands like M&Ms, Russell Stover and more for candy. They also carry table decors, ornaments, wall décor, etc. that you can decorate your home with on a budget. Definitely a good deal when you are dealing with holidays like Christmas that put a strain on budgets anyways.
I do not have personal knowledge but I have had several people share that their bibs, baby powder, baby shampoo and baby wash are good buys that work just as effectively as Johnson and Johnson.
Coloring Books and Kids Stories
Okay so I will admit there is a little bit of kid in me and occasionally I have been know to still color in coloring books…its relaxing. But my good friend worked in my office and at the time she brought her 3 year old. So we needed to find some entertainment. The coloring books worked well. I also would do “baby” baskets for friends with little ones. These worked well as entertainment for older siblings about to be a big brother or sister. The stories I have seen are classic fairy tales like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and others. A great read to any child. At a $1 a piece definitely a good buy.
So I count these as disposables since kids often destroy toys pretty quickly. Even big kids like my husband can be a little rough on their toys. They can also lose interest in them fast. So these toys work wonderfully without costing you a bundle. They make great stocking stuffers, just because gifts or silly gifts.
In my book a 2014 calendar is a 2014 calendar regardless of whether it costs $10, $5 or $1. So grabbing one at the 99 Cent Store is a great idea and a major steal.
Now I will be the first to admit, the 99 Center Store is no Michael’s. But if you want to save on crafts you are doing, this is definitely a good place to start. I found floral foam of all shapes, fake flowers and greens, spools of wired ribbon, glitters, glue, foam, gems, baskets, foam shapes, and a variety of other craft supplies. As just an example at Michael’s floral foam squares and rectangles can cost $3-5, where you can get the same size at the 99 Cent Store for, well, $0.99. So crafts are a steal in my book.
This is not really a stay away but its not a deal either. You can find some good quality wrapping paper with a lot on the roll for about $5 elsewhere. When you add up the per square foot times the cost, this is about the same as buying the rolls of wrapping paper at the 99 Cent Store. The positives are the variety of papers they have a Christmas time. The rest of the year, they are limited. I have found its a hit or miss with the quality. Some are nice an sturdy while others are flimsy and tear easily. So this one is a personal choice.
Three Ring Binders
As I said, not all office and school supplies are a good deal. Unfortunately, their three-ring binders are one of them. They are flimsy and bend really easily. If your kids are anything like my son, then you will be replacing their binder a lot with this 99 Cent Store purchase. Investing in a sturdy one will save you money in the long run.
CD and DVD packs
If you only need one or two, then $1 for the pack is a good deal. However, there are several places that you can get 30-50 for a reasonable price that equates to less than $0.50 per disc. So for me, this is not necessarily the best deal and I would say pass.
Now, if they have Crayola, then for a $1, that’s a good buy. But generally they carry their generic. I have found these to be too waxy and don’t perform well. They can streak or not impart color. So for me, these are a pass. Usually you can tell if they are going to be too waxy just by looking at them. If they are shiny, odds are they are going to be too waxy. So for me, these are a stay away.
I hope you have enjoyed my series. I truly have found there to be some amazing deals and generally more deals than products to stay away from. It has help my budget amazingly and I believe it can do the same for you. If you missed any of the series, follow the links below.
*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with 99 Cent Store in anyway. I am only a patron who has found that shopping there has aided my budget and I am passing on my experiences and opinion. The statements above are my opinion and my opinion only and is based on my experiences and/or those directly related to me by others. You may find different results or find you do not agree with my opinions.