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In these tough times amid the pandemic and soaring inflation, dollar stores have thrived -- and unsurprisingly so. Who wants to spend $4 on a greeting card when you can score one for just over a buck?
Dollar store aisles are overflowing with stuff screaming "bargain," so it can sometimes be a chore to rummage through the shelves and bins to find that one thing you're looking for -- or something you never expected to stumble upon. You may be strolling trough your local Dollar Tree or Dollar General unaware of all the treasures tucked away throughout its corridors.
"Shopping at stores like Dollar General now means being able to shop branded toys like LEGO sets for around $10 to $20," said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "It might not be the best price, but if you need a last-minute gift that isn't awful, you can't go wrong with a LEGO set."
Real Dinnerware (Not Just Paper and Plastic)
"Do you ever see those gorgeous place settings online and wonder how you can do something similar? Shop at dollar stores, that's how," Ramhold said.
"You can find full collections with great patterns like lemons, florals, simple black and white dashes, pretty colors, and more. You can also mix and match styles if you want, and even pick up chargers to elevate your next dinner party look. At $1.25 for each piece, it's easy to get as little or as much as you want or need, and create an affordable look for all your gatherings, regardless of how many guests you have and what season it is."
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Fresh Cup Paper Coffee Filter Packs
"Dollar Tree sells Fresh Cup Paper Coffee Filter packs containing 150 pieces," said Nunzio Ross, CEO and founder of Majesty Coffee.
"Many people working from home prepare and brew their coffee at home, and it doesn't have to be expensive. These coffee filters are a perfect size and stay upright when you brew your coffee, holding grounds as effectively as brand-name ones. Not only is its quality worth it for the tons of coffee you'll be having in the future, but you can also use them as craft materials."
Nice Picture Frames
"Most dollar stores have a wide range of really great looking picture frames," said Laura Ritterman, founder of Price Match Guarantee. "Although you would never think to look there for this item, many of them are good quality that mimic the look of high quality frames you can find elsewhere [and] you can find an array from the Dollar Tree."
Socks (Both Funky and Basic)
"Socks may not be on your radar for a fashion item, but I like putting together fun and interesting outfits, especially in the winter when you want coverage," said Jodie Filogomo, founder of Jodie's Touch of Style. "While most people match their socks to their ankle boots or their pants, it adds whimsy and fun to throw in a pair of printed socks."
Check out the wide collection of socks at the Dollar Tree. You'll find everything from basic dress socks to socks with funky patterns.
Hair Growth Products and Vitamins
"Dollar General sells hair growth, vitamin C, fish oil, melatonin and more supplements," said Alicia Harper, editor of ProbioticReviewGirl.com. "They are a great deal because of the low cost, quality of ingredients -- and the happy customer reviews prove how well they work."
Be sure to check the expiration dates!
Yes, it's no secret that you can get grocery items at dollar stores, but so many varieties of bread? At Dollar General, as Chloe Choe, owner of Off Hour Hustle pointed out, you most certainly can. Though once again, be sure to check the expiration dates.
One of the quainter and more old-fashioned (but as relevant as ever) items that you can find at the dollar store is shoe polish. Check out Dollar General's snazzy collection here.
"You can get a ton of cheap plastic hula hoops at the dollar store to host the next birthday party for your child," Choe said.
Dollar General has a three-size set so adults can get in on the gyrating fun, too.
"Pregnancy tests can get expensive and can be found at select dollar stores across the country for a fraction of the price," Choe said.
Novelty Phone Charger Cords
Phone accessories are very important, and that includes weird types like these Novelty Type C Charging Cables sold at Dollar General. How cute is the little avocado one?
'Sesame Street' Figurines
You don't need to head to the Sesame Place Shop to snag 'Sesame Street' toys. At Dollar General, you can get these 'Sesame Street' figurines (featuring Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and Abby Cadabby) for $1.25 each.
Most kids today have their hands filled with video game consoles and tablets, but one of the most old school "toys" is still going strong at these discount havens. At Dollar General, you can score a package of original Silly Putty for $1.25.
No purse is complete without a pack of pocket-sized tissues. At Dollar Tree, you can find an array of these, including one with a Disney theme. This packaging features several characters you'll recognize from "The Happiest Place on Earth."
Fun kids' mirrors at big-box retailers like Target and Walmart can get pretty pricey, but at the Dollar Tree, you can scoop up these super unique dinosaur, whale and cloud-shaped mirrors for just $1.25 a pop. Perfect for a child's room -- or for someone just really into the Jurassic era.
Exfoliating Bath Gloves
"A unique find you can pick up at stores like Dollar Tree is exfoliating bath gloves," said Kristin McGrath, shopping expert at BlackFriday.com. "A little different from your typical exfoliator, the April Bath & Shower Exfoliating Bath Gloves can help shoppers turn their bathroom into their own spa. Shoppers can get a case of 24 gloves for $30."
"Character Kites are also something shoppers might not expect to find at Dollar Tree stores," said McGrath. "They make for a perfect summer activity with your kids -- whether at the beach or in the backyard -- and come with your children's favorite movie characters on them. Shoppers can score a case of 24 kites to last for many summers to come for $30."
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 17 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Buy at the Dollar Store