Which items are best deal at the Dollar Store?

Report by John Matarese
Posted by LS

(WTOL) - The credit crisis has many of us cutting back on our purchases to the point where stores are now suffering.

There's one type of store doing better than ever in these tough times: dollar stores. There, your dollar goes a long way.

Before heading over, you may want to know the best things to buy -- and not to buy -- from your local dollar store.

Consumer Reports and SmartMoney magazine both say shopping dollar stores is smart if you know what to buy, and what to avoid.

Smart Money's List of best deals

1. Cleaning supplies

2. Gift wrap and party supplies

3. Name brand snacks such as Lay's potato chips

4. Shampoo

5. Kitchen accessories

Consumer Reports worst items to buy at a dollar store

  • vitamins, which can be poorly made
  • electrical products, especially no name extension cords
  • off brand toys: they can contain sharp points and lead paint
  • vinyl lunch boxes, which may contain lead

One more caution: Consumer Reports says be wary of look-a-like brands at some dollar stores that look like major brands with a slightly different name.

But if you stick to the basics and the name brands, a dollar store can be your best friend in these tough times. So you don't waste your money.