Going to the 99 Cent Only Stores can seem like a bargain hunter's dream since each item is only $.99.
You can score some great deals on certain items, but just because it is $.99 does not always mean it is a good buy.
Often 99 Cent Only Stores or dollar stores will sell the same products other stores sell, but the packaging is smaller.
You can tell if you are getting a good deal by doing some simple math. Find out what the cost is per ounce.
For example, I stock up on hand sanitizer at the $.99 Only Store. You can buy an 8-ounce bottle for just $.99.
Most of the time the hand sanitizer the 99 Cent Only Stores sell is an off brand. I went Walmart to compare and they sell a 12-ounce bottle of Purell hand sanitizer for $2.87. Divide the cost by ounces and you will discover the 99 Cent Only Stores have the better buy at $.13 per ounce versus Wal-Mart at $.24 per ounce.
Of course Purell is a known brand and often it means it'll cost more money, but either way stocking up on hand sanitizer at the 99 Cent Only Stores is a smart move on your wallet.
How about toothpaste? The 99 Cent Only Stores sell various brand name toothpaste, including Colgate and Crest. I found a 1.9-ounce box of Colgate Total toothpaste at the 99 Cent Only Stores.
At Walmart they had six ounces of Colgate Total toothpaste for $2.87. The better buy in this case is at Walmart.
Break down the cost per ounce and you will find out you'll pay just $.49 per ounce versus $.52 at the 99 Cent Only Stores. It's not a good buy at the 99 Cent Only Stores.
If you need some cotton swabs you will score 1000 of them at the 99 Cent Only Stores. Walmart sells their generic brand for $1.64, but you only get 500. The 99 Cent Only Stores will give you a better deal.
Plus the 99 Cent Only Stores sells pregnancy tests and I know a few folks that have used them and swear they are accurate. So instead of paying $9 to $12 you can get the same results for only $.99.
Items I like to buy at the 99 Cent Only Stores are gift bags which cost $.79 each, except the super large ones will cost $.99.
I also like to buy birthday cards, hand sanitizer, sunscreen and candy that is not seasonal.
The 99 Cent Only Stores also have some good deals on dishes and storage containers, all for $.99.
Just remember, when in doubt, figure out how much you are paying for an item per ounce and that will tell you the real answer.