Monday, May 6, 2013

Mommy Monday: What Not To Buy at the Dollar Store-Part 2:Baby and Toys

What Not To Buy at the Dollar Store-Part 2:Baby and Toys
Welcome back to another Week of 
Where I share with you my experience with products at the dollar store.
There are some definite things to snag and a some items to pass.
Today we will be strolling the baby aisle and taking a peek at some toys that are worth picking up, and some that are worth passing on.
Pregnancy Tests-Snag it
It's worth mentioning again that the Dollar Store has really accurate pregnancy tests
Several of my readers have told me they saved a lot of money buying these tests
They really are more accurate than some of the brand name tests you can pick up for $15 a piece.
Don't believe me?
Compare them with other brands here
Baby Blankets:Pass
These blankets are made of a very lightweight fleece and are really very small.
They just feel cheap.
Take a 40% off coupon to Joann's and buy a yard of fleece there,
or when my kids were little I could pick up like new blankets at garage sales for $1

Baby clothing:Pass
My dollar store has a whole section with onesies and dresses.
They are so cheap and flimsy and not made of good quality materials
I know our children's consignment shop resells baby onesies that are much heavier and nicer for $1 each
Baby clothes are such a great deal at garage sales or at a thrift shop.
You can pick up such great quality and not spend that much money.
So don't waste your money on these.

Brand name socks: Snag it
I found several 2 packs of Fruit of the Loom socks hanging at our store.
They felt thick and are comparable to what you would buy at a department store.
If you can look past some of the colors that probably don't match anything in anybody's wardrobe,
these are a great buy for little feet.

Mens socks: Pass
Just down the aisle are men's socks.
You can feel the difference in quality.
These wouldn't hold up.
Skip 'em.

Scarves: Pass
Scarves are still very much in style and it seems like you can find them everywhere.
However, pass on these.  
They are so thin.
See them hanging there like little limp noodles.
So not worth it.

Brand name t-shirts: Snag it
Sometimes our store carries brand name t-shirts
The sizes are hard to come by (mostly large kids sizes), but sometimes you get lucky
And if you are making t-shirts for an event, you might get lucky and find them here.

Diaper cream: Snag it
My babies are long past the diaper stage 

Spray on Detangler: Snag it
I have a daughter who either has a sensitive head or just likes to scream so loud that the authorities become aware that she's being groomed.
Either way, this stuff seems to help her brush out her hair without too much tugging (and screaming).

Combination Lock-Snag it
When school started this year, my oldest son in middle school needed a lock for his gym locker.
I had no idea the Dollar Store had them.
I ended up spending $7 for a lock when I could have bought the same thing here.
My youngest son loves locks, so anytime he has a dollar to spend, he will buy one.
We have about five or six of these locks and they work great.

Kids purses and backpacks: Pass
I have no idea what this particular fabric is but it is nasty.
There is an aisle that is filled with cheaply made purses and backpacks that is worth passing over.
If you aren't sensing a trend yet, you really should pass on anything that is "fabric" at the dollar store.

Before I get started talking about toys, let me just tell you what my criteria is for a "good" buy for a toy at The Dollar store.
You always have to go into buying toys at the Dollar store with the intention that the toys aren't made to last.
My kids love to spend their chore money at the dollar store and sometimes the toy they buy doesn't even last until we leave the parking lot.

I rarely buy a toy for my kids that isn't going to get played with for at least a dollars worth.
I know a toy is a snag it if the kids are able to play with it and stay occupied with it for more than a half an hour.  Sometimes we get lucky and the toy lasts for several hours worth of play.
The toys also have to not frustrate them when they use it.
Some toys just aren't made well, so they need a lot of adult help getting them to work at all, not to mention to just work properly.
So with that in mind, lets get started down the toy aisle.
Board Games:Pass
This nicest thing about this game is the box.
The game board is made of cereal box cardboard that doesn't lay flat
and the pieces are cheap and don't stack.
I find board games at garage sales for $1 a piece and there is no comparison.
Stay away from board games at the dollar store.

Glow Sticks: Snag -it up
If you have kids, at some point in time they have had a glow stick.
These are a great buy for anytime of the year.
But particularly if you are camping, going to a concert or on Halloween
Kids think they are having fun with glow sticks but for parents it's like a lighted collar on your children (without getting CPS involved), even in the dark.  
It's a win win!

Puzzles-Snag it (cautiously)
I give my snag it seal of approval on puzzles, but only on puzzles under 150 pieces.
There are many big name character puzzles that would cost you much more at the regular store.
I found that anything more than 150 pieces gets flimsy. 
So stay away from the 500 piece puzzles.
Also, the board puzzles made for toddlers should be avoided.
The pieces just don't fit together well and are just plain frustrating.
If it's made by a big name company like Marvel or Disney, snag it, it will make for hours of fun

Magic Kits: Pass
My boys have tried on more than one occasion to buy their magic kits
They are cheap and rarely end up working
Don't waste your money

Fake Mustache: Snag it
If you didn't notice, mustaches are all the rage now.
I could have used these when I made the kids valentines

Kids books: Snag it
I love our library
It's such a great free resource when you have kids.
When I do buy books for the kids, I usually pick them up for a quarter at garage sales, but some of you love the books and the selection at the Dollar store.

Kids Workbooks: Snag it
When the kids are little, they like to test out their skills and do worksheets
I bought these to occupy my 6 year old when he sits with us in church

Fuzzy coloring posters: Snag it
I really like these fuzzy posters because
a) kids can't really color outside of the lines
b) they are so much cheaper at the dollar store than at regular stores
c) they provide hours of fun if you have a kid who likes to color

The markers that come with the posters are another issue all together though.
I usually bring one of these posters along with us on a long plane ride,
but I always pack Crayola markers for the kids to use with them.

Stickers: Snag it
Talk about a lot of bang for your buck!
1000 stickers for only $1!  
Sometimes they are hard to get off of the page if you have a very young child
but they are great for pre-schoolers on up and kids will spend hours making up scenes with the stickers.

Balloons: Snag it
My kids love balloons.
These are great for anything from playing balloon volleyball
to making water balloons with.

More balloons: Snag it
These are a new item that I thought I would try.
The pump broke in about 2 seconds of use, but the kit still had 25 balloons with it that provided about 2 hours worth of sibling play time.
The younger kids made snakes, eels, and swords and tried their hand at making puppy dogs and candles too.
They are on their way to some real skills in balloon making.

Glitter Glue: Snag it
Tales of a Trophy WIfe said she buys the glitter glue. 
It's great for projects with kids who want a little sparkle without having the mess of glitter.
Cuz as my husband says, glitter is the herpes of the craft world.

Gazz-it: Snag it
I'm not quite sure how to describe this stuff, but I bought it for my kids to take with them on a plane trip and both of them loved it for several hours.
It molds like play doh, but doesn't get hard.
It's compact, not messy and easy to travel with.
The perfect distraction for long plane or car rides

Beach Pail: Snag it
We live by the beach and spend a lot of our summer there
These buckets are great for hauling shells and sand dollars
but also for digging and making sand castles
I also use them when I am weeding around the yard.

Kites: Pass
Our old neighbor used to buy these by the dozen and never once did we get them to fly in the sky
They take time to put together and once they are together, they are so cheap that they just fall apart the moment they touch the ground.
And they rarely fly.  Such a disappointment

Pool Floats: Snag it
I buy these when I see them and store them away for beach vacations
You have to be mindful of the dimensions but for $1, they are worth packing and hauling with you to your resort and when you are ready to leave, you just leave them there.
If you were to pick this up in the lobby of your hotel it would set you back at least $15!
This particular size is great for wave riding
Nothing says relaxation on vacation like floating like a pool princess

Swim Goggles: Snag it
These big name goggles will set you back at least $10 at the department store
Little kids love the characters on them and they hold up until your child loses them
which, lets be honest, doesn't take long.

Bubble play set: Pass
In my original post I talked about how I stock up on bubbles at the dollar store.
These bubbles however, should be passed up.
They are frustrating to use and never make shaped bubbles
and the bottle of bubbles that comes with the package is so small.
Buy the large pack of bubbles and stay away from these smaller prepackaged sets.

Batteries: Snag it
Kids toys use a lot of batteries.  
While you can expect that these batteries won't last as long as the big name brands, you are paying so much less for them, so I think it's worth it in the end.
That is, if you are using them for kids toys.
There are lots of conflicting reports and studies done on "cheap" batteries, but we use them quite often and find that it's nice to have something on hand if a toy runs out of batteries, than nothing on hand.

So what do you think.
Are these baby and kids items things you have experience with?
Did I miss anything?

Come back next week to take a stroll down the personal and food aisles.
You will be surprised what items are snag its and which ones are a pass!

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