Saturday, May 23, 2009

You do frequent your local 99 Cent Store, don't you?

Well, you should. If you do patronize yours--whether it's the western 99 Cent Only chain or some derivation in another region of the country--then I'm not about to tell you anything you don't know.

But for those of you who previously wrote it off as a repository of cheap plastic crap nobody wants and packaged foods of dubious date and origin, you might want to give it another look.

When you do, you'll find an impressive array of kitchen gadgets, a huge selection of (mostly desirable) canned foods, frozen foods, spices and--believe it or not--tons of fresh produce, eggs and breads. And, as this is the 99 Cent Only store, you can load up your fridge and cabinets without dropping too much coin. See the pic here? That's $25 of randomly selected food that we picked up on an impromptu stop there this week. As you can see, in with the canned food is fresh celery, green onion, romaine lettuce, low-fat Breyer's ice cream, tortillas, sparkling mineral water, low-cal frozen dinners--quite a haul. And a nutritious haul, at that.

You'll even find gourmet goodies there--jars of marinated artichoke hearts, tins of oysters, imported crackers, sun-dried tomatoes--so it's not a bad place to check when you're stocking up to entertain. So promising are their offerings these days, that it's spawned a 99 Cent Only Store Cookbook, filled with recipes using--you guessed it--nutritious meals using ingredients easily found at the store. And the cookbook, in turn, has spawned a blog, where you can get a heads-up on new shipments of especially good stuff, along with occasional recipes.

Still think the 99 Cent Only Store is beneath you? Hey, even NPR covered the only-a-dollar awesomeness recently, and you can listen to it here.

And while the edible goodies at the 99 cent store should be enough to get you in the door, don't forget to check the personal care aisles, too. Toothpaste, shampoo, lotions--all those things that add up so quickly at the drugstore--won't wipe out your pocketbook here, and you may be surprised at the brand names you find on the shelves. With most of us cutting back and watching what we spend a lot more closely these days, it's a relief to be able to walk into a store like this, stock up on everything we need--including fresh, nutritious produce--and spend no more than $20.


  1. Fabulous post! Here in Texas, it's called The Dollar Tree. I love me some Dollar Tree!
    We do a lot of corporate pool parties during the summer and we buy all the prizes for the guests from there! Also, I always use the Dollar Store for wrapping paper and cards- as those are the same items you'd get in other stores- they're just over stocks.
    I always get my toothpaste and lotion from there too!
    As a business (es) owner- I am ALL about the bottom line!

  2. Great suggestion about the party supplies--I've noticed ours carries some really great seasonal stuff (especially throw away and unbreakable plastic dishes)!

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing this Robin!