I go at Christmas time to buy contents for the Christmas stockings we donate to Loaves and Fishes. You can get everything on the list (except McDonalds coupons), including the Christmas stocking itself for a dollar or less. Last year I also shopped there for our adopted family's Christmas stockings. They had personalized ones (iron on which worked surprisingly well) that were 2 for a dollar. They also have good deals on sidewalk chalk. The 6 packs of sidewalk chalk are great in lieu of gift bags for bday parties. And I've also found theme ones for stocking stuffers (princess, winnie the pooh)I also like Target's dollar spot for same reasons. And last week I bought three mesh bags for $1 each in the dollar spot! (one for sand toys, one for m's soccer stuff, one for A's soccer stuff)
I hate junky stuff but still love the Dollar Tree. It helps that it is only a few blocks away from my house! They have great stuff for b-day parties-- plates, invitations, and some not-too-junky gift bag stuff, and I love paying only $1 for greeting cards that will get tossed soon after being opened. I also buy craft supplies, prize box items and even "eduational" items like ABC magnet letters, all for school. They have fun summer toys, too. $1 Mylar balloons are also good deals.
Hi there, Jody from Gilroy pointed me to your blog :). I frequent 99 cent/dollar stores for lots of different things, for example: -- Kids' stuff: coloring books, bubble solution, sidewalk chaulk, flash cards, hair accessories, sand toys. -- Target's dollar bins are my favorite for similar things, esp. temporary tattoes, stickers, craft stuff (paper, ribbon, blank cards). -- Dollar Tree for party supplies such as plastic utensils and plastic table covers. -- I'm not a teacher but Dollar Tree recently had cool classroom decorations that I bought for our playroom to help my preschooler learn some basics: a laminated map of the U.S., a laminated poster of numbers and letters. -- You can also find those last-minute basic household things there that would cost more at your neighborhood CVS or Rite-Aid: mailing supplies, aluminum roasting pans that are perfect for toting potluck items, clothesline for stringing up pinatas :).-- Holiday stuff. You may be surprised what these stores have in holiday decor or even gifts. At Halloween, I found a witch's hat, fairy wings. At Easter, I found supplies for Easter baskets. At Christmas, I found window clings featuring our favorite Disney princesses. It all depends on the store, too. Around here at least, Dollar Store tends to be more consistent with its stock. I know I find party supplies there. 99 Cent Store is more of a wild card -- you really don't know what you can find. I stay away from certain things, like food of unknown brands or too many toy items b/c of choking hazards and lead issues. And, for some things, you get what you pay for. Overall, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!