It’s commonly said that a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to. Even some of the businesses dubbed “dollar stores” now sell pricier items. Even McDonald’s Dollar Menu is called the “$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu.”
And have you priced “penny candy” lately? You’re going to need more than one copper-colored Abraham Lincoln coin to satiate your sweet tooth.
While that may be true, it’s surprising and somewhat comforting that there are still plenty of things 100 pennies can buy. From greeting cards to music, you can still do a little shopping without breaking the bank.
Here’s a look at just a few items that can be purchased for just one George Washington. A couple of these things cost even less.
1. Holiday decor and party favors
The current name means that not every item is $1, but you can still find plenty. It’s especially good for holiday and seasonal decorative items and small toys that make perfect kids’ party favors.
Don’t live near a Target? Check your local dollar store for “25 Holiday Items You Should Buy at a Dollar Store.”
2. Greeting cards
You can surely find dollar-priced greeting cards at dollar stores, but you might be surprised to learn that there’s another place to get them.
Trader Joe’s, the trendy grocery store chain, offers artist-designed greeting cards for just $0.99.
3. E-books for Amazon Kindle
You don’t actually need a Kindle e-reader to read Kindle e-books from Amazon. You can download the free Kindle app and read them on your smartphone or computer, as we detail in “This Trick Lets You Read E-Books Without an E-Reader.”
Once you’ve done that, you can buy all kinds of Kindle books. But if you want to stick to our one-dollar challenge, check out the ever-changing selection of 99-cent books (many are free), from thrillers to romances to science fiction.
4. Scratch-off lottery ticket
What’s the price to dream? Some lottery tickets have gotten complicated and pricey: You may be required to scratch off spaces in a crossword-puzzle format, or try to match numbers while following a maze. And scratch-offs can cost as much as $10.
But if you look — and options vary by state — you can still find the $1 scratchers. Here’s hoping you’ll win big.
5. Four months of Amazon Music Unlimited
If inexpensive music hits the right note with you, check out this deal from Amazon Music Unlimited, a streaming music service from online behemoth Amazon: For just $0.99 you can try out the service for four months — as opposed to paying the usual price of at least $7.99 for one month.
Sign up quickly, because the offer expires on Jan. 6.
6. Makeup brushes
The Wet n Wild brand offers some of the most inexpensive makeup products around, and is available at various chains, including Walgreens and Target. Some of the items cost a few bucks or more, but at some stores, you can always find a couple of Wet n Wild products that sell for $0.99.
7. McDonald’s food
Popular fast-food chain McDonald’s has switched up its dollar menu, making it a “$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu,” but you can still find plenty of good eating for just a buck an item.
The exact offerings vary by location, but they may include soft drinks, small sandwiches and sausage burritos.
8. Taco Bell food
Mexican fast-food chain Taco Bell has long been known for its low prices and late-night hours.
Order from the restaurant’s Value Menu if you want to stick to the $1 offerings. Items may include triple-layer nachos, cheesy bean-and-rice burritos and cinnamon twists.
It can be tough to start your commute without a hot cup of coffee riding shotgun. 7-Eleven is offering any size and any flavor of hot coffee for just $1 until Dec. 31. If you’re in a holiday mood, the chain’s new gingerbread latte might appeal to you.
One catch: You’ll need to download the free 7-Eleven app.
10. Mobile games and apps
There are 99-cent games and apps aplenty at Apple’s App Store.
Do note, though, that some of these bargain apps will shower you in ads or tempt you with in-app purchases. But, for less than a dollar, you can take a chance and see what you think.
11. Razor blades
Dollar Shave Club has “dollar” right in the name. But right now it’s selling blades for slightly less than $1 apiece, proving that shaving doesn’t have to be expensive.
The least-expensive plan (“The Humble Twin”) includes five stainless-steel twin-blade cartridges for $4 a month. A reusable handle is free in the first month’s box. That’s a sharp deal.
12. Four movies from Disney Movie Club
Yes, you’ve seen a lot of headlines lately about Disney Plus, the new streaming service from the House of the Mouse.
But for those who prefer physical movies, you can join the Disney Movie Club to receive four Disney films (DVD or Blu-ray) for $1 total. (The fine print: you’ll have to agree to buy five more movies at the regular price.)
13. Dorm or first-apartment essentials
Next time you’re helping a friend or relative move into their first place, take a detour to a dollar store to load up on necessities.
On a recent trip there, we found everything from cleaning supplies (Ajax, rubber gloves) and light bulbs to shower caddies and food-storage containers. Perfect for setting up a new home.
Don’t expect Crown Jewels quality, but if you’re looking for super-inexpensive jewelry, you can find it at Wish.com.
The online retailer has a whole section of dollar-priced items, and a lot of them are jewelry: first-initial pendants, crucifix necklaces, faux-gemstone rings and more.
15. Sample stickers
You can scoop up a sample pack of sticky goodies for just a dollar at Sticker Mule, a custom sticker company.
The pack doesn’t just include stickers. It also has magnets, labels and a transfer sticker as well.
16. Baking ingredients
Have some baking to do? Dollar stores are great places to stock up on pantry staples you can use to bake cookies, cakes and pies for party guests. We spotted a variety of spices, flour, cupcake baking cups, cornstarch, Stevia sweetener and more, all for $1 apiece.
17. School supplies
School’s already in full swing, but if you know of a student — or teacher — who needs to restock their supplies, check out Office Depot.
Clearance items come and go, but we recently spotted notebooks for $1 each, school glue for $0.92 and a crayon storage box for $1.
18. Coin purses
Need a small coin purse to carry change, emergency Band-Aids or any number of small items? Search for “Toraway wallet” on Amazon, using the “sort” menu in the upper right of the page to arrange results from lowest-to-highest-priced.
There you’ll find several handy options, decorated with, for example, elephants, vintage-style floral designs or polka dots. Though many are $0.99, some sell for even less. Remember, though: shipping adds a couple of bucks.
These are a neat reminder of what Grandma used to take her coins to the neighborhood garage sale.
Few things are worse than an itch you just can’t scratch. Amazon sells a telescoping back scratcher for a whopping $0.89 (shipping extra) so you can finally soothe that annoying spot between your shoulder blades.
Don’t want to fork over for shipping? Check your local Dollar Tree or 99-cent store and look in the bath accessory section.
20. Baby items
Is a new baby coming into your life? Sure, you probably want to spend more than $1 on your main baby-shower gift, but you can add in some inexpensive extras to help get the new parents off to a pampered start.
Dollar store offerings will vary, but look for such goodies as Disney rattles, gel teething toys, bibs and booties, each for $1.
21. Pet toys
Don’t forget Fluffy and Fido when you’re out shopping.
Pet stores have a variety of cat and dog toys for $1 or under, especially if you look for discounted items.
22. Wedding supplies
You can easily spend thousands on a luxe wedding, but the knot will be tied just as solidly if you keep the cash for your honeymoon or a home down payment.
Oriental Trading, a party and crafts supplier, has a selection of wedding supplies for $1 or even less. Some of the clearance items we spotted: elegant cellophane bags for favors, colorful chair decorations and a “Just Married” banner to deck out the newlyweds’ car.
With so many online publications trying to lure readers, print magazines are willing to cut some amazing deals. For example, Amazon offers a variety of magazine subscriptions for $1 or less per issue.
For more options, check out “4 Ways to Read Magazines for Free or Cheap.”
24. Movie-themed cups
Got a bunch of thirsty kids in your house, and don’t feel like trusting them with your Waterford crystal? At Party City, we found colorful plastic cups themed to recent movies for as little as $0.49 each.
These movies have probably moved on from the theaters, but with home video and streaming, they may still be starring in your kids’ lives. We saw colorful cups linked to “Captain Marvel,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Smallfoot,” all on sale at $0.49 for a 16-ounce cup.
25. Custom bookmarks
For a personalized and meaningful gift, put your favorite photo or your child’s artwork on a custom bookmark from NextDayFlyers.
You can’t buy just one, but if you’re willing to splurge on the minimum order of 25 for $12.95, these coated, colorful, 2-inch-by-6-inch bookmarks cost as little as $0.52 each. That includes shipping.
26. Dollhouse miniatures
If someone in your life has a dollhouse that they keep better stocked than a real home, do some online shopping for miniatures at Factory Direct Craft.
Plenty of tiny creations sell for $1 or less. When we looked recently, under-$1 items included a 1-inch-tall teddy bear, itty-bitty lovebirds and a teeny sack of sugar.
We even found a tiny tax return, for when it’s April 15 in dollhouse land. No one escapes the IRS.
27. Ikea kitchen utensils
Trendy Swedish furniture store Ikea sells everything from beds and bookcases to tasty Swedish meatballs.
You can save a bundle at Ikea, especially by taking advantage of special offers and features like these. And you can stay under $1 per item when you stock your kitchen drawers. We found such gadgets as colorful pizza cutters, bright funnels, potato peelers and more, all for $0.99 apiece.
Once you stumble down the rabbit hole of jewelry-making, you’ll learn what an addictive hobby it can be.
You can pay a lot to keep your materials stocked, or you can check out DollarBead.com, which as its name suggests, offers a dazzling array of colorful beads for $1 or less. Strings of cat’s-eye beads, drizzled glass beads, gemstone-style beads and many others were among the rainbow of offerings when we checked.
29. First-day covers
A “first-day cover” is a collectible from the U.S. Postal Service. These covers feature a commemorative postage stamp that has been canceled on the first date the stamp was issued.
If you or someone you care for would appreciate the sentiment featured on a certain stamp, a first-day cover makes a historic keepsake or frameable work of art.
The USPS sells several for $0.99, including a cover honoring service members who received the Purple Heart medal, a cover remembering singer Marvin Gaye, and one celebrating the 1969 Woodstock festival. Go to First-Day Covers at store.USPS.com and sort by low-to-high price.
30. Wrapping ribbon
Check your local dollar store for rolls of wrapping ribbon.
Colorful ribbon can put the finishing touch on a wrapped present, or it can just hang out in your craft bin until you need to decorate a picture frame, jazz up a school project or create a ponytail accessory.
Let’s hear your favorite under-$1 finds. Share them in a comment below or at Money Talks News on Facebook.
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