I sure wish there had been a dollar store around when my kids were small. Like most young families, we were on a tight budget but that didn't stop me from wanting my kids to have all the little "extras." I can't belief the wide array of toys and sport items they have at dollar stores. Everything from sidewalk chalk to skipping ropes to bicycle accessories is available and all for a buck each.

With summer coming, there's no better place than the dollar store to shop for colorful flip flops and pool toys like kick boards, inflatable rafts, air mattresses and beach balls. You can also get snorkles and swim goggles. Heck, I even saw some bathing suits for kids, although size selection is going to be limited. Still, it can't hurt to check if you're in the store anyway.

Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes about dollar store decorating ideas at her website Dollarstorestyle.com.

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