$1 deals everywhere BUT the dollar store
Aug 14th 2008 12:00PM
Updated Aug 14th 2008 2:22PM
Prices are rising fast on everything, but you can still get a lot of stuff for $1, from fast food to greeting cards to shoes. Shoes? Yes, shoes. We've found deals on just about everything, including shoes, in local stores, national chains and on the Internet, and all without setting foot in a dollar store.
- Fast Food: You better run fast to get the last $1 deals on McDonald's menu:The company is floating raising the price to $1.29 to off-set higher costs. But you can still find 99-cent items at most other fast-food chains, like Burger King, Wendy's, KFC and Taco Bell, which even has items as low as 49 cents.
- Kids Meals: Remember when kids used to eat free at many restaurants? And then there used to be plenty of places where they could eat for 99 cents? Not so much anymore. Even kids meals at fast-food restaurants are much more expensive these days (and loaded with calories, says a new study). But there are still some 99-cent deals around, like IKEA's 99-cent mac n' cheese, which also comes with a drink. Some chains also have seasonal deals, such as Denny's offering free kids meals, and local restaurants in your area may still have this throw-back price.
- Amazon.com: You're filling your shopping cart and need just a few more pennies worth of stuff to qualify for free shipping. What do you usually do? Amazon has long counted on people adding another item and spending much more than the $25 minimum. But there's another way to do with a web tool at Slickdeals.com. The tool lists over 1,000 items that you can choose from to add just a few dollars or cents to your order. Not all the items are very exciting – need a door knob or wooden dowel? – but you should be able to find something you need if you really want that free shipping.
- Supermarkets: Many major supermarkets, like Pathmark, have a little something for everyone – and its seems everything but food. If high-end lawn furniture isn't your thing, then you can find standard dollar store items in a special sections, like packs of sponges, plastic water bottles and tin foil containers.
- Drug Stores: At a dollar store, you can typically get two cards for $1, but most drug stores offer 99-cent card values, which are often very enticing when you look at the back of one of the glossy, funny variety and see that prices for the standard greeting card are now over $3. The 99-cent variety won't have focus-group tested messages and fancy drawings – or name-brand characters like Snoopy – but will definitely get the job done. How fancy, actually, do you want a get well or condolence card, after all?
- Office Suppliers: Competing for the back-to-school crowd, Office Depot, Staples, and their other competitors, often have 99-cent-or-less specials on items like pens, folders, binders and other trinkets in bins near the check-outs, plus on their websites. These retailers, by virtue of the kind of products they sell, also have plenty of items that simply cost less than a dollar, like a 1-cent wood ruler in a recent OfficeMax circular.
- iTunes: Since digital took over the music industry, the 99-cent download has remained king. You can find some discounts for as low as 79-cents, and some album deals, but most sites are still following the buck standard. You can get virtually any song for 99 cents. You can also get movies, TV shows, audio books, music videos and more. How long will the price hold? There's always rampant speculation, but for now, it seems to be sticking.
- Department Stores: Need plastic toys? Maybe a tiny terra cotta pot with a fake plant in it? A pencil box? The $1 aisles at Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart have you covered. Usually, these sections are stationed right by the check-out or by the entrance, so when you are primed for impulse buys. Target specializes in plastic gizmos, while Wal-Mart has an extensive collection of $1 DVDs and K-Mart's pharmacy offers $1 over-the-counter drugs to customers who fill prescriptions there.
- eBay $1 Deals: eBay is a site for bargain hunters, so it makes sense that there would be plenty of $1 deals available. A tool from AuctionEgg will help you keep track of what's available for a listed price of a buck – these being auctions, the actual price may go higher. Categories include antiques, books, music CDs, DVDs, coupons and laptops.
- Shrimp Cocktail: Vegas is the place for food deals, which draw you in so that you will gamble away the rest of your money while you munch. But the long-standing $1 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate is no longer – it's now up to $1.99. But don't fret: you can still get a $1 shrimp fix elsewhere in Vegas, at the Skyline Restaurant and Casino.
- Books: Book deals abound on the Internet, from $1 children's audio books at storytimeaudio.com, to a whole site devoted to the $1 deal, booksforabuck.com, where you can get a selection of eBooks to download. You can get $1-or-less used books from various sellers at amazon.com, but you must stumble across these on your own, as Amazon's official bargain section starts in the $5 range.
- Ice cream: While ice cream cones have soared past the $2 mark in most places, you can still get some deals out there, particularly in local shops. This summer, TCBY is offering 99-cent waffle cones every Wednesday. At Friendly's, a Happy Ending sundae only comes free with select meals, but you can add it on to any meal for 98 cents.
- Shoes: Yes, shoes. The clearance section at Amiclubwear starts at $9.99, but dig in a few pages – and there are 30 – and you'll start to find the 99-cent specials. Not all sizes and colors are in stock, so it's hit-or-miss, but if you're into shoes like Gold Satin Ankle Straps RoundToe Flats, then it will be worth your time to find a pair that you can buy. There are also some good $3.99 and $5.99 deals.
- Pizza: The price of a slice of street pizza in New York has long been one of the key factors in determining the economic health of the city – and long tied coincidentally to the price of a subway ride. A slice now is standard at $2, with most places charging $2.50 for a plain cheese wedge (while the subway is still just $2, which probably means price hikes are coming soon). But 99 Cent Fresh Pizza, on 43th St. between Lexington and 3rd, still goes by its name – for now.
- Coffee: One thing you can still get for $1 a lot of places is a cup of coffee – even at Starbucks. The company has been having big financial troubles in the last 12 months, and in January, it introduced $1 coffee with free refills. The move hasn't helped much, since a few months later, the company announced it was shutting 600 stores.
- Makeup: ELF (which stands for eyes, lips, face) is still available for $1 for each product, and has been since it launched in 2004. While there was some misinformation in 2006 that it was going to be a featured product from Bloomingdales, there was no deal with the retailer, and now it is now sold in discount stores and direct through the company's Web site.