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99 Cent Store, Day Four: It's Not All Bad

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Homeschool Mom's family gives nine reasons they love the 99 Cents store.

99 Cent Store Day Four

1. The Produce
The most magical discovery of the whole 99 Cent Only Store Adventure was the produce. You can find really good deals: beautiful, tasty vegetables and fruit. They are an amazing bargain and because they were the best thing in the store, we ate much more of all of them.

2. Saving a Buck
It was fun to feel like I was beating the system. I was able to use things people might cast off as refuse, and therefore, I was saving money and not wasting resources.

3. Helping Others Get Over the Ick Factor
Many people were surprised that I was so enthusiastic about the produce at the 99 Cent store. Because my kids are such good sports and try unusual things and don't complain about the food, it gives other people incentive to try to shop there as well. I think off-brand, foreign-made foods make some people cringe. My kids liked the peanut butter from India and it had the same ingredients as Skippy. Maybe we helped squelch some of the ick factor. It was easier for me when we found a clean store with well-stocked shelves and a lot of turnover, so things weren't sitting around gathering fruit flies. Even the men asking for change were nicer. They wore starched white shirts and gave all the money to Missions.

4. The Crappy Toys
I have a love-hate relationship with the crappy toys. On the one hand, they are a nuisance and potentially dangerous. On the other hand, they are an incentive to drive all the way to the store and to be patient while we shop. Besides, they had hula hoops for 99 cents, and a friend told me they were five dollars a piece at Target.

5. The Treasures
You can find treasures at the 99 Cent store. We found six-packs of Yoplait Yogurt and Dannon Dora Drinkable Yogurts. They were 99 cents, of course, and the expiration dates were in June. I am still looking for the mythical can of clams with which to make linguini and clams that my dad assures me is somewhere in the store.

6. The People
There are not as many families at the 99 Cent store as you might assume. I think the biggest demographic represented were the elderly. I did not see many families with children at all. In fact, my kids were usually the only ones running up and down the aisles arguing. The elderly people were quiet and patient. Very different from Trader Joe's, where all the kids together, running up and down the aisles, make for a great cacophony and pandemonium.

7. Lentils and Rice
My kids love lentils and rice. It is a new favorite, as well as the pasta salad. It's great because those were two of my cheapest meals. We found that you don't have to have the fanciest ingredients to have a great meal.

8. Losing Weight
Since there were not always a lot of my favorite foods, I ate more yogurt and fruits and vegetables. I lost a couple of pounds. Luckily, my kids ate away as usual.

9. Fun as a Family
Making a commitment and keeping it together was fun. We all held each other accountable. My husband and my kids were great sports and we had some good laughs. The octopus I bought just to take pictures of to illustrate the types of things that were icky to me, my husband put on his salad, covered them with ranch dressing, and ate them. Each of the kids even tasted them just to be daring. I felt like I was on Fear Factor.

Check back on Tuesday for the continued adventures of Pam and family!

See Also:

next: A Sister's Love: Shenika Babb Interview
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
AM  May 23, 2009, 2:52 PM

I would love to know how much money you saved… and if you will continue to shop at the dollar store. We don’t have a dollar store near where I live but I recently started shopping at Sam’s Club again and instead of spending around $1000 a month on groceries I spend about $600… That $400 savings is HUGE for our family!!!

jasmin May 24, 2009, 2:53 AM

Homeschoolmom obviously reads the comments on her articles - hence the more apologetic tone to her conclusion. Especially one comment regarding the picture with the octopus must have been a hard one to swallow for every mom.
I think you meant very well, and by changing your tone and reflecting on your opinions you came full circle in this article!
post scriptum: I am aware of the fact that your previous, rather obnoxious tone draw me in to read all articles in this series in the first place! so, good job! maybe you are a nice person after all

Meg May 24, 2009, 11:34 AM

Honestly, people are being hyper critical. Yes, some of the articles could be read as snotty. But I think there’s a lot of snottiness in middle-class America and that we should allow people the room to expand and grow - not just shut them down and pigeonhole them as snotty.

So, congratulations on exploring a new side of life…and don’t think everyone thinks you’re a snot. The pictures were genuinely funny, b/c I’m sure 99.99% of people saw those octopi and had the same reaction (whatever their SES). And the articles have been amusing b/c they are so honest. If you were filtering all your reactions it would be boring.

tanyetta May 24, 2009, 7:17 PM

we love the 99 cent store!

Tracie May 25, 2009, 4:47 PM

I have saved tons of money at the 99 cents store as well as the Dollar store & the grocery outlet. I don’t shop exclusively at stores like this because they do not have everything I need but I always make it a point to take two days a month and shop at several stores including Trader Joes, Safeway and of course the discount stores listed above. I am a student parent and went back to college so the dollar store has saved me tons of money on school supplies for classes and projects.

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