Those Lovely Dollar Store Deals: Are You Really Getting a Good Bargain?

Those Lovely Dollar Store Deals: Are You Really Getting a Good Bargain?

I happen to love the Dollar Tree stores that are available in my area. However, unlike many “bargain” shoppers, I don’t practically live at mine, buying anything and everything. There are SO many items that really are NOT a good deal at a dollar store – but the average American consumer never notices!

Let’s look at a few things:

Name brand snacks – a few years ago, our local Dollar Trees started carrying Little Debbie snacks, and I was thrilled. I love Little Debbie, and knowing that I could get a large variety of them for only $1 each all the time rather than the slightly higher prices at the regular stores made me so happy. Then one day I happened to notice a little thing called quantity. For example, the Oatmeal Cream pies – one of my favorites. A regular box at the store contains 12 pies, and usually costs around $1.09 – $1.29, but usually closer to the $1 mark. The boxes at the Dollar Tree only contain 9 pies. This means that if I buy a 12-count box for $1.09, I’m paying basically 9 cents each for them. A 9 count box at $1 comes to just over 11 cents each. It’s not much, but it adds up. Most of the rest of the Little Debbie snacks are the same way, with a few exceptions.

Toothpaste – not only can I get a better deal on toothpaste by taking advantage of the deals at other stores, especially CVS and Rite Aid (I almost never pay anything for toothpaste, and I often GET PAID to bring it home!) but the toothpaste at dollar stores is an iffy proposition, as a lot of it comes from overseas without being subject to the same requirements that American toothpaste must meet. Scary stuff! Check it out at Snopes. And while there is no danger from their toothbrushes, I find the same is true bargain-wise. I can get much better deals at other stores, I have no need to pay even $1 for a toothbrush anymore.

Candy bars – In general, individual candy bars at the dollar stores are 2/$1. While that is a better price than the average, every day price at most stores (usually around 65 cents) if you just check for sales, almost every week at least one store somewhere will have candy bars on sale 3 for $1, which is a much better deal! Foil – while you can usually get foil that is about the same footage as at a regular store, dollar store foil is very thin and tears unbelievably easy, which means you’re probably going to end up using a double thickness from time to time, wasting whatever you “saved” to start with. If they have name brand foil, it’s most likely to be of a shorter footage, and end up costing more per foot in their boxes than if you bought it at a regular store. And at a regular store, you can use coupons to make the deal even better!

Canned veggies – while these come out to about the same price as at a regular store, and maybe a little cheaper, I noticed the other day that their cans are 14.5 oz instead of 15 oz like regular products.

Shampoo and hair products – if you’re not brand-loyal, you can usually buy Suave products for around 94 cents. There’s a savings right there, even if doesn’t seem like much.

bargainThose are just a few of the specific examples I can think of. There are actually many items that are shorted at the dollar store, a half ounce here, two or three cookies there. It all adds up. There are also some items that are of such poor quality, such as cleansers and the above mentioned foil, that you lose all savings by using even more of the product than you normally would to make up for the deficits. Other items are a “decent” deal, but if you look around carefully and shop the sales, you will actually find that you can get MUCH better deals on those items at other stores.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my dollar stores! Shop carefully, and look for the REAL bargains! A real bargain shopper never assumes – go in armed with information and knowledge, and you’ll come out on top for sure.

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Tips for Safely Handling Hot Peppers

Tips for Safely Handling Hot Peppers

I love Mexican food, and many of the Mexican dishes I prepare require hot peppers. I’ve grown hot peppers in my garden, and I’ve prepared them for my favorite casseroles and cream cheese appetizers, but not without taking the necessary precautions to handle them safely. My ex husband helped prepare hot peppers when we had a bumper crop, and he found out firsthand why it’s important to use caution to safely handle and prepare hot peppers.

The following information will help you learn to safely handle and prepare hot peppers and remove some of the fire. Peppers might look harmless, but they can do more damage than you might think!

Protecting Your Hands

I keep a box of sterile rubber gloves without powder, just for the purpose of handling and preparing hot veggies. It’s important to protect your hands before you handle spicy foods, not just to protect your hands, but also to protect your eyes and other sensitive areas of the body. Even after thoroughly washing my hands I’ve had remnants of hot peppers get into my eyes from beneath my nails, and it’s an extremely painful experience. In addition, the gloves allow you to safely handle and prepare hot peppers when skin is broken. I’ve had small cuts on my fingers, and hot peppers in an open wound would be excruciatingly painful.To remove the rubber gloves after handling and preparing hot peppers, simply turn the gloves inside out and dispose of them in a trash receptacle, but only remove them after cleaning up. It’s also important to wash hands even after wearing gloves. It’s real easy to forget and touch the countertop, cutting board, or kitchen knives and end up with hot pepper juice on the skin or in the eyes.

Protecting Your Eyes

As previously mentioned, it’s important to protect the eyes when handling and preparing spicy raw vegetables. I wear clear safety glasses when handling and working with hot peppers. I started wearing eye protection after pepper juice ended up in my eye. Before I could stop the burning pain, I had to take the time to wash my hands thoroughly, and I had to wash out my eye with clear water for several minutes. It might look a little ridiculous, but I’d rather take precautions and protect my eyes than risk getting hot juice in my eyes ever again.

The Importance of Hand Washing After Preparation

My ex husband was careful about hand washing before handling or preparing food, but he didn’t consider the importance of hand washing after handling hot peppers – until he used the bathroom and found out how hot those peppers really were. He washed his hands after coming out of the bathroom, but the burning he experienced in an unmentionable area reminded him to wash his hands before using the bathroom in the future. It’s funny now, but at the time it wasn’t a laughing matter. I could not imagine how he would react if the water was out and a plumbing service was needed at that moment?!

Putting Out the Fire

Safely handling and preparing hot peppers is important, but it’s also important to know how to put out the fire. If you’ve eaten hot peppers and your mouth feels like it’s on fire, don’t go for the water. It won’t do a thing to lessen the burning pain. Instead, have a glass of milk or another dairy product such as a spoonful or two of sour cream. It should safely put out the fire and end the pain.

As previously mentioned, I love hot peppers, but I don’t love peppers that are too hot to taste. I always remove the seeds and the white membrane inside the peppers. I also boil away the spice that causes the unbearable heat. The boiled peppers retain their delicious flavor, but they lose a lot of the fire that many people can’t tolerate.

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Fresh from the Farm to Fremont

Fresh from the Farm to Fremont

It’s About the Farmers

The Fremont Farmers’ Market Association purpose is to provide a venue for local farmers to bring their products directly to the community.

Seasonal items include:

Dungeness Crab, Killer Korn, Strawberries, Asian Veggies, Fresh Orange Juice, Organic Veggies, Flowers, Breads, Vine Ripened Tomatoes and new items coming!

F/V Sunshine Dungeness Crab— Nov. to June, Halibut Summer, Salmon / Tuna—May to Oct.

Now Open!

Farmers’ Market at NUMMI!

The Fremont Farmers Market Association has begun a joint venture with Kaiser Permanente to bring a weekly farmers’ market to NUMMI.

Learn more about Certified California Organic Produce at
www.CCOF.org

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