There’s a widely held opinion that New York City has EVERYTHING. While many stereotypes about the city are right on point — bad manners, dirty streets, rodent/roach infestations, et al — this particular one is not. I mean sure, it’s got lots of things that just aren’t found anywhere else. And it’s famous for its many shopping districts, with everything from the luxury retailers of Fifth Avenue to the discount shops and stalls of Chinatown.
However, NYC lacks some of my favorite retailers… many of which are found in nearly every other middle-sized to major city in the U.S.: Joann Arts & Crafts, Hancock’s Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Dollar General, Goodwill (NO GOODWILL?!), and Dollar Tree, to name a few (technically there is a store owned by the Dollar Tree corporation near my apartment, but it’s not the same).
We have one Michael’s, so obviously that’s my main crafting resource (though it’s an hour and a half subway ride from my home in Brooklyn), and there are tons of dollar stores scattered throughout my neighborhood, but like I said before, it’s just NOT the same as my beloved Dollar Tree.
We also have two Target locations in the city, but that’s divided among a population of over 8 million people, so it’s like a zoo-circus-mob most of the time, i.e., I avoid it at all costs.
In light of the bargain shopping starvation that I’ve been suffering through in NYC, I knew I wanted to hit up all of these places while in Atlanta. Oh, and how I have done just that. Like every weekend. But you know me, it’s not like I’ve spent hundreds of dollars or anything (scroll to top and read blog name at top of screen for more clarification). And with the exception of the $22 Headband Incident of ’12 (which actually happened in NYC), I’ve exercised incredible restraint this summer.
But enough talking/typing. Show & Tell Time — and this is just from this past weekend!
First I went to Michael’s and pilfered through their bargain bins at the front… because that is where. it’s. at. I’m a sucker for cheap, cute stationery, though admittedly I don’t really have any penpals. Whatever… details. Here are my finds:
And for a grand total of $4.24, I got…
And fun recipe cards (I’m using these for a wedding shower I’m hosting next week):
And more notecards…
“What does that say?” Here’s a close-up:
Sure, I could use the three sets of cards for their intended purpose, but I loved the vintage-y typographic fantastic-ness of the cover art so much, that I’ve decided to frame them instead. I have a wall in our bathroom that could use a little somethin’-somethin’ (expect a post about this project next week).
And like I said, I only spent $4.24 (those recipe cards and tightrope walker notecards were only $0.50 before tax!).
Love it. And even though I have a Michael’s in NYC, this one was a mere ten minute drive and I didn’t have to wait in line for more than like, two minutes (that’s versus an hour and a half train ride and at least a twenty minute wait in line). Wellll worth the trip.
This weekend I also visited Big Lots, and I realized that it might be my new favorite store. Weird, right? Because I’m the self-titled Ginger Penny Pincher, and I tend to know the ins and outs of the bargain shopping world, right??? But honestly, I think I’d only been in a Big Lots one time before this weekend… I think my aversion had something to do with the exclamation point in the logo. “Why are you yelling at me?” I know, I’m weird. I also don’t go to K-Mart because of their logo… and that’s not something I can really explain. I just don’t like that place.
Back to the point: Big Lots. I only got a couple of things, but excitement abounded nonetheless. I found these Triscuits in the clearance section (“clearance” because the box was caved in at the top), and like I mentioned earlier, I’m hosting a bridal shower next weekend, so obviously I needed Triscuits. It’s a law… somewhere in the Constitution.
One dollar! That I can do. And note: these haven’t expired either. Still fresh as daisies… er, Triscuits. (For the curious, I opened up the box at home, and most of the Triscuits were still in one piece).
In the clearance section, I also found these Special K bars for $1.50 (that’s TWELVE for $1.50). In regular stores they are waaay more than this. Same story: The box top was crushed a bit, yet the bars were still as they should be and not yet expired. Woo hoo!
And then… my favorite Big Lots find of all. Maybe of all time.
Single subject, college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks for 24 CENTS!
I audibly shouted “Are you kidding me?!?!” People stared. A sales associate asked if I was all right. Obviously, they don’t share my affinity with office supplies. But seriously, I go through these notebooks like they’re going out of style. And just the day before, I bought 2 for $3 (on “sale”) at CVS and I got a few at Dollar Tree (for a dollar) that morning. And these 24 CENT notebooks were just sitting in Big Lots all this time?! What!???
Yeah, I’m pretty sure a Martha Graham style “Finger of God” light special was shining down on that end cap display (modern dance and lighting design nerds: that was for you).
Sigh. If only I could take Big Lots with me to NYC, exclamation point and all. Then all of NYC could revel in the joy of 24 cent notebooks.
On second thought, Big Lots should stay out of NYC. They’d have to mark up the notebooks from $0.24 to $2.24 and that would be no good.
Like I said, some NYC stereotypes are true.