Posted by: Hannah | 10/21/2015

a penny saved

Recently I’ve started shopping at Dollarama, a thing I always vowed I would never do. It seems so contrary to the principles of being a good earth citizen, doesn’t it? Truckload after truckload of ticky-tacky crap, made in China by probably-underpaid workers, designed to be used once and thrown away.

Then a friend pointed out a couple of things; one, shopping at Wal-Mart is not better and probably worse, given their terrible labour standards records; and two, the same ticky-tacky crap made in China by probably-underpaid workers is available at considerable markup at just about every other store I shop at, so who am I kidding, really.

Since Louis left I have a full-time vacancy in the dayhome; it means I’m down $600 a month, before taxes. Christmas is coming, and so we’re tightening our belts a bit to try and make up the shortfall. As soon as the Blue Jays’ season is over, we’re cutting the cable. We’re eating more canned & frozen vegetables than we’d prefer (not for snobby reasons, just because we like the fresh stuff better). I’m making a real effort to drive less. I’ve been haunting children’s clothing sites online, waiting for sales. I tried getting groceries at No-Frills (not a notable success; I won’t be doing that again).

Basically, I’m trying to save a little bit here and there, in the hopes that I can stay ahead of the game until I fill my vacant spot. So far it seems to be working. We’re managing, and that’s good.

Last week the temperature suddenly dropped here; it happened so fast that when I did the laundry today there were still shorts in the bottom of the hamper. I did the mad scramble for hats, coats, and mittens. I went looking for those cheap stretchy “one size fits all” gloves, too. They’re perfect for those days when it’s still chilly at the bus stop in the mornings, but there is no snow on the ground and it’ll be in the low to mid-teens by lunchtime. Every year I buy a new batch of the damn things; I always get several pairs in the same colour and resign myself to the kids losing them all somehow.

I popped into Wal-Mart because I never learn, apparently. There were the stretchy gloves… FOUR DOLLARS A PAIR.

I’m sorry, whut? Nope. NOPE. At four dollars a pair, I cannot buy a lovely big stack of the stupid things. And why four dollars a pair? Last year I paid 87 cents a pair. I stormed out of Wal-Mart, upset and depressed. If you’re too cash-strapped to shop at Wal-Mart, you need to re-evaluate some life choices.

Anyway, I decided to check Dollarama. Why not? They have become my go-to for craft supplies, seasonal decorations, and gardening stuff – maybe gloves? Who knows?

GLOVES. SO MANY GLOVES. ALL THE GLOVES. 75 cents a pair! Actually sized for children! Also toques! Toques are nice. I bought a dozen pairs of gloves, some spare light mittens for the dayhome, two toques, and some Halloween treat bags, all for less than twenty dollars.

Also at Dollarama, a strange bizarre thing happened to me. I am quite short (5’3″) and I often have to either ask taller people to reach things on high shelves or else climb them like a chimpanzee when no store employees are looking. I was standing by the fake flower display when a tiny little old lady approached me. “You, lady, you get! I need! Orange! You get!” It took me a minute to realize that I was actually the tall person she needed to help her. ME. TALL. AT DOLLARAMA I AM TALL.

My late grandmother is delighted with me. I’m a dollar store convert.





  1. I used to hate Dollarama too- refused to shop there for a long time but I’ve since turned. It’s a great store for certain things like, party supplies (plates, cups, napkins, gift bags, NOT balloons), school workbooks, name brand pens, gloves for washing dishes, parchment paper. I love stocking up on hats and mitts from there. But the best part is that they’ve been carrying stuff from TARGET!!!! You may be aware that Target is my favorite store 🙂 Look for Target brand baby wipes, sunscreen, note cards and my FAVORITE find were pink sparkly tights for Claire from Target.
    Notably, the best part of shopping at Dollarama in Bayers Lake is that it’s next to Marshalls 🙂

  2. YOU ARE THE TALL PERSON! You know what’s great to buy at the dollar store? GIFT BAGS. Everywhere else it seems like they are $5 a bag, but there they are $1.

  3. I’m with you. There’s stuff that you probably just shouldn’t buy from ANYWHERE, and there’s stuff that if you’re going to buy it, you might as well pay a buck for it (I apologize for what I just did to this poor sentence). I was just at our dollar store today because I haven’t been able to find net bags for washing delicates anywhere else, and I also bought the stretchy gloves because my hands get cold before anything else does in the fall (I have been know to go out in a t-shirt, bare legs and dollar-store gloves – um, with some kind of skirt on or something, just to be clear) and a plastic hatchet for Eve’s lumberjack costume. It’s really hard to find all that for under ten bucks anywhere else.
    I was going to blog today, but apparently I’ve just decided to leave long rambly comments on everyone else’s blogs.

  4. I have the opposite experience at home. I tell my teenage son, “You’re going to need a stool to reach that shelf” because I do but he totally does not because he’s 5 inches taller than me.

  5. I have loved Dollarama with an everlasting love for years. Gift bags! Jayclothes! pipe-cleaners!!! Cat toys!!!! All the craft supplies your heart could ever want!!!! I am still not tall, even in Dollarama, (you have a good two inches on me) but it is a magical place nonetheless.

  6. We have Poundland and Poundworld. Two lovely shops full of cheap crap! But you have to be careful as some of the things are dearer than in the supermarket! I have NEVER been in though and left with NOTHING. It’s impossible

    • Also at just about 5ft on my tippy toes, you are tall to me.

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