Each week, Columbia SC Moms Blog features ways for you to save money in our Sunday Saver series.
Shopping at Big Lots is always fun, because I never know what I’m going to find. I have a list of items I always look for when I shop there, but inevitably I end up with a few extras because their merchandise is ever evolving.
If you’ve never shopped in Big Lots, they carry overstocks and clearanced out merchandise. Items might be close to their expiration dates, but more likely, the items that you find were “special buys” at other stores. This often includes merchandise that’s tied to a new movie coming out, or holiday items from a previous season.
There are 1400 locations in the United States, including 4 locations in the Columbia area. One thing to note, all of the stores even within the same city aren’t quite the same — some may include one item while another may not — so it’s beneficial to visit several stores if you have a chance.
Big Lots does have sales items, and they will often announce if they’ve stocked something big. (Past announcements I can recall include Eckerd brand merchandise and a previous generation of Pampers.) But the thrill of shopping there is that you can pretty much guarantee that you won’t find the same item more than once.
Here is a reliable list of items that I look for at Big Lots:
I’m not drinking coffee like I usually do (since I’m expecting), but my husband drinks a k-cup every morning. We felt like we won the lottery when we found name brand k-cups for $22. We also went on a 20 percent off day, so the price was even better. You never know what kind of “treasures” you’ll find with their ever changing stock! Even though we haven’t seen these since that day (I’m sure they went quick), their off-brand k-cups are still decent.
2. Bubble Bath
Please tell me that I’m not the only parent who throws their boys into a bubble bath and calls them “clean” when they’re done. Big Lots stocks lots of kids’ bubble bath. The quantities are large and the prices are right. My boys get a bubble bath a couple of times a week, and when we are running low, we go back to Big Lots to restock.
3. Greeting Cards
These days, some greeting cards can cost upwards of $5 or more! I’m all for finding the perfect card that says just the right thing, but I don’t want to spend a small fortune on a piece of paper someone may or may not throw away. Big Lots has a large selection and good prices (some even around the $1 mark or less). At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts, not how much you spend.
4. Gourmet and International Food Items
If you are shopping for a gift for a foodie, Big Lots is a great place to go. They keep an ever changing selection of gourmet and international food items in stock. Of course, if you purchase something and love it, go back quickly to stock up, because they might not have it again, if ever. Just be aware if you are buying something as a gift, it may or may not have the Big Lots price tag as part of the packaging, so it can be hard to remove the price or where you bought it from.
5. Bob’s Red Mill Goods
Bob’s Red Mill must have some sort of partnership with Big Lots because their name brand is specifically listed as a navigation category under Grocery on their website. These products can be found at top quality stores like Publix and Whole Foods, so if you are looking for gluten free and other kinds of specialty baking mixes, check at Big Lots before you check anywhere else. You might just find what you are looking for at a lower price point than you expected to.
6. Previous Packaging of Name Brand Items
Big Lots has a great selection of name brand items; most of which are some previous incarnation of packaging. I picked up a bottle of Pantene shampoo the last time I went as well as a package of Honey Maid Minions graham crackers. This second purchase made my 2 and 3-year-olds very happy, and I later found the same package at Walmart for $1 more.
7. Picture Frames and Wall Art
The picture frames at Big Lots are good quality and their wall art is varied. (Think witty sayings about wine and family.)
8. Kitchen Gadgets
Big Lots carries a variety of kitchen gadgets that are less expensive than if you purchased them in a specialty store, but don’t skimp on the quality. You can find name brand items like Kitchen-Aid, as well as generic brands. I’ve been able to pick up several items for a housewarming basket, and the recipient had no idea I bought them at a discount store because the quality is the same.
9. Seasonal Items
Big Lots has a great selection of decorations and tableware for every season. Most times it is there own brand, so it’s something you won’t usually find in other stores. It’s always super cute and affordable. They have their Halloween and Thanksgiving items out now, so if you are a decorator, you should be all set!
10. Furniture and Mattresses
Big Lots carries brand name mattresses as well as furniture. A few years back, I had a friend who was searching for the perfect coffee table and end tables. She found a set she loved at one of the higher end furniture stores, and just happened to spy the same set at Big Lots for half the price! If you are looking, you might save big $$ if you shop here first!
What do you look for when you shop at Big Lots? Found any hidden treasures lately?