Why pay more when you don’t have to? I’ve always been attracted to 99-cent stores and other “value centers” because they have perfectly serviceable items—everything from batteries to lightbulbs to soda—for way less than you’d pay elsewhere. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m cheap! Here are some of my favorite such stores in Manhattan—and yes, I’m aware of Lot-Less and love it, but these places are even cheaper:

99 CENT CREATION 

(149 W. 24th Street; 212 627 2983)

It’s not that big and certainly not very fancy, but this store is still worth it, especially when you desperately need some toothpaste, shampoo, room deodorizer, or snacks and you don’t want to pay a fortune for it.


99 CENT DREAMS (also known as 5th Ave Dollar & Discount; 2 W. 46th Street; 212-840-1995)

With two overstuffed floors of discount delight, this place has everything—kitchen stuff, office supplies, food, decorative things, and beyond. It’s a value-seeker’s goldmine.


JACK’s

Photo: Michael Musto.

(110 W. 32nd St., 212-268-9962; and 223 W. 40th St., 917-409-2911)

These two Jack’s outlets are my homes away from home. Though a great deal of the items on sale are more than 99 cents, Jack’s is still a thrift palace of the highest order. The two-floor 32nd Street branch has frozen foods, bagels, supplies, cleaners, gifts, cards, and household items galore. The 40th Street one also has all sorts of things, and sometimes features some culinary surprises, like knishes (two for $1.99), tofu (same price), and yogurts (two for a dollar). If you see an item you like, buy a lot of it because they might not carry it again—though they’ll always have interesting things, so there’s never any need to panic.


TRUE VALUE DISCOUNT

(1346 Frederick Douglass Blvd; 212 662 8783)

Need some Pine Sol, Tide, Listerine, or paper towels and don’t want to break the bank? This is your place—a sprawling wonderland of values, values, values.


3RD AVE DOLLAR & MORE

Michael Musto.

(Third Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets)

This relatively new 99 cent store has rows and rows of affordable goodies. Go in good conscience and come home with a vastly improved lifestyle.