03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Savvy Santa: Buying Luxury at the Dollar Store?

Trying to do a story on a dollar store is like infiltrating a Chiquita Banana compound in Columbia. Everything is so secretive because dollar stores carry the goods that manufacturers are desperate to unload, which means said goods could still be available in mainstream stores and at fancier prices. So if it's more or less the same stuff, why don't we all just shop at the dollar store, especially when it comes to our long holiday shopping lists?

Walletpop's dollar store expert Marlene Alexander and I teamed up to compare her dollar store finds with my department and luxury store equivalents. In our savings experiment, caught on video, we found that you can go dollar and make everyone on your gift list happy:

(Plaid dress in this video provided by Anastasia Chatzka. Special thanks to