Friday Five: Save time and money – and get organized!

The “Friday Five” series shows five things that could help save you time or money – or help you get more organized.

valentines1. Store-bought valentines
I have fond memories of tearing through my valentines as a kid. Back in the day when you could just give valentines to kids you like and didn’t have to give them to everyone, for fear that someone’s feelings would be hurt. As much as I loved getting the valentines, I can’t tell you if the valentines were handmade or store bought. The truth is, I didn’t care. I still don’t. It’s the thought that counts, and for my family, store-bought works just fine. They cost $2.50 per box at Target and just addressing them with a three- and five-year-old takes enough time. If I had to cut and glue and write, I might lose my mind.

photo-22. Express legging jeans
I seriously considered pulling a photo off the Express website rather than using this one since not only is it not flattering, it’s blurry. But, Clay took it, and he was so proud of himself for helping that I had to use it. Anyway, I resisted skinny jeans for a long time, but I’ve given in. Turns out I actually like them, but I’ve had a hard time finding a pair with enough stretch to be comfortable, but not so much they’re falling off my backside by lunch. My brother got me jeans from Express for Christmas, and it turns out they’re great. Best of all, Express always has sales and coupons, so when I went back for another pair they were less than $50!


survey3. Online surveys
I’m a sucker for an online survey. There is part of me that truly wants to be helpful (the part that was tortured making up surveys in communications research methods in college), but I also know there is usually a reward at the end of the survey. To spend less than five minutes (likely while watching TV) and get a discount code or free meal, is worth it to me. I even serve on an panel for Gap Inc. that sends me occasional surveys, in return for discounts. I know there are companies that do online surveys, which probably make some great money, but I don’t think I have the time or interest for that. But, want to know about my taco buying experience in exchange for a coupon? I’m in!

photo-44. Old Navy ballet flats
I’m pretty sure I walk five miles a day at work. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit, but I walk all over a campus multiple times. I was cursed with feet that hurt pretty much no matter what shoes I wear, with the exception of flip flops. I bought $200 Delman flats a few years ago (on sale) because The New York Times said they were great for walking around the city. They killed my feet…and I couldn’t return them. Anyway, I was ordering some leggings for Avery a few weeks ago and saw a pair of ballet flats on sale for $7. What the heck, I thought. If they are terrible, I’ll just take them to Goodwill. The good news is they’re not terrible. They’re comfy and while not the cutest thing ever, they’re not hideous either. Which is more than I can say for my work carpet on which they were standing for this photo!


photo5. Throw lunch boxes and coozies in the washing machine
I’ve seen some retro lunch boxes like we used to have, but most of the time these days they’re made of fabric. The problem is, food and liquid get in them over time and they get pretty gross. I clean out the inside with baby wipes, but the outside was looking pretty dingy. We’ve had the same one since Clay started preschool, so I was willing to take a chance. I threw it in the washing machine, figuring it didn’t matter if it crumbled. To my surprise, it didn’t. And it was cleaner than it’s been in 18 months. I’m not sure why I didn’t try this before. Anyway, I later did the same thing with a few coozies that came with us to the National Championship game (and therefore smelled terrible). They’re fresh and clean again too!

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