Quick Tips from Everyday Life: Episode 1

Heather says:
We learn these tricks the hard way so you don’t have to. When given a gift card* immediately put it in a safe place. Don’t assume you’ll get to use it in the near future. This way when the magical I-get-to-leave-the-house-and-enjoy-my-gift-card-in-peace day actually arrives, you don’t have to spend half the day looking for said card.

Tell me, Home Eccers, do you have any quick tips you’ve learned the hard way?

*No, Mom, this is not the one you gave me for my birthday, quit worrying.


  1. Karen on August 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I learned the hard way that the light in your trunk draws enough power to deplete your battery. 1. Double-check. 2. Keep booster cables in your car at all times.

  2. Cindy on August 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Putting gift cards in a safe spot is a good idea. Just check them carefully before you put them away. Some of them (Starbucks) will actually penalize you for holding on to them for too long!

    • Karen on August 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm

      The penalties may vary. It’s now illegal for companies to penalise in Ontario. Find out what the rules are in your state.

      • Jenni on August 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm

        Yes, in California as well it’s illegal to take money off a gift card.

  3. Stacy on August 13, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I almost always put gift cards in my wallet with the credit cards. That way I’m never at the applicable store, thinking “Boy, I wish I had that gift card!” It’s always with me for whenever I want to use it.

    The other tip I came by the hard way is to always, without exception, put your keys in your purse right when you get done using them–preferably in a partcular pocket. I’m a bit absent-minded, and I recall so many panicky rushed moments when I was a teenager and young adult, trying to leave the house, and not being able to recall where I left the keys. For many years I’ve put them in a purse pocket and never have had that problem again.

  4. dani on August 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I keep gift cards in my wallet.

    I have a hard time keeping track of credit cards. I have a couple of those store ones that I only use once in awhile – when they are having a promotion or if I NEED something and don’t have enough cash. I don’t keep them in my wallet so I am not tempted to spend them, and usually they get lost (bad, I know).

  5. kate on August 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    I keep gift cards in a little credit card sleeve/wallet that is separate from my regular wallet in my purse. I used to keep them in an envelope in my desk, but I kept forgetting to take them with me before running errands. It is one more thing in my purse, but it doesn’t take up much room.

  6. Tara on August 13, 2009 at 11:30 am

    For keeping the documents safe, I have two of those plastic hanging folder file cases – a smaller one with all the constant-used ones; and a larger one with the non-active files. Both have certain locations they go in. It’s like having a 12″ deep filing drawer that I can hide in the closet 🙂

    • KellyH on August 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

      Good idea. I might have to try that, especially the separation of active and non-active files! 🙂

      • Ceci on August 24, 2009 at 7:41 am

        I have one of those fire safes where all my important papers go in. Copy of DL, car title, insurance paperwork, deed to the house, copy of dogs vaccination records, etc. Then if I have to evacuate for a hurricane, all my important paperwork is in one spot and I just grab the safe and go. It also protects all the ‘important’ stuff from a fire.

        Of course, it might help if the fire safe actually made it out of the box into a closet, and if the papers were actually IN the safe instead of scattered all over my office.

  7. KellyH on August 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Yeah…about that. I just learned (the HARD way) that I need to invest in some sort of organization method for our home office…I had to fill out residency paperwork this week in order to get out of paying out-of-state tuition for my last couple years as a PhD student, and couldn’t find my W-2 and state voter registration card ANYWHERE. Of course, I remember putting them “in a safe place” at some point, but apparently it was too safe! Grr. Anyone have any simple tips for keeping important documents safe and organized?

  8. moonablaze on August 13, 2009 at 2:53 am

    envelope in the glove box, coupons go there too.

  9. twadlund on August 12, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Parking Tickets….In college I racked up a lot of parking tickets. As it turns out, they keep track of those things..About 2 years after I received my last ticket, I came out to my car and it was booted. I think I had about 800$ in fines in which I had to pay immediately to get my car un-booted. My advise would have to be to pay your parking tickets when you get them, or just never get them in the first place.

  10. Heather on August 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I try to always keep my gift cards and coupons for eatting out and for shopping in the glove box of my car. That way I can use them when we are out and I don’t wind up standing in line going I wish I had brought the Target gift card…I only have to walk out to the car if I forget

  11. Jenni on August 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    We actually have an envelope that we place all our gift cards into. Being teachers, we tend to get many of these and can’t possibly use them all at once. Plus, like you said, you may not use them immediately.

    The envelope is kept in the desk so we always know where to find it and check there first whenever we’re thinking of having dinner out to see which resteraunts/movie theaters/etc… we have gift cards for.

    The Walmart/Target/Grocery store gift cards go immediately into my wallet so that I always have them available when I’m there. I typically use these for everyday items and not so much for something special. That “something special” is saving me $25 of my own dollars for groceries, etc…

    • Nancy on August 12, 2009 at 10:09 pm

      Hey Jenni – Do you have any recommendations as to what teachers like in gifts or giftcards? I have been giving giftcards to Barnes and Noble, but if Walmart/Target is appreciated more, I can go that way also. Thanks.

      • Nicole on August 13, 2009 at 5:33 am

        Nancy, I’m a teacher too. I would say it really depends on the teacher. If you know what she/he likes you can get a gift card more specific to them. For instance, I’m pregnant at the moment so a gift card to Babies R Us would be amazing. However, a teacher who loves to read (also me) would love a B&N gift card. Resturant cards are good to but I tend to rack up Red Lobster cards and I don’t like seafood so they rarely get used so make sure it is to somewhere the teacher goes/likes. If unsure, a more generic (Target, Walmart, etc) card might be the way to go. Teacher store gift cards are always a hit too, especially for elementary teachers!

      • KellyH on August 13, 2009 at 9:09 am

        My husband and I are both teachers, and we looooove it when we get gift cards to places like Barnes & Noble! Both of us have trouble justifying spending our hard-earned salaries on things we don’t absolutely need at the moment, so gift cards are a nice excuse to feed our addiction to books. 🙂

      • Carolyn on August 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm

        When my kids were in elementary school, for Christmas I’d take them to the local teacher supply store and have them pick out supplies they knew their teacher was low on – note pads, stickers for reward charts, sticky tack, etc. – and make up a nice little gift bag, spending between $10-12 each teacher. It got the kids involved in shopping, taught them to pay attention to what someone needed and was a gift we knew would be appreciated and used (and boy, was it ever!). At the end of the year, I’d give a gift certificate to the teacher store, too.

  12. ToyLady on August 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I’m sorry, Heather, I don’t have much to add, other than I had to kind of laugh, because I’ve pretty much learned EVERYTHING the hard way!

    And yet I’m somehow surprised that my son does too!

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