10 Things to Do With 10 Bucks: Office Edition

Women in officeFreshly sharpened pencils ... Crisp, lined paper ... Clean, new notebooks ...

As work begins to pick up after the long summer lull, channel the back-to-school spirit with cute new organizers and decorations for your workspace.

We started our 10 Things to Do With 10 Bucks series because there's nothing better than finding a spare Hamilton at the end of the month. After carefully budgeting all month, we're okay with buying a little something fun as a treat and encouragement -- so we bring you our favorite finds for $10.

In this installment, we've found the perfect items to inject a dose of personality into your office. From a live "money tree" to a seven-year pen, these finds will set you up for your best "year" yet. (We like using the start of the school year as an excuse for a second chance at finally nailing down those resolutions!)

To check out our fun office finds, click on the first image below.

View Slide Show

  • sanitywillprevail

    Instead of spending the $10 frivolously on these unnecessary items, why not just put the “extra” $10 in your “Santa Savings” account, It will be a welcome “extra” in the next few months…

    • Alsutton1

      Personally I liked the Japanese masking tape but it is not 10 dollars.  The only way to purchase is online and shipping is $9.00 so please check out shipping cost and include in total.  The shipping alone is the 10.00.

      • caroline4

        New to the site… this list is ridiculous. Makes me wonder aobut the advice given overall. Any of this junk could be purchased at the dollar store if its actually needed…

        • Sweetsinsinla

          Wow, a very heated debate of $10.  I found the suggested items to be refreshing.  It isn’t the point of buying exactly what is on the list, but, rather making yourself smile when you are sitting at your desk.  We all work hard for our money and spend a lot of time at work, I personally love to have my desk colorful and filled with pictures to remind me why I have to work in the first place.

  • Ann_karie

    I agree with the previous comment… Frankly, if after the hard work of budgeting and paring down, if the first unassigned money you get sends you buying coloored pencils or Japanese tape, chances are you are closer to backsliding than not… The mindset that I would have expected from a money site, is unexpected money is an opportunity to boost your savings goals.

    You know look at how ten dollars can become fifty type thing?..

    I know we all need a treat from time to time, but isn’t that part of the reward of budgeting,so that we can afford things we really want instead of chronically “getting by” because we alwaysget what we see?

  • Faith Baker

    Seriously, are you kidding me? #1.-Pencil cup holder-try taking an empty soup can and covering it w/old wallpaper or “contact” paper Even better, save one of the pretty imported Italian tomato cans-no covering of the can is involved as the picture is the “art” (Note: if you don’t have a can-opener that leaves a smooth edge, then cover the edge with glued-on ribbon).  Money saved- $10.00 per container… #2.-Fruit-shaped notepad?; save a tree and $5.00 by using ”wasted” printer paper (you know, the extra paper or two that have very little information on them, but are printed out anyhow). #3.-A 7-year pen? Do you really think you’re going to keep your eye on this pen for 7 years? If you’re like most people, then you lose alot of pens in 7 year’s time. Money saved $5.00, a pack of 10 Bic ballpoint pens (with a cap)- cost approx. $2.00. #4.-Photo card holder-use a thumbtack (which leaves a very small hole in the wall) or if not allowed, use double-sided sticky tape. Money saved $5.95; a box of thumbtacks costs approx. $1.00. Or get creative and make one out of ribbon and those metal “butterfly” clips used at offices.  #5.-Japanese masking tape-this one is a great idea if you can find a store that carries it , otherwise, you need to factor in the cost of shipping and handling, which would make it too pricey. #6.-Geometric file folders? Save alot by using generic file folders, and if you want to “dress” them up, try using cheap rubber stamps and ink, and if you have children, you probably already have them. A rubber stamp(s) costs less than a dollar and they make multi-colored ink pads-very cheap at a craft store, esp. when a coupon is used. #7.-Gold paper clips..Really? At least buy something more functional like plastic -coated ones that come in bright primary colors-saves your paper from being ripped with these. A box costs less than $5.00. #8.-A money-tree plant for $10.00? Take a cutting from your spider plant at home and plant in a old coffee mug, chipped sugar bowl, etc. or get creative and paint a plain 50-cent terra cotta pot. Or go back to #6 using rubber stamps and ink. No  spider plant? Go to K-mart and buy a rooted plant in a 3″ container for approx. $1.00. Money saved-$8.50 to $10.00.  #9.-a monogrammed mousepad? Seriously? I get free mousepads all the time as a “free” gift when buying items on-line. Money saved- $7.50. Ego-check-PRICELESS!  #10-Colorful letterboxes for $10.00? Try using old wallpaper, gift-wrapping paper, “contact” paper, rubber stamping- just a few ideas. Money saved $10.00 times the number of boxes you need. If I bought only one of each of the items you have listed, I would’ve spent a minimum of $74.95, excluding any shipping and handling costs involved! My costs for the same things-$2.00 for pens, $1.00 for thumbtacks, $4.00? for generic file folder, $3.00? for coated paperclips, $1.00 for basic mousepad, $3.00? for letterbox holder, ( the ? mark after some of the prices denotes approx.costs). And a few bucks more for rubber stamps and ink, “contact” paper, 50 cents for a plain terra pot, $1.00 if I have to buy a plant, and a couple of bucks for craft-store paint-all things I already own. I thought that Learnvest was supposed to be a website for women who wanted to to learn how to spend their money wisely; this seems more like a regular magazine website that wants women to spend money on their advertiser’s ads .Taking advantage of the “back-to -school” sales, I paid $2.00 for 8 “click” pens, 59-cents each for 5 Penway carry-all pouches, which are plastic with a clear front, a zipper and 3 holes that can fit into a binder; ( I use these for credit card receipts to magazines clippings, etc), several 2-pocket folders for 9 cents each and a pair of children’s scissors for coupon-clipping for only $1.00 and  9 cents for a wooden ruler. Either your people have money to burn or have no creativity. I am seriously wondering if your website is really trying to help women or if you’re out to make a profit from women who need the most help.    

    • Anonymous

      Maybe she would have more money to spend if she HAD A JOB.

  • I can understand where the naysayers are coming from, but I don’t think it was written with the intention that we’d go out and buy every single thing in the slideshow.  After all, it is 10 things to do with 10 bucks, not 10 things to buy with 100 bucks.  I take these not as specific suggestions but just ideas, and I for one can appreciate them–having just gotten my first office, I wanted to make it look like “mine” without being overly cutesy, and certainly not tacky.  Thumbtacks and waste paper notepads, as Faith mentioned, are great, but so generic, and while crafts are awesome, they have the potential to look a little too “homemade” for the office if not done right.  In addition, if you don’t have all the materials to make something, the supplies alone can often end up costing even more than the item you were trying to duplicate in the first place.

    I think the slideshow has some cute suggestions for a little treat and a little punch of personalization.  When I got my new job I wanted to celebrate but didn’t want to go blow all my money on a party or a new office wardrobe, and this gave me some cute ideas to make my office a little happier without throwing me off my budget.  This is somewhere we spend half our days, and time away from our families… I think we deserve to brighten it up a little bit… I mean hey, I’m not saying we should just go buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff, but if you “splurge” five or ten bucks on a nice plant or a mousepad, and it makes you smile every time you look at it, then I think it’s well spent.  Some people seem to have the impression that LV is trying to make women go buy a bunch of unnecessary stuff with these articles.  I think they know we should be smart enough to realize it’s a bit of lighthearted fun.  I for one think they’re a welcome break to all of the $800 outfits and $500 tablet computers that other websites would call “office must haves”.

    • Maria Lin, Editor in Chief

      Hi Sara: Thanks for your comment — and you are absolutely right about our intentions. We’re never fans of mindless spending and consumption, but do believe that small splurges once in a while are not only fun but important to keeping us on track, and having a healthy relationship with our money. Never indulging in a splurge is akin to never allowing yourself a treat once in a while when you are dieting–most nutritionists would say that this extreme approach doesn’t lead to long term success. Money health is about balance and control, not about deprivation. If you are handy with DIY projects like Faith, then by all means, use that creativity to your advantage–just keep in mind that your time is as valuable as your money.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sara: Thanks for your comment — and you are absolutely right about our philosophy. We’re never fans of mindless spending and consumption, but do believe that small splurges once in a while are not only fun but important to keeping us on track, and having a healthy relationship with our money. The only exception is if you are in serious debt — even then, your treats should just get proportionately smaller.

    Never indulging in a splurge is akin to never allowing yourself a treat once in a while when you are dieting–most nutritionists would say that this extreme approach doesn’t lead to long term success. Money health is about balance and control, not about deprivation.

    If you are handy with and enjoy DIY projects like Faith, then by all means, use that creativity to your advantage–just keep in mind that the cost of all those craft supplies certainly add up (as I know myself, being a DIY veteran) and take up space in your home, and most importantly, your time is just as valuable as your money.

    Thanks for your comments, and please keep them coming.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sara: Thanks for your comment — and you are absolutely right about our philosophy. We’re never fans of mindless spending and consumption, but do believe that small splurges once in a while are not only fun but important to keeping us on track, and having a healthy relationship with our money. The only exception is if you are in serious debt — even then, your treats should just get proportionately smaller.

    Never indulging in a splurge is akin to never allowing yourself a treat once in a while when you are dieting–most nutritionists would say that this extreme approach doesn’t lead to long term success. Money health is about balance and control, not about deprivation.

    If you are handy with and enjoy DIY projects like Faith, then by all means, use that creativity to your advantage–just keep in mind that the cost of all those craft supplies certainly add up (as I know myself, being a DIY veteran) and take up space in your home, and most importantly, your time is just as valuable as your money.

    Thanks for your comments, and please keep them coming.

  • Guest

    Waste of money.

  • Guest

    That thing is 10 bucks?  It’s a piece of patterned paper glued onto a jar.  You could make it yourself for like 50 cents.  I would never buy this for that much.

  • Guest

    That thing is 10 bucks?  It’s a piece of patterned paper glued onto a jar.  You could make it yourself for like 50 cents.  I would never buy this for that much.

  • Guest

    That thing is 10 bucks?  It’s a piece of patterned paper glued onto a jar.  You could make it yourself for like 50 cents.  I would never buy this for that much.

  • Faith

    Sara, I take offense to you saying that my hand-made crafts have a “home-made” look to them; I’m not talking about using popsicle sticks and egg cartons! My items do not look home-made. I’m quite skilled in the Donna Dewberry painting style and most people say to me “Gee, what a beautiful painted terra cotta pot-where did you get it?”  That’s when I get to brag that I painted it myself-most people wouldn’t know I’ve done something myself if I didn’t tell them! As for MariaLin, if you have dabbled in DIY projects, I’m sure that you still have some materials left over or a container or two of acrylic paint and good paintbrushes laying around. Everyone even saves the paint they painted a room with, why not use it for something else?  What I am saying is THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!-including the retailers’s CASHBOX!  Not only can I save money on these items, but use the saved money for something else. In other words, I can have my cake and eat it too! And I still say all of these ideas are frivilous and the money can be put to better use, like the post by Sanitywillprevail. And I knew I was right about the Japanese masking tape, as noted by Alsutton1, the shipping cost alone make it too prohibitive to buy. The bottom line is that the suggestions are a waste of money-come on people, do you really need to have gold paper clips, etc? And frankly, I don’t care to see a long stream of your kids photos hanging up at the workplace. I think that the majority of posts agree with me in that you can spend your more wisely on more important things, like rent, food or by starting a savings fund. 

  • I clicked on the link for the Japanese masking tape, but it brought me to the wrong place.  Where can I find the tape?  It’s cute and I’d like to buy some

    • Anonymous

      Hi Heather, the tape sold on that site is out of stock, but you can find Japanese washi tape in really cute colors here: http://www.cutetape.com/shop/japanese-washi-masking-tape.html.