You know what I’ve noticed? Hubby and I usually go to the same places, whether it’s to eat or shop. Most of these places have gift cards or loyalty cards that you can use. So it got me wondering: would gift cards be a good way to budget?
For example, I used to be a heavy Starbucks drinker. Granted, my preferred drink of choice was between $2.50-$3.25 depending on the size, even 2 to 3 times a week still adds up. So my former boss hipped me to the Starbucks card. Similar to their gift cards, I could get a custom made Starbucks card, load it up online with money, and use it when I went to Starbucks. I could even set up for it to reload automatically when I run low on funds. I’ve had this card for 2 years now and never use cash or debit for my Starbucks purchases. In return for using it, if I use it so many times, I can earn points and rewards, which is a win-win situation. There’s other places that have similar concepts, like Juice It Up, a local smoothie shop, and Subway.
This could be a great way to budget. You put an amount of money on your gift card for the store of choice, and only use that much money when you visit. It’s easy to keep track of where your money is going, and at the end of the month you can see how much you spend and where you spend it a lot easier. You still have to be diligent about staying within the budget you put on your card, otherwise you’ll still be paying out of pocket for things. Another con is that your wallet can be filled with cards if you go overboard.
If we went ahead and implemented this plan, I think we would get cards for:
- 99 Cents Store
- Juice It Up
- Giveaway: 2 – $50 IHOP Gift Cards (livingrichwithcoupons.com)
- MoneyNing Stimulus – T.J. Maxx Gift Card and More Giveaway (moneyning.com)
- A New Way to Shop and Save: Extreme Gift Carding (dailyfinance.com)
I just discovered this trick, and I love it! I buy gift cards at Cardpool.com to use on my normal purchases. This can save me up to 10% on my normal purchases!
Ooh good idea Christa! And if it saves additional money I’m all for it.
Its an interesting concept, especially when you can buy discounted gift cards from websites… you just have to still be diligent not to loose the cards & not to forget the balances on each one…
For me, we don’t shop a whole lot (we try and avoid it), but it would be a big mess between the two of us since sometimes I do the shopping, and sometimes my husband does and we’d only have one gift card so we’d have to keep passing it back and forth to one another…
It would be awesome if there were gift cards for everywhere we go/shop but there aren’t 🙁 I guess we could always get the Visa ones.
I actually think buying gift vouchers is a great idea because at least once you have loaded the money on the card, it becomes your budget in a way.
I would advocate this especially for young women when it comes to shopping for clothes and shoes.
Yes this would be an awesome way to shop for clothes & shoes. I don’t shop for them as much anymore but oh if I did haha.