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:

  1. Target
  2. Albertsons
  3. 99 Cents Store
  4. Amazon
  5. Juice It Up
These are places I/we go pretty often so having a budget already set will help us keep in mind that we should watch what we put in our basket, or how often we make trips.
Would you consider the gift card method as a budgeting tool? Where would you get gift cards to?
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