Wednesday, April 25
Works for Me: Budgeting with Gift Cards
Adam and I have been fighting with our budget for about as long as we've been married. The problem is, the numbers will work on paper, but in real life we find it much harder to be disciplined about how much we're spending--especially when we use our debit card.
I've tried the cash envelope method (all the cash you are budgeted to spend for groceries or gas in an envelope and when the cash is gone, you're done buying) but that really didn't work well for me. I kept borrowing and lending cash back and forth between envelopes and I never knew quite what to do with all the coins.
But then I was at dinner with Dawn earlier this week and she talked about her Starbucks card that she would reload at the beginning of every month to keep track of her coffee habit. Suddenly it occurred to me that many places have gift cards, in fact, all of my regular grocery/gas/baby/etc. stores offer gift cards. What if, instead of messing with coins and envelopes, I just went to the store at the beginning of every month and bought a gift card in the amount of my monthly budget?
I should qualify this tip with the notice that I haven't actually tried it yet, so I only think it would work in theory, but I liked the idea so much I thought I'd share now rather than a few months from now. I will definitely update in a few months with a review of how it's been going.
UPDATE: It didn't work for me! Here's the post explaining why.
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