What didn't work:
- My spending at various stores is somewhat inconsistent
There is one store where I spend the majority of my grocery money, and another where I buy the majority of my specialty items. However, I don't spend the same proportion of the total at each store regularly. Depending on what I'm planning to cook in the upcoming week or two, I may need more items from the specialty store. Additionally, sometimes my local grocer has a great sale on a few items that I want to purchase. Because store fliers usually are only published weekly, I wouldn't know at the beginning of a given month whether or not I'd be buying 18 pounds of butter three weeks later.
- Two words: cheap(er) gas
While no gas is cheap these days (we're up over $3.75 a gallon here), I do generally look to buy gas at the lowest price available. Often that's at one of two local stations, but sometimes there will be a better deal somewhere else. I really didn't like the idea that I'd have to pay more for gas, just because I didn't have the right card.
- Generic gift cards come with fees
I had considered purchasing a portion of my budget in basic Visa or American Express gift cards to deal with some of the issues above. Unfortunately, for a $50 card, I'd have to pay a $3-$5 activation fee. I wasn't willing to spend up to 10% of my budget for the privilege of using my own money.
Check out more cautionary tales at this week's special WFMW: What DOESN'T Work For Me.