Take The Gift Card Challenge With Evelyn

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Evelyn's hand holding assorted gift cards.

Evelyn has a fistful of dollars … sort of.

I’ve been thinking of ways to curb costs (what’s new?), and since I can’t bear to part with my cable provider just yet, I thought focusing on my impulse buys would be a great start.

Then, after some quick cleaning in my old bedroom at my parents’ house, I discovered a treasure trove to help me take on this challenge: a fat stack of gift cards!

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Though I’ve used these cards in the past, I know there’s money remaining on them—and those balances could add up. Gift cards never expire (usually), and you can typically use them at any location for a business. Cha-ching!

We all know those people who have a coupon for EVERYTHING. I’ve never been one of them, but with this newfound bundle of gift cards, I feel the same thrill of “sitting on money.” Now, the challenge becomes how long I can stay seated on that money.

My New Spending Plan

As long as there’s gas in my car, I’m the queen of swinging through the drive thru, or strolling through the clearance aisles for that completely necessary burger patty molder. So, starting now, and running through however long it takes me to empty the balance, I will reach for a gift card before my debit card.

The balances range from $25 at the University of Texas Co-op (Longhorn gear, y’all!), to $10 at Walmart, and 95 cents at Sonic. (Really, how much does a cherry limeade slush cost anyway?)

Since I have to use a gift card before my debit card, I might be less likely to buy things impulsively. Have to make wise use of those balances!

To add a second stipulation, I’ll make the debit card the final resort—I should be able to cover any remaining costs with loose change. If I don’t have the extra $1.50 in change around to top off my Whataburger combo, I will not indulge!

Join Me!

How much money are you “sitting on”? Do you have a jar of quarters at home but still pull out your debit card for Starbucks? Well, take this challenge on with me. It might be ridiculous, but I encourage you to join in.

I’ll report back my results, however inspiring or depressing they may be, and you should do the same. At least it will get us thinking about our finances in a fun, new way.

You know how the saying goes—waste not, want not!

Will you take the challenge with Evelyn? Let us know how you’re doing in the comments!

(Photo: Evelyn Ngugi)

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