Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Holiday Shopping Via Gift Card, A Frugal Move!

Gift cards and the winter holidays are a common combination.  Most people think of the relationship being give a gift card, but not here in our frugal home.  I use gift cards to give.  For example, last week I finally used a $50 gift card I was given in September 2011.  Yes, it was two years old.  Tacked safely to my bulletin board in the kitchen, it was safe until I finally had the time to make the trek to Paoli (a small town outside of Madison) where the gallery was located.  $50 in the gallery would not buy all that much, a mug (a single mug) or a pair of earrings.  None were items I needed.  What I did find were two holiday ornaments for our children and a small light weight gift (no details since the recipient may read this) that will ship with ease to an island in the Pacific.  Essential purchases for my holiday traditions, all at no cost to our budget because I strategically used a gift card.  So this holiday season, flip the view on gift cards.  Are there any taking up space in your wallet or bag?  If so, ponder how you can use them to stretch your budget.  A few points to keep in mind:

  • keep your gift cards in one, visible location (bulletin board, dish on your dresser, section of your wallet);
  • know if you the gift card will expire or loose value after a point in time -- highlight this fact;
  • consider using gift cards for date nights or entertainment you would otherwise pay for out of pocket;
  • can you use the card to buy food items (i.e. gourmet candies, jellies, sauces, etc.); and
  • what does the store sell that you might be able to purchase as a gift for a loved one.
Sorry for the lack of pictures.  The cable that allows me to take photos off of my phone has went missing, and I'm not inclined to order one.  It will turn up one day.  Until then photos may be limited -- my camera phone is always with me, but my Nikon is often tucked away.  And of course, I have the cable for the Nikon, just not the phone.  Oh well, adjusting my habits and not stretching the budget.  That is a key to frugal living.

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