Using Gift Cards as a Budgeting Tool


(Make sure you scroll to the bottom for a gift card giveaway!)

Money and budgeting is always an issue that lives in everyone’s life, even if they do it well. I have counselled people before but have never written about gift cards being a great budgeting tool! So when I received an opportunity to do a sponsored post on the subject, I jumped on it!

One of the biggest benefits of gift cards is that it causes you to operate in a method similar to the long standing, ever popular envelope budgeting systems. It is a super easy system. You decide how much you are going to spend in a category (and yes, Starbucks is its own category;) and put that into the envelope. Then when the envelope is empty, you are done spending. You can do it weekly, monthly, or how ever you budget.

It is very easy to use gift cards in the same manner. Want to get a hold of your coffee expenditure? Then buy a gift card to carry in your wallet. Then there is no exceptions to be made! When it is empty, it is empty. Movie tickets, lunch at your favorite spot? All can be helped with gift cards.

There are other reasons for you to prepay for gift cards too! Certain restaurants run gift card deals through the year where if you buy a card they will give you a bonus gift card. I know one my husband did was $50 got him a $50 gift card and an additional $15 card that had to be used a specific month.

Gift cards can also go on sale! I know on Black Friday I always see iTunes gift card deals at a variety of places. Also Safeway/Vons often give you double or quadruple gas points on any gift card purchase. You can even get gift cards at a discount on sites like Plastic Jungle!

Another great gift card deal is Starbucks. Keep reloading your gift card and with every 10 purchases you get a free one! And you get a free one on your birthday too. I think more merchants are going to be going in this route in the future.

But that can lead to a lot of gift cards and that is where GoWallet comes in. You can consolidate those gift cards in one easy to manage location with GoWallet. GoWallet allows you to organize your gift cards online or on your mobile device and you don’t have to carry all those cards around with you. (make sure to check which stores because some will demand the plastic card) At one quick glance you can see how much the balance is on your cards, even buy more cards right through the app. Registration is free, why not give it a try and give gift card budgeting a spin?

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and feelings are mine!!!

17 thoughts on “Using Gift Cards as a Budgeting Tool”

  1. I always thought of gift cards as just freebies. This shows a new way of looking at it. It certainly helps with the budget.

  2. I try to spend gift cards on things I would buy anyways, if possible. That way, I save and put the difference into my savings account.

  3. I wouldn’t overspend unless it was for tax but it would help me try not to overspend what i have loaded on a card

  4. I buy my husband and myself Starbucks gift cards so that we can treat ourselves without going overboard. I buy them at Vons instead of Starbucks or directly on our app that way we also get the gas credit from it so it’s doubly good.

  5. I try and use gift cards to go out to eat. This keeps us from going out too much if I don’t have many gift cards 🙂

  6. A gift card is a great way to restrain spending. If you budget out a $30 gift card per grocery trip you would eliminate impulse buys.

  7. With a gift care you only have a certain amount to spend so you have to shop wisely so when I have a gift card I normally check online first for what I want to spend the money on to see what’s on sale and when I go to the store, I go straight for what I saw online at the price that matches what my gift card is worth.

  8. Our local grocery store runs a promotion every few months – if you buy $100 worth of gift cards (there are usually 5 or 6 national retailers to choose from) you also get a $20 gift card to the grocery store. I only buy the gift cards from retailers I would go to anyway – so I get $20 in free groceries for spending money I would have spent anyway.

  9. I have thought about doing this several times. My son’s preschool had a fundraising program called Script and it raising money through gift card sales. Now his kindergarten is doing the same thing. I may need to give it a go. Thanks for posting!

  10. Gift cards are great for staying on budget because they are only good for a certain amount and if you don’t bring cash or another form of payment, you can’t spend more than you intended. Thanks.

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