Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thought Provoking Thursday

Thought Provoking Thursday

Thought Provoking Thursday's goal it to offer a new-ish perspective to saving on necessary items aside from our grocery and household needs. Each week I will bring an idea to the table to share how I personally tackle areas of my own family's spending. I am hopeful that my faithful readers will feel the freedom to offer more advice through comments below each post.


How do YOU spend your gift cards?

Me? I'm a squirreler-awayer! I LOVE to have 'Fun Money!'

Currently, our family has a collection of 39 gift cards to drug stores, department stores, restaurants, grocery stores, iTunes, movie theaters, home improvement stores and a couple of little gift cards that I have received as rebates. Isn't it interesting that some companies are now sending rebates in the form of credit rather than a check.

I've written about rebates before, and how our family saves each rebate check throughout the year and saves the money for Christmas gifts. Since I earmark rebate money received for our end of the year spending, I had a hard time knowing exactly what to do when a rebate credit card was sent instead of the typical check.

At the very beginning of the year (January, I think) I purchased two Oil of Olay products and earned a $15 rebate card. (You know me, I purchased the products with store rewards so that I would earn the $15 rebate FREE and clear of my own finances!). A few weeks after mailing my rebate information, I received my rebate card... and I sat on it.

It is pretty typical for me to want to hold on to my 'Fun Money' until the last possible spending moment, just to ensure that I am purchasing something that I really want. And so I waited until the week of August 31 (the rebate card's expiration date) to make my final $15 spending decision. (Its one of my quirks, sorry!).

My thought, when I first received the rebate card, was to purchase items that I would earn rebate checks from- so I'd still be placing that money in our rebates received account, but that proved harder to do than I had anticipated. I felt like the summer season was a bit dry for 'good' rebates.

Then I considered purchasing diapers (it goes without saying that I'd match a sale with coupons... right?), or something else to lessen our families 'real money' spending. I just couldn't find the 'prefect deal! (Hello quirk!!!)'

So finally, I settled on purchasing a $15 Walgreen's gift card (since I have plenty from CVS from transferring prescriptions). I decided that spending the $15 a little bit at a time was better than blowing the funds on just another something.

So my Walgreen's gift card now allows me to spend my rebate money without the pressure of an expiration date! And true to form, I just began spending my August purchased gift card last week!

I've posted about purchasing glucose monitors to donate- especially when you are able to purchase the monitor for FREE after a coupon + you can earn store reward money (Extra Care Bucks at CVS and Register Rewards at Walgreens'). Last week I spent $.90 (tax) from my Walgreen's gift card on a glucose monitor and then earned $5 in store rewards.

And since Register Rewards are actually Manufacturer's coupons, I spent my Register reward money at the grocery store, and purchased ground beef for our family. *NOTE: not all stores will accept the Register Reward from Walgreen's even though it specifically states that it is a Manufacturer's coupon. Ask your grocery store manager the next time you are shopping in your store. I have had luck with Meijer grocery stores, in fact the Walled Lake, MI location is my favorite!

So here is the quick chain of events:
1. Spend store reward money to purchase rebatable items... $0
2. Earn a $15 credit card... +$15
3. Purchase a store gift card with the rebate card... +$15
4. Purchase an item, pay the tax (- $.90)... +$14.10
5. Earn store reward money from the purchase... = +$19.10
6. Spend store reward money on meat, an item that makes a larger financial impact on our grocery spending. (Hmmm, my quirk payed off!)

The moral of this story is to encourage you to become a thoughtful spender. Don't just run out and spend your gift card (or even store reward money for that matter) on the first item that you set your eyes on. My early in the year purchasing allowed my late in the year meat buying for my family.

Are you looking to just buy stuff, or are you looking to spend less on the items that your family consumes?

19 comments:

Anonymous

Aacckk, I spend them almost immediately! I usually spend them on things needed for the family, but I like your idea much better. How nice it will be next holiday season if I have saved my rebate money.

I have to get more organized about rebates, though. I buy the items but have only sent away for rebates a handful of times; I often forget because I do not have them organized and then they expire. Any help from you or your faithful followers?


PAM

Laura Webber

I'll dedicate a post to that... although I am not perfectly organized myself!

Anonymous

That would be great, Laura...thanks so much!

PAM

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