Alright friends, let’s talk a little about our spending habits. No matter how much we focus on cutting down costs, frugal living and trying to churn our own butter, sometimes we still have to buy things.
Maybe it’s just the bare essentials.
Maybe it’s Starbucks (trust me, I’m not judging).
There are some things in our budgets that we’re just not willing to wiggle on.
Sometimes I need coffee.
Sometimes I need cold medicine.
The thing is though, once you know you’re spending habits, a little bit of preplanning can still help you save money getting what you want, even when it’s not 100% something you need.
The trick to these near magic savings?
Gift card selling sites.
Sites like Gift Card Karma help you save money on what you’re planning to buy anyway with barely any effort.
Here’s the trick to really make them work for you – you just need to know your spending habits a little.
This is also a great example of why it’s worth it to get a little ahead financially, because having a little bit of a spending cushion lets your pay a little extra now to save even more overall.
For instance, I’m not compromising on the fact that I’m going to buy Starbucks regularly. I don’t buy it every day. Heck, I can honestly go a few weeks without swinging by one of the iconic green and white buildings, but there are times when I really want it.
When I have to take a stupid early train into New York City to get to rehearsal on time and now have an extra 45 minutes to kill.
When I’m day four of less than five hours of sleep on a tour.
When I’m running 8,000 errands and the sweet siren song of caffeinated sugar calls out to me.
I know me. I know I’m going to go and get a cup of joe.
So by knowing my spending habits, I can make maximize my savings. I can sign up for the Starbucks rewards program and get a free coffee for every 125 stars.
I can also sync gift cards into that rewards app. So I can buy a discounted Starbucks gift card (I usually buy the highest value I can find) and start out by saving a few dollars from the get-go. It may not even be a huge discount, but for less than 5 minutes of my time, I can essentially get a free coffee. Sometimes the discount is big enough to net the equivalent of 2-3 coffees.
Let’s say you’ve slayed your sugar dragon and don’t give in when you drive past Starbucks. You still have a good idea of what essentials you need.
I’m a stage manager. I need black clothes sometimes. My favorite black clothes come from Kohl’s (they have the best black pants there – durable, comfortable and flattering).
I can pick up a discounted Kohl’s gift card and already start out a few dollars ahead for those few minutes of my time.
The best thing about discounted gift cards is that they are gift cards. Not coupons. Not some sort of voucher. They work just like cash and you can still use any coupons and loyalty programs along with them.
If you hit up the movies a lot, you can find Fandango gift cards discounted. If your family considers Applebee’s a fancy night out once a month, there’s no reason not to stock up on discounted gift cards for there.
Knowing what you spend your money on is a powerful first step to be able to maximize your savings.