I think of my debit card as a necessary enabler. Without it, I wouldn’t really be able to buy anything online but with it, I spend a little too much. This gross overspending is something that very quickly goes out of control as often, the numbers on my bank records don’t seem quite as real as cold, hard cash – and that’s a problem. It makes it hard to save money.
Not only that, but the process of taking money out of your bank account and shoving it into the bank of your favourite shopping site takes, at the most, five minutes. All you need to do is type in your credit card numbers and voila! Instant purchase and regrettable bank drainage. It’s a slow descent into massive bills and a diminishing bank account.
If this is an issue for you, but you don’t know how to fix it – I honestly recommend that you unlink your credit card from your favourite shopping websites, and consider investing in gift cards instead. Here are a few reasons why:
1 They Give You A Budget
Having a budget is a sign that you’re organised. That you know what you want to buy, and how much money you have to spend on it. But that doesn’t always mean that the new Stephen King book* (for example) isn’t calling out to you. More often than we’d like, extra items get added to our cart and BOOM, our budget is blown to smithereens.
Decimating budgets is a lot harder when you literally only have your budget to work with. That’s where gift cards come in. Gift cards let you make your own budget, and force you to stick to them. Got a $30 budget to spend on clothes? Now you can only buy the Margaret Check Dress that you’ve been wanting, instead of piling your cart high with extras that were impulse buys and, in the long run, will probably only wear once.
2 You Can Keep Track of Your Purchases
There are no invoices, but you do get amount updates. Whenever you spend money using a gift card, online or in real life, you should get an update on how much cash you have left. After all, you were the one who chose the value in the first place.
Sometimes this can be a little frustrating when you realise that you’ve got 0.50c that you can’t really spend on anything, but it is possible to use your credit card in conjuncture with gift cards. I know that sounds like this is contradicting my earlier point, but the point of having a rigid budget is that it makes you think about what you’re spending your money on. With gift cards, you feel more pressure to stick to your budget.
3 Used As A Gift
What happens if, suddenly, the store that you were in love with last week, no longer suits your fancy? Maybe you’re a vegan and your favourite vegan cheese brand has merged with a company who tests on animals, or maybe a clothing store no longer fits your certain style.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, it would make sense to regift. However, that can be a little difficult. Cheese might be a little difficult to gift unless you plan on creating a hamper of vegan goodies. Clothes are a little easier, unless the person whose birthday it is, happens to be 5 sizes larger than you.
It’s a lot easier with a gift card. When you give someone a voucher, they can pick out anything that they want! Some people dislike giving gift cards because it feels impersonal, but you can personalise the hell out of it if you really wanted to. Go to their website and curate a list of things that you think they will love, point out some of the best deals in a thoughtful card or find some items that look like designer dupes. The possibilities are endless!
Would you ever use gift cards to help yourself save a little money? Why or why not?
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