Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, hoping to become in some way ‘better’ this year.  According to Statista, 51% of American’s planning to make a New Year’s resolution want to work on managing finances better.  It ties for the #1 resolution with eating healthier.

Gift cards are a great tool to help manage finances. Let’s dive into some top tips you can easily implement this year to become a ‘better’ you.  

    Manage Your Grocery Purchasing. Let’s face it, your grocery bill is a big chunk of where your money goes each month. After looking at your overall budget, decide what your monthly allotment for food, specifically grocery. To easily stay on track, purchase a gift card to your most common retailer. For me, I would purchase a $200 Kroger gift card. You can keep this in your wallet or most digital wallets such as Apple Pay allow you to add the gift card to the app. Balances can be kept on most payment apps as well which allows you to easily understand how much money is on the card and how much you can use on each shopping trip. Each month you can reload these cards in-store. If you did a great job of managing your budget, roll any extra money forward but don’t go over your initial budget. For example, if you had $9.50 left on your card, only add $190.50 for next month. This will bring you back to your original budget of $200. 

      Manage your guilty pleasure.  All of us have guilty pleasures and it’s okay to keep these. BUT…you can’t break the bank either. Go back to that overall budget and figure out a reasonable expense for let’s say your latte. Use the same technique for managing your grocery bill and go purchase a gift card for that monthly amount. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Start your guilty pleasure back up the next month.

        Save money by purchasing gift cards that are on sale.  You might not know, but many national merchants put their gift cards on sale.  Sites like buygiftcards.com offer gift card promotions from time to time.  Another approach is to check the retailer’s website.  Sometimes merchants don’t promote it on the homepage so click on the gift card area to find their deals.  If there is a store you frequent, keep your eye open for a deal and save yourself $5 or $10.

          Stack your discounts by using gift cards.  For those self-proclaimed bargain shoppers (including myself), go purchase a digital or plastic gift card on sale then use it on sale merchandise for yourself or others. You get two discounts instead of one! An example might be getting a $50 Nike gift card that comes with a bonus $10 gift card. For $50, I get $60 in money and can use the $60 on sale items, clearance shoes or shop at the outlet.  Make your money go further for you.

            Use your reward points for gift cards. Make sure your money is always working for you through loyalty programs. If you have a credit card, make sure it is a part of a loyalty program. Same with hotels and airlines. All of these programs allow you to redeem points for gift cards. It’s a great way to also fund your guilty pleasures, trips or just everyday items. For example, I recently turned in credit card points for a Hotels.com gift card. We are putting this toward our Spring Break excursion.

            Use Gift Cards To Help Budget