By: Revanche

The Great Wallet CleanOut

February 25, 2008

In an attempt to divert my attention from the budget that’s bleeding red, I went through my wallet and pared out items that didn’t have to be in there anymore.

I also made a list of the gift cards I have, and the amounts left on them, so I’d have a better idea of what cards I should redeem rewards points for and where I’ll be allowed to spend money. As a bonus, cataloging the money I DO have helps make me feel less financially restricted.

Ann Taylor (Loft)
Banana Republic
Linens ‘n’ Things — hoarding for my new vacuum, or magazine racks
Victoria’s Secret

It might be a tad bit neurotic, but I feel the need to carry all the cards with me, all the time, because I might happen upon a good sale at a store on my Yes, You May Shop Here list. Since I didn’t carry my wallet during the Vegas trip, I passed up visits to Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret and Banana Republic.

My hot gift card management tip of the day:

If you’re not going to use up an entire gift card right away, or hoard them as I do, stick a post-it on the back of it to keep track of the dates and amounts left so that you don’t have to keep the receipts with the card. Voila! Less paper in your wallet! I keep the receipt if there’s a survey attached that gives me a discount.

Going through receipts, I realized that I never submitted the phone surveys at the end of a couple of Victoria’s Secret receipts so I dug through my receipt envelope to find and give them a go. Not only were the surveys still valid, the coupon is good for three months from the date of the survey submission, not from the date of purchase. Now I have two $10 off $50 purchase coupons, valid until 5/24/08.

If it’s not blindingly obvious, I’m still addicted to my cash-maximization habits left over from my college days. If there are any stores that I like for personal shopping, I look for gift cards, coupons/discounts to combine with sales. I’ll do whatever advance planning it takes to avoid using my own money out of pocket:) This is a great way to avoid crippling the budget and saves my cash for non-gift-cardable expenses like the rent.

Now, if I could redeem for gas gift cards, I’d be in great shape. This past month, Ma/PaDucky spent over $300 on gas because she’s been seeing a new medical practitioner out in the boonies. *sigh*

2 Responses to “The Great Wallet CleanOut”

  1. Ms. M&P says:

    Good tips! I have lots of gift cards too–many with odd amounts on them, so this is definitely speaking to me!

  2. Mrs. Micah says:

    There are worse things to be addicted to than maximizing cash. I don’t always, but I’ve occasionally done the stickynote thing on gift cards. Works very well for me when I do it. 🙂

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