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October 20, 2010 09:50 PM

Gift Card Budgeting

Sioux Falls, SD

With the holiday season fast approaching, you may be trying to figure out the best way to budget for it. One way is through gift cards; not giving them, but using them.

With two daughters in private school, one way Sunday Roozenboom cuts down on tuition is through buying gift cards.

"We actually have an envelope, a business-sized envelope front and back that has all different businesses.  They all have percentages they give back and then we bank it for our tuition," Roozenboom said.

While it's saved Roozenboom hundreds of dollars a year in tuition, there's another benefit that anyone can bank on. Gift cards help her family stick to a budget.

"I try to budget out kind of, I order them every week or two weeks. I try to think what birthday presents I've got that week, what school functions, special anniversaries you have that week, go out to a special restaurant," Roozenboom said.

With everything from gas to groceries to home improvement projects, Roozenboom figures out ahead of time what she's going to spend and then sticks to that amount.

"I actually try not to spend unless I have a gift card. I pretty much carry that right with my credit card.  Put all my gift cards in there and stick close to that," Roozenboom said.

Roozenboom has only encountered one problem living on a gift card budget.

"The only downfall, not a lot of businesses do it, but if you don't use it within a certain time frame, they'll have a service fee. Once in awhile leave on bottom of purse," Roozenboom said.

But Roozenboom says the benefits outweigh any downfall.

"I have to say there are not too many times when I will say I'm all out of gift cards. Most times I'm able to cover everything with gift cards," Roozenboom said.

Keep in mind that gift cards are less secure than debit or credit cards because if you lose the card, it's just like losing cash.

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