Birthday success (and how it impacted my money jar)!

Before leaving for dinner, I grabbed $80 from the money jar. Dinner ended up totaling $83.89 after tax, before tip – two drinks, one appetizer, two entrees, and four mini-dessert “shots”. Not too shabby! I used the $25 pre-paid credit card I got for the holidays from my boss and used cash for the rest, including tip. In the end, I spent the gift card and $80, putting the remaining $5 in my money jar. It definitely could’ve been worse, and here’s how:

  • I could’ve gotten a second drink, but didn’t.
  • I could’ve done valet parking, but didn’t.
  • I could’ve gotten a cappucino, but instead I made coffee when we returned home.

I was definitely pleasantly surprised at my self-control, and – bonus! – we had a damn good time. So, because I didn’t touch my weekly money (just the jar)…

Weekly Allowance: $60.00
Weekly Allowance Remaining: $55.84

But…

Previous Total in Money Jar: $142.08
Spent from Money Jar: $80.00
Total in Money Jar: $62.08

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Taking inventory.

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That is $280 of gift cards, all of which I received over the holidays. As excited as I am as my brain screams, “Holy cow! Money! Money that doesn’t come from my allowance! YESYESYESYESYES!“… I have to stop that right now.

I’m thankful for the family and friends who had gotten these for me, and I know they want me to spend them as I want, but I need to let these last. There’s $75 worth of Amazon money, but that’s not exactly the $1900 I spent on the site last year.

Like most consumers do (I assume), I’d spend a gift card as follows:

1) Walk into store.
2) Pick out items, regardless of what my gift card’s value is.
3) Check out, using gift card.
4) Spend, out of pocket, far more than the gift card’s value was in the first place.

I can’t be alone in this, can I? I don’t think it’s a surprise that gift cards can lead to overspending when, in reality, they should lessen the out-of-pocket spending… right? This is one of the many things I’m going to be teaching myself this year!

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Well, on New Years Day I spent some time rearranging my wallet, putting all of my gift cards in there and hiding my credit cards in slots that won’t put them in my face every time I open it. I emptied out my change pocket so that I’d truly be starting fresh, and just put the $34 for the short week where the cash is. Now I feel really ready.

Weekly Allowance: $34.00

Weekly Allowance Remaining: $34.00

J