the plastic files.

3 02 2011

first and foremost, i would like to apologize for not posting yesterday. i am still getting the hang of the daily posting gig, and also drank one too many bourbons after a particularly rough day and ended up face down on the couch at 8:30 instead of  writing my post. i repent. also, i am hungover as hell today- so my body is repenting too. but on to the promised content!

so i am very proud to say that a year has come and gone, and i have not used my credit cards even once. i did have to borrow money from the boyfriend on a couple of occasions, and i did certainly have more than a few months of barely scraping by (including and especially this one), but it still feels like progress to me. am i delusional? is learning to control my finances a gradual evolution, or should i have figured my shit out by now? i worry that it’s like being an alcoholic, where i either need to quit cold turkey or never get better…

as usual, i still have dreams and hopes of getting a tighter grip on my money and finally making a bigger dent in my debt this year. i’m still way behind from xmas and more other random unexpected shit (burst pipe!), but i’ve started a new habit to help defray at least a little of any future emergency money madness: i have become a gift card hoarder.

usually after xmas, i take any gift cards i might have and rush my little ass to the mall and spend spend spend…  but this year i promised myself that i would hold on to them for a bit and see what happened.  i have also amassed a few more from rebates and online surveys (i’ve had great luck with these guys), and my cache is looking quite tidy (see above). here’s my master plan:

1. break glass on gift card hoard when i actually need something practical, but don’t have room for it in the budget (underwear! condoms! life saving medication!).

2. use gift cards when urge to shop becomes so overpowering that aneurysm (or possibly loss of bladder control) is a possible side effect.

3. use gift cards as gifts, or to buy other people gifts when unexpected birthdays, anniversaries, bar mitzvahs crop up (and the bastards ALWAYS DO).

4. use gift cards as rewards for debt payoff benchmarks. i’m $478 from being below $8,000 on my worst card, and a little celebration could be in order when i get there.

when i say it out loud, it seems like sort of a stupid tiny plan that can’t possibly have any real effect on my financial big picture… but that tidy little stack of cards is an asset (albeit a tiny one), and i need to figure out how to juice as much out of it as i possibly can.

any other creative ideas for gift cards out there?  or what about places online to earn freebies?



11 responses

3 02 2011

I usually sell my giftcards, well the few I don’t have a need for. On most sites like, plastic jungle, I might make $24 from a $30 giftcard. Just a thought

5 02 2011

oooh. i’ve never tried that before, but GOOD CALL. next time i’m strapped for cash, i’ll definitely be giving that a try!

3 02 2011
The Dealer

Husband and I bought at least 3 wedding gifts with the Macy’s gift cards/returned 2009 Christmas gifts last year. We have at least $110 in Macy’s credit from this year, and everyone seems to register at Macy’s (not sure why) so I’m keeping them for wedding season 2011. I have to say I do love gift cards as gifts, and am unfortunately becoming addicted to the Groupon/dealitious offers coming my way on a daily basis…dangerous.

5 02 2011

registering at macy’s seems so old school! do people even pick out china patterns anymore? on the upside, the majority of my friends are single or against marriage as an institution, so i don’t have to worry too much about wedding season. i’m just starting to get hooked on groupon… DANGEROUS TERRITORY!

4 02 2011

we do the same thing! actually, s does and it’s rubbing off on me. my dad has a few credit cards for his business (whoo, being a small business owner runs in the fam!), and used his reward points to buy a giant stack of gift cards for awesome things (amazon, b&n, home depot, etc) which he put in everyone’s stockings this christmas. like you, my usual plan is to go out and SPEND SPEND SPEND on things i don’t need, but s saves everything. he has a “buy 9 get 1” piercing card from a place in philly that he hasn’t been to in 5 years, but he still holds onto it. just in case. piles of cards.

so now i have a pile of cards that i’m not using! it feels nice. like when i actually find something worthy, i won’t have to spend actual money.

5 02 2011

me and the boyfriend are totally the same way! he’s super good at saving, and i super suck at it… but he inspires me to better my personal finances. although i can’t really ever see myself becoming a super-saver… i’d settle for debt free.

sounds like you got a sweet gift card haul for xmas (can you write an email to my dad re: his credit card points?). frankly, my stash is pretty sad. like $15 from amazon and $25 from macy’s are my best options. but hey, it’s still better than nothing.

5 02 2011
um…AWKWARD: the new rules of regifting. « broke 207

[…] yesterday i wrote a little post about gift cards, and i showed off my sexy little stash of paper and plastic tickets to paradise.  well, last night […]

6 02 2011

Do you do any online surveys? I like MySurvey: I usually just get my rewards in check form (and I only make $20-$30 or so a year), but it’s not a big commitment (when I’m busy, I just ignore the emails) and it’s always nice to get a little money in the mail. Just another way to make a little extra money.

9 02 2011

i’ve tried some survey sites with mixed results. my current favorite is e-rewards because their surveys tend to pay pretty well, although they essentially pay in macy’s gift cards. i’ve only done it for a few months, but i’ve already got $50 worth of cards, and am about half way to another $25. i will most definitely check out mysurvey though. extra cash is always a good thing!

24 03 2011
holy spring cleaning jackpot batman: an ode to free stuff. « broke 207

[…] subscription that i got for free, new product samples for testing, some  high value coupons,  a gift card i earned taking online surveys, or a party back full of condoms and vibrators… it makes my day a little more […]

15 06 2011
i try it!- danger in the kitchen laboratory. « broke 207

[…] $4 is expensive, and the $15 giftcard i had left over from xmas lasted almost about as long as it takes me to drink one of these fuckers. […]

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