Katie blogged about her new goals for the month on her blog Hungary for Adventure http://hungarytrip.blogspot.com/2010/01/monthly-goals.html she mentioned that the cost of her favorite Starbuck's tea is going up, and she needs to start drinking FREE tea at home and at work instead of the yummy tempting $4+ tea at Starbuck's. Well this reminded me of MY way of not overdoing at Starbuck's (now that I am addicted again thanks to the fairly new Caramel Brulee Lattes they evil-ly concocted with malicious intent to snare people like me who finally were "over it" (it being Starbuck's.)
So I Tweeted this:
If you put say $20 on the gift card then you set the rule that you can only pay at Starbuck's with the gift card. So when your gift card is empty... no more Starbuck's for you until next month when you can load your card again. Easy designated budgeting. And you can even have roll-over dollars if you want to (or splurge if someone gifts you a card.) This idea is part of the natural progression of my way of looking at gift cards that I recieve as gifts, if I use a gift card, then it's "free!" and I don't have to feel guilty about getting Starbuck's.
Now to take this gift card budgeting concept backward to its origin. I have a child with a December birthday and then there is Christmas & I often am entertaining guests for Thanksgiving. We have a LOT more things going on in December. In some past years between hubby & I both gift-buying... (or hubby deciding to pay Jan. mortgage early for a tax break) well anyway some years there has been a breakdown of communication & I have had to get VERY creative to come up with groceries for the Christmas dinner... It hasn't happened in quite a while but I tend to have anxiety about it every year. SO while discussing this with a friend she came up with the BEST idea. Why don't you just buy a Kroger gift card occasionally during months when you don't use the full budgeted grocery money... and set it aside for the holiday grocery shopping (or other rainy day.) BRILLIANT!!!
I have a tendency to plan to do things for myself, then feel guilty about spending the time or money & not doing it. For example: I have not had a pedicure in probably 10 months and I live in Houston where we wear nothing but flip-flops 8 months out of the year. I wait WAY too long before having my hair cut and getting back to cover the grey roots... I just seem to have trouble allowing myself to take care of myself. I think this is a common Mommy problem.
I usually don't work during the summer months, so I have lots of time to do fun things (with my child because no family to leave him with) but no income coming in to fund activities. In the past when I have put aside money for myself for summer activities I usually end up using it on other things that come up. This year I'm getting gift cards for the lunch spot where I meet the girls from work & the movie theatre... the things I always want to do in summer... but feel guilty about spending money on. Yes budgeting for these things would work... if I would let myself have them... but the gift cards will be better for me... because gift cards are money already spent that you can't get back... and I can't buy a Wii game (or an educational book) with a gift card for the nail place so I won't feel guilty about it.
Dear My Hubby: I own a Kindle. It would be really really nice to have an Amazon gift card for buying new books guilt-free.