The biggest part of your time will be in finding a gift card for something you need to buy anyway with a big enough discount to be worth the effort. Please don’t go broke saving money.
It took me a while. Most of our buying is at Costco (we pass it at least once a week) and we’re rewarded handsomely with two rebate checks a year. Last year’s big check was over $500.
- a physical gift card (I’ll be less apt to lose it and my printer is on the fritz right now)
- at least 5% off
- a card that would cover something we’ll buy any way
Since they weren’t offering Costco gift cards at any price, I knew I was going to be on a hunt. After several bad starts (please carefully read what you are buying – is it the type of card you want (physical, printable, etc.) for the type of purchase you want (in store only, online, etc.), I settled on a Publix card for a 5% discount. The retailer ended up being Gift Card Zen (Gift Card Granny acts as a broker between buyers and sellers).
I volunteer in Chattanooga once a week and often do a Publix run (their spicy wings in the deli are legendary here – good luck getting some on a big game day) while I’m there. The card cost $32.75 and it’s worth $34.47.
The Money Game paid for the cost of the card ($32.75) and my personal spending category paid for its value. That means I moved $34.47 from my personal spending to the Money Game category in YNAB. $1.72 profit resulted and I physically transferred $1.72 from our checking account to the Money Game savings account.
I’ll report again when the card gets here and I’ll check the value of the card and report that too. If this works, I can see using this process for clothing, makeup, our Whole Foods runs and ToysRUs. It “almost” makes me wish we eat out as there are lots of restaurant gift cards to be had.
The website says it will take up to 10 days to actually receive the gift card. I’ll keep you posted. As an update (I write for this blog and then schedule posts in advance) I got an email the next day on the 26th saying my card had shipped.
Does it seem like a lot of work to earn $1.72? Yes and no. I chose a smaller card to figure out their system and to learn how this process works. If I made a mistake, I wanted it to be with a smaller amount of money. Now that I understand the process, it will be a lot easier to reorder and naturally I’ll get the largest amount offered that we will actually use on a normal basis. At this point, it feels like free money in exchange for some clicks and a willingness to wait for my card to arrive.
A parting thought: Do you see why it’s important to have a tool like YNAB to track your budget categories? Otherwise, I’d just be getting a little more food in my tummy (not needed trust me) instead of more dollars in our bank account. If you want to play the Money Game, it starts with a good budget system.