The Gift-Card-Only Budget Saved $206 in One Month

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In an earlier Q&A, Ashley Grimaldo, a stay-at-home mom from Texas, told us all about her experiment paying her family’s expenses exclusively using gift cards. The cards, she says, helped her maintain a budget, and since she bought them at online marketplaces for less than face value, they also saved her money. How much? At the end of one gift-card-only month—with no cash, no credit or debit cards—her savings total came to $206.29.

GiftCardGranny, where Grimaldo blogged about her month-long, money-saving challenge, just published an infographic highlighting the results. Ashley managed to save about 10% on all of her discount-gift-card enhanced purchases, and she saved the most on gifts (23%). Doing the math, if Grimaldo were to continue on her savings path, the site says she would save more than $2,500 a year—and well over $300K over 40 years if all that savings was invested.

The infographic also includes this totally awesome Grandma with a rocket-propelled walker:

Of course, when looking closely at some of the places where Grimaldo used gift cards—including Red Lobster, Chili’s, Chipotle, and other restaurants—her family could save even more by simply cooking at home. Eating out at a discount is one of those money-saving strategies that don’t really save money because the bottom line is that you’re spending more than you would have otherwise by just staying home. Then again, if you’re staying home, you’ve got to find the time to shop and cook—and you’re the one who has to clean up.

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