Everyone has a budget to stick to, and it's important to set a little aside for entertainment. A great way to avoid overspending is to buy gift cards for yourself.
Picture: Arvind Grover/Flickr
These days, gift cards are available for just about every store and service imaginable. From music and books to food and phone calls — you name it, there's probably a gift card for it. Despite the name, you do not need to give them away. Decide how much money you want to spend on different forms of entertainment for the month ahead, stock up on the appropriate cards, and you can spend without worrying about going over budget.
This is just one of the tips the financial planners at LearnVest have to share:
For small costs that can quickly add up over time — like that daily Starbucks habit or iTunes purchases — consider buying yourself a gift card and load it with a set, budgeted amount at the start of each month. Then go ahead and enjoy those lattes, scones or apps until your card runs out.
It's a great idea if you find it difficult to stick to mental budgets you set. Leave your debit card at home and just take your gift card with you — the temptation to run to the ATM instantly vanishes.
Anything you don't spend will automatically roll over to the next month, leaving you more to enjoy! Don't forget that some gift cards have an expiration date, so make sure you use them up before then. It's also worth noting that some cards devalue if you don't use them, and there is also the risk that a particular company might go out of business.