I broke my no-buying lunch streak…

Back in October, I came up with two realistic goals to help me meet my savings/debt goals as well as flexibility with unexpected holiday purchases. The goals were: 1) don’t eat out for lunch and 2) don’t buy any clothes until 2010. Well my no-buying clothes goal was sadly broken a few weeks later, but I have done very well with my no-eating-out-for-lunch goal and had my first 2010 meal yesterday.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I paid for my first 2010 meal yesterday. I have eaten out at least once a week this month at Subway, but I don’t count it because I was using a gift card I got from the family I babysit. Yesterday was the first day I actually spent my own money on lunch at the delicioso Chipotle.

It got me thinking though: what if I buy myself gift cards to my favorite restaurants as my “eat-out” budget for the month or the next few months? I rarely eat at fast food places for dinner, but it’s convenient for weekday lunches since we only get a 30-minute break. I could even do this with my clothing budget or buy gift cards for when I go to the movies.

Has anyone bought gift cards for yourself to help keep your budget under control?

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  • I too have considered this but never actually went through with it. It makes sense. I did it a couple of times with a Starbucks card. I have a friend who has tons of gift cards that she uses all of the time.

  • I’ve done that before! It’s too easy for me to step across the street to the Wendy’s/Tim Horton’s that we have so the gift cards help keep that in check! By keeping track of what’s left on the card each time, I can plan ahead for when I need to bring lunches, or just use it as an backup for when I do *forget* my brown bag.

  • I thought about this with Starbucks, since thats really my only weakness when I remember my lunc most of the time. I recieved a giftcard also from the family I babysit and since it’s almost done being used up, I’ve been considering it. Like a set amount, like 20 a mth and if it’s gone I must brew my own. :)

  • I do that every month with Starbucks for my coffee budget. With coffee shops on every corner downtown, I am able to resist impluses since I have to make the card last. Love it! Plus I don’t get all of those receipts clogging up my wallet.

  • Hmm I’ve never done that before! I think it would only work for places I KNEW I’d visit (like a regular coffee shop, etc.) because my food tastes vary all the time!

  • I did that once to control my clothes spending. I bought the gift cards at a discount (off ebay, for roughly 80% of the actual value of the cards), and then that was what I could spend on clothes for the next few months.

    I got them at a discount, so that helped me stretch the budget even further. The only bad thing is you limit yourself to just one store, or in you case, just a handful of restaurants.

  • I do it with Starbucks. I know I can go crazy there, but I don’t go that often. I put $25 on it for a busy month, less for quieter months. It allows me to buy what I want without feeling guilty, which is nice.