Oh, sure it’s all fun when I’m tapping the credit card in exchange for gifts that you just know everyone is going to really love. Until the bill comes in January and I have to figure out how to pay.
I’ve been here more than a few times and the shops don’t make it easy. Everything is on special, the lights are shining and the shelves are just packed with present ideas. Money is always the last thing on my mind.
In fact, did you know that $1.1 billion were loaded in 2017 onto open-loop gift cards, according to a Mercator study It just shows that getting ahead of upcoming bills is on a lot of people’s minds and that’s a good thing!
Not this year though. I’m trying something new and actually budgeting myself. Of course, if I was to use my credit card it’s too easy to blindly spend.
The solution? A prepaid gift card. I picked up an ‘open loop’ gift card, which just means that it’s more like a bank card with a pre-loaded balance. ‘Closed loop’ means that it’s a store-specific gift card for places like Starbucks. This will give me enough money to spend within my means, and because it’s pre-loaded, I don’t have any bills at the end.
Open-loop prepaid cards look and function like traditional credit and debit cards at the point-of-sale and offer the same fraud and loss protections offered by the card network with a significant difference — they access funds that have been pre-loaded for a consumer by a consumer or a business.
I’ve been putting a little money aside for a few weeks now and I know how much I’ve got to spend on each person. I have my shopping list and know what I’m buying.
Another great thing about this is that I’m not stressed when I go out. I can buy some of the things online, and go and pick up the rest. I know what I’m getting and where to get it. I’m completely avoiding the in-store panic when I don’t know what to get my brother-in-law or forget that my niece wants the latest toy from Paw Patrol and absolutely NOT My Little Pony. Can you imagine the Christmas morning meltdown?
I’ve got my list and I’m checking it twice, just like someone else. Can’t think who though.
Disclaimer: This post was supported by the Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization to help share how prepaid cards can help at this time of the year. Now I’m off to the mall!