January 2015 – Charlie’s Gift Card Challenge

charlie_image2014 is now in the rear view mirror, and 2015 is well on it’s way. With that said, Christmas just came and went like a thief in the night, and most peoples’ finances are reeling from the drain it had on their checking account. My family is no different.

This year we started our Christmas shopping in October, and our flexible spending checking account is down significantly. With that said, my wife and I sat down prior to the new year and realized we needed to make some changes (her idea)! Gotta love a woman who loves to talk about finances! So we sat down and realized that we had ton of gift cards, which might be able to help us to get back on financial track in 2015. After adding them all up and our gifted cash we realized we had $520 in Christmas gift cards.


With this large gift card balance we mutually decided to challenge ourselves to only spend gift card money for the first 3 weeks of 2015. Below are the details of our challenge:

Available gift cards/cash

  • Restaurants/Takeout: $134.43IMG_20141228_151213480
  • Misc: $185
  • Food: $110
  • Cash: $91
  • Total Beginning Balance: $520.43

The Challenge

  • 3 weeks (January 1-21)
  • Survive on only gift cards for 3 weeks (family of 5)
  • Use our checking account only for gas
  • Save all our income

We decided on doing this challenge for a few reasons:

  1. It is fun and gives me something to blog about
  2. A lot of gift cards become wasted/expired/unused, which never happens with cash
  3. It will help us get our finances back in order in 2015
  4. Blogging about it will hold us accountable and we will make sure we track it

As we do this challenge and I read a lot of other finance blogs I realize a lot of people are doing their own 2015 financial goals. I’d be interested to try any ideas you might have for our family to try in 2015. Also we’d love to hear your comments/feedback on living on gift cards!

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One comment

  1. The Roamer says:

    Hey this sounds like a fun challenge!

    We also have some gift cards some more then a year old which we haven’t used yet. I wonder if they still have any money?

    As for financial goals I’d say trying afford anything 1% challenge!

    Good luck I am also doing a challenge this month.

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