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I’m a genius (was Walmart gift card)

I hesitated buying this in front of all of you, and so last time I went to Walmart I left it off my list.

You see, I like a little wine on Christmas Eve. In fact, ever since I was a little girl it has been a tradition to sip some wine (watered-down as a child, of course, or mixed with pop) on Christmas Eve.  I don’t drink at all the rest of the year, except maybe a leftover wine cooler on New Year’s Eve. If someday one of our children develops an alcohol problem, it can’t be blamed on their teetotaler parents.  We really do not imbibe, except for that holiday wine.

This morning, when I got in the van to head out to Walmart for another gift card spree the little light went on, signaling my van was almost out of fuel. David gets paid tomorrow, so I planned on waiting until then to get gas, but then another light went off~this one in my head~ and like the genius I am, I suddenly realized that my Walmart gift card could pay for gas, too.  No, our Walmart doesn’t have a gas station, but it does sell Visa gift cards. For a minimal $3.45 charge, I bought a $50 Visa card. I know the point is to save as much as I can and that charge is contraindicated, but I also added a movie Abby has been begging for to my cart, along with my alcohol splurge AND a gift for me~ a Burger King gift card that I used to buy hamburgers with on the way home. What better gift for a mom than the gift of her time saved not cooking lunch? 

Today’s tally:

$50 Visa card=$53.45

$8 movie=$8.00

wine for this evening, along with pop to mix it with=$14.54

Burger King $10 gift card=$9.75

Minus a $10 Kellogg’s gift certificate, which paid for part of that gift card fee.

Ending balance on my Walmart gift card=$97.47

Gas at Kwik Star=$25, ending balance on Visa=$25.00

burgers on the way home=$8, ending balance on that gift card=$2

I learned two things with today’s trip;

#1) I care too much what people think


#2) $300 doesn’t go very far, which I already knew but this experiment just reinforced.

I’m glad I figured out a way to use some of that $300 win towards gas, as I really kind of hated knowing I had to use it all at Walmart. I normally do not do that much shopping at the local Walmart, and if I really want to save some money, I need to avoid going to Dubuque for after-Christmas sales. You see, I know that if I hit some of those sales I am going to make some splurge purchases.  I need cards and wrapping paper, but I don’t need any Christmas decorations or gift sets or anything else, so it would be wise for me to avoid the mad-house of Target’s 75% off sales and the Walmart clearance aisle. I can hit our small Hallmark’s store 50-75% off sales or buy online.

I have learned something else: I was deluding myself thinking I would make that card last until March.  But now that I am totally prepared for Christmas and had some fun getting a few extra gifts and stretching the food budget a little with some food I had coupons for. I’m putting that card away until I go to Dubuque again, where I can properly hunt for the best food deals with coupons that come out in January. 

So, how far can I make $97 stretch?  Gee, it doesn’t sound near as much fun as $300 sounded.


Author, public speaker, and workshop presenter for community colleges, libraries, women's groups and for grief support groups, Hospice and retreats. Certified grief counselor and Senior Service librarian for the James Kennedy Public library. Popular public speaker and workshop presenter on the topics of writing, couponing, utilizing your creativity in everyday life, and finding hope in grief. "Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America's Extreme Obsession" was published by Familius Publishing in 2014. "Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage" and "Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace" were released by Familius in 2014. "Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink," co-written with Mary Jedlicka Humston of Iowa City, was published in September 2015. Grief journal to be released in 2018.

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