Gift cards for the drought

After experiencing the euphoria of being done with school and the bar, I'm feeling the blues from the state of unemployment. It's really hard to not feel helpless and hopeless after sending off cover letters (which I hate to write) and resumes (should I include this or that); after they leave my hands, I can do no more other than waiting and sending more resumes. I did quite a bit of planning before this stage, so financially I've been OK for the last few months, but a couple of monstrously large student loan payments have hit me hard and I'm really feeling the crunch now. It does light a fire under me and spur me to diligence on most days, but some days it only causes stress. The blistering heat certainly doesn't help matters.

As a result of all this, I've further tightened my purse strings. I try to avoid using the credit card so that I won't overspend, and I've further cut back on purchases. Fortunately, my Etsy store provides a little bit of monetary relief and allows me to indulge a little from time to time, but for the most part my spendings are for bare-bones necessities. I've drastically reduced the amount of supplies I bought and I'm making myself work with what I already have, which is actually quite a bit.

This is also a time when my saved-up gift certificates/gift cards come in handy, some for wants and some for pressing needs. It's a good thing to save a few for big retailers in case you really need something and not have the funds for it. I'm able to do this in CA because the gift cards don't expire here, but they might in other states, so it's best to check. Two types of them were in my possession--a gift certificate from Fred Flare (a Christmas present) and a couple of gift cards from Best Buy.

I've let the Fred Flare gift certificate gone unused for so long because I couldn't find something that I really wanted, and I saw no reason to buy something just because. But that changed last month, when Lucky magazine gave readers a 25% discount. A long time ago I talked about my strategy with maximizing the bang for the buck--I'd typically wait for a sale before spending money on something, and gift certificates are just like money (except it's your friend/family/etc.'s money), so I'd wait for a sale before spending mine. This time is no different from any other.

I tried to stay as close to the gift certificate limit and ended up getting this adorable, warm hoodie, which is perfect for the Fall, and a book. Total out-of-pocket cost was a little more than a dollar. Close enough. When I came home from the wine trip, the box was left at the door. Good thing it wasn't stolen.

The Best Buy gift cards really bailed me out this time. Electronics are expensive, so I saved my gift cards for the drought (I wish it were rainy right now...it's too darn hot). I absolutely need a working printer to print out resumes and such, and while I don't typically like the selection at Best Buy, that's what I have money for. Not that I foreclosed other options--I went to a few stores to look for better deals, and there was none to be found. So, I settled for an inkjet for now; I'll upgrade when I have the money. After using up both gift cards, I paid $12. That would have been pretty good if it came with a USB cable, but I didn't find out about the deficiency until I got home. I ended up going to Staples to buy a short one (which was also the cheapest) for $10. $22 total is not bad for a printer, but I wish I had more time to shop around for the cable.

Got a couple of interesting topics coming up, so stay tuned! Sorry about the infrequency of my posting lately, but I just have a lot of things to worry about right now. At the very least, there'll be one post a week.


Anonymous said...

Hey I know it's probably difficult (and discouraging) looking for jobs after all of the hard work of law school. But you're really really resourceful, and you always find ways to make up for financial difficulties. You'll get something great when the time is right, and an employer would be lucky to have you. Good luck and hang in there :o)

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I know we all find jobs eventually, and right now it's tough, but then again tough times provide the best lessons in life.

May good things come your way as well. =)