Junk Drawer Treasures!


Cheapskate Confessions Meets Why You’re So Damn Poor!


We struggled with how to categorize this blog, so there you go, it’s both an episode of Cheapskate Confessions and Why You’re So Damn Poor! Why? Because we are going to show you a reason we are NOT optimizing our spending power and as a result, a prime example of why we (and a lot of other people) are so damn poor, as well as our corrective action and how it is going to SAVE us money… Cheapskate Confessions action of spending OTHER PEOPLE’S money on our own expenses.


Junk Drawers


Does everyone have a junk drawer? Everyone we know does, and everyone we know utilizes them in the same way… Dumping the contents of their pockets when they get home from work, or want to clear the counter space of items that aren’t easily categorized to be stored elsewhere. We have two junk drawers, one for Rory and one for Kristen. Although similar, they are each filled with slightly different items. Rory is the more organized of the two, so his is where we tend to store the more “important” items… We put that in quotes since it IS labeled a “junk drawer” so how important can the items contained within be?


Squirreled-Away Contents


So what did we find in Rory’s “Junk Drawer”? The answer is a LOT of stuff! We could barely close the damn thing, which is what prompted cleaning it out. Within there were key fobs to cars we no longer own, $20 in loose change, a $100 U.S. Treasury Bond from during his service years, various vegetable seeds (Just wait until you see our driveway-garden posts in the future) and nearly $500 in GIFT CERTIFICATES!!!


The True Cost Of Gift Certificates


Companies that issue gift cards have virtually no downside to issuing them. Studies have shown consumers that actually use their gift cards spend more than the purchasing power of the gift cards, which probably means they brought in more business than they would have otherwise. The more startling statistic? Nearly 1/3 of gift cards go completely unused! You read that right… 1/3 of gift cards are essentially VERY EXPENSIVE pieces of plastic that end up in a landfill, but are never exchanged for the goods or services they are worth. We wish we were not victim to this, but sadly, as we said above, there was nearly $500 worth of those pieces of plastic just sitting buried underneath dry erase markers, seeds, and pens in one of our TWO junk drawers. WHAT THE HELL RORY AND KRISTEN?!?!


Spend That FREE Money!


We intend to… Among our gift cards we have $200 in Amazon gift cards, $200 in Visa gift cards (in theory can be used for nearly anything) and $100 in various gift cards including Walmart, Starbucks, and Texas Road House. Now… we also wish we could say this is all we have. We also have an unused $100 gift certificate for a massage/spa that was bought for Kristen LAST Christmas, a $30 gift certificate for a local Chinese food restaurant, and a few other various ones kicking around… And probably some we can’t recall that have been lost (exactly what the companies that sell them are hoping happen to them) What is our plan with the ones we have rounded up? SPEND THEM!


Philosophy Of Spending


Many of the gift certificates we get come with certain strings attached. “Spend this on housing upgrades”, “Do something you wouldn’t normally do”, “Treat yourself”, “Have fun”. If these comments don’t say a lot about how people close to us know our style, then we don’t know what does. Sorry people… We have mostly other plans. Just be thankful we won’t fall into the 1/3 of people that don’t spend these gifts. What is our intention to spend this money on?

$200 of Amazon gift cards- Today we spent roughly $80 of this on dried garbanzo beans, popcorn kernels (Yes we make our own popcorn) and the cheapest nerf gun they make… Long story short, Batman is a very naughty kitty and needs to be put in his place when he does things like scratch the T.V. because he wants to bully us into feeding him a third time a day. We intend on spending the remainder on dry goods that we can buy in bulk with better deals than we can get at our local shopping options. This should defray our grocery costs even more in the following months.

$200 of Visa gift cards- As we said before, these can be used virtually anywhere. We need to be tactful about where we use these. Since we have no credit card debt, and several credit card options with various benefits (A topic we will explore with you in the future) we need to make sure we spend these on something that does not otherwise yield a large benefit via using another card as a medium. Our likely expense… Groceries again. Since Rory gets his gas paid for by his company via using his company vehicle, on a company credit card that yields him Delta Sky Miles, and Kristen uses one of Rory’s 0% APR promotional credit cards yielding 5% cash back on gas purchases, gas is out of the question. The only other easy way to spend these is on groceries. Sure, we could put them on a Sky Miles card or cashback card, but we have to use them, so we might as well use them for groceries. This month, and part of next, we will use them on Sam’s Club and local grocery store purchases in order to use them up and lower our expenses in this area.

Various Restaurant Gift Certificates- Starbucks, Chinese Food, and Texas Road House. We intend on using these to again replace or reduce our expenses for our allocated 1-2 times to eat out or have takeout each month. We are pretty good about maintaining our goal of 1-2 times each month, but prefer either sushi or Thai food for these times since they are the two things we have a hard time making equal quality of at home.


Junk Drawers Around The World?


First off, we are curious if you have a junk drawer. Do You? We are willing to admit that our experience is anecdotal. Second, we are curious what valuable contents exist in your junk drawer. Do you have a similar experience that it becomes a deep dark hole of otherwise valuable treasures? If you avoid a junk drawer for valuable items like gift cards do you have advice for us in avoiding having any loss in this area?

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