Gift cards can be a way to slash what you spend on certain expenses

Posted at 10:42 PM, Nov 21, 2016

With the holidays fast approaching, families are looking wherever they can to save a little bit going into the next year.

An easy way to reduce part of your budget is to isolate the restaurants and stores you frequent the most and look up how much you spent there in the last year. Certain money trackers or the online tools from certain financial providers can make this easier to isolate your spending by vendor.

To save money, wait for when those businesses offer deals on gift cards, such as 'Spend $100, receive $20.' Buy as many gift cards to that business as you spent in the previous year to cover your family's expenditures for the coming year.

ABC15 found this deal at several restaurants, including Pita Jungle (Extra $10 for every $50), Ruby Tuesday (Extra $15 for every $50) and Fox Restaurants (Extra $20 for every $100).

Doing this can reduce your dining out and, in some cases, shopping, costs by 20 to 30 percent.

It's important to be disciplined and not overspend once you stock up on gift cards--they have to last you the whole year. Also, don't buy cards where you don't have a history of shopping.

Reassess your spending each year, as your family needs can change. If you are left with money at the end of the year, subtract that from the next year's budget.

And it should go without saying, but make sure you don't lose the gift cards you buy, as most places treat them the same as cash.