I Went Shopping and Opened a Credit Card. Plus How to Easily Get Cash from a Gift Card

I Opened a Credit Card www.livebrokeonpurpose.com

As you probably know per my previous post, I started a brand new job this month which I’m very excited. Since I’m no longer working in the lab my usual attire of Levi’s Jeans, Madewell T-shirts, and a pair of cute closed toes shoes just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. You also may recall that I live by a capsule wardrobe, where everything basically works with everything fits into my day to day life that focused around just wanting to be comfortable. Capsules wardrobes are great, especially if you find that you spend a lot of money on clothes year round. (Read more here) Now that I am heading into the throws of Corporate America I needed new clothes and bad!

This past Labor Day Weekend I decided to raid my gift card stash (I was saving for a new MacBook) and head to the outlets to check out one of my favorite stores, Tahari, for finding nice business dresses and suits. I felt with the Labor Day sales I could probably snag some pretty good deals. I go early on a Friday afternoon to avoid crowds and after strategically parking on the side of the Outlet where the store is located I walk around the corner only to find that the store has closed and has been replaced with some Peddlars shop.

My next stop was Banana Republic Factory Outlet. I’ve always admired the clothes in that store, but the prices helped me keep my distance. This particular day the store was offering up to 70% off everything. I’d only brought $400 in gift cards so I figured I could probably do pretty well here.

After spending a ridiculous amount of time in the store putting together a small Capsule Wardrobe on the spot, trying everything on to make sure it fit so that I wouldn’t have to come back, and staying on budget, I was all ready to check out.

Now here’s where things take a turn.

I typically ignore credit card offers when I’m in the store. After paying off my credit cards, I just had no desires to ever going back down that road. Heck, I was freaking proud of being able to slap my debit card or cash on the counter and give a polite “no thank you” to the offer of an additional 10% off. However, on this particular day, something about that sign caught my eye. I could totally blame it on the fact that I was standing in line for almost 10 minutes while two cashiers were scrambling to check people out causing my eyes to wonder, but I won’t.

For the Labor Day Holiday, Banana Republic was offering an additional 20% off if you opened a Banana Republic Store Card, and an additional 20% on top of that if you used a Banana Republic/Gap store card.

I did the math. It was so tempting. If I played this right I could do my entire business capsule wardrobe in one fell swoop and not go over the budget I set for my Fall/Winter business capsule.

Once I got to the register, I inquired to the associate about the promotion just to be sure I understood it correctly. I had her ring up the items that I had so far so I could see where I was with my total and then suspend the transaction so that I could go back and gather up the other items I’d originally wanted but didn’t pickup due to the budget constraints. Upon returning to the check out counter, I pulled the trigger.

I opened the credit card account.

Admittedly, it was weird, but I was secure in my decision and feel it’s important to continue to be transparent with the decisions I make along this journey. Here’s why I was okay with it.

  1. My relationship with money is completely different than it was over two years ago.
  2. I knew that I could and would immediately pay it off, and I wasn’t buying myself time by just charging the items.
  3.  I don’t shop for clothes on a regular basis, saving a large sum at one time was better for me than always looking out for deals down the line.

After all was said and done I’d charged $718.03 to the card and saved, per my receipt, $1140.82. I walked out the store with 24 items that could turn into over 48 outfits using the capsule wardrobe method.

My total budget for my Fall/Winter Business Capsule was $800 putting me right under. Luckily I didn’t need to purchase any shoes.

I’ve since received the card and already schedule the payment to pay off the balance using the money from the gift cards (sorry MacBook maybe next time).

How to Take Money Off a Visa Gift Card

My original intent was to use gift cards to fund this entire purchase and I’d just put this purchase on a charge card. So how do you remedy that? It’s simple and I’ve been doing this for years as a way to collect money from gift cards so I could get the cash.

  1. Open another PayPal account separate from your main one.
  2. Using your main  PayPal account send your new account a money request.
  3. On the new account, pay the money request using the gift card.

Note that this only works with a card that has a Visa/Mastercard logo and not a store/brand gift card. You’ll also lose very small amount due to PayPal fee’s, but you at least have the money off the card.

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1 Comment

  1. A. Stewart
    September 14, 2017 / 8:57 am

    Love this! So helpful! I had a BR Credit Card once upon a time when I was a freshman in college (bad idea at the time). The BR card has a ton of benefits including rewards that turn into coupons that will give you $20, $30, and sometimes $50 or $100 off a purchase. I used to work at BR so that’s how I know. Thanks so much for this post. I’m still trying to get my finances back on track and your site really helps! 😊

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