Mixing Maroons - Spend Less, Save More … Get Marooned!

Mrs. Maroon

November 25, 2014

In Pursuit of Perfection

Tags: , , ,

Nearly three years into parenthood I have discovered two truths related to children. Well there are actually a lot more. But my infinite wisdom runs out at two today…

  1. Kids grow out of clothes incredibly fast. When is the last time you scrapped your whole closet twice a year??
  2. People love to give you things when a baby is on the way.

Perhaps I should have used the term wisdom lightly. These are pretty obvious truths as I have called them. But that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


Anyway, back to my point. With the impending arrival of Mini Maroon 2, my coworkers collaborated on a $100 gift card to a popular children’s store. Very generous since I’d only known them for two weeks prior to our move to Oklahoma. It’s been sitting in my wallet since early April.


With the turn of the seasons, I’ve been putting off replacing Mini 1’s wardrobe but the time has come. I made a major dent at a local discount big box store but the 2T jeans from last year are getting awfully snug around the linebacker-style physique he sports. I decided to use my gift card.


Pause. You may be thinking to yourself, isn’t that gift card for Mini 2? We have gotten so many gifts and hand me downs that she doesn’t need anything else. After doing her laundry I think she could wear something new every day for the whole season without repeating. Well not quite but you get the idea.


I start browsing the sale items. Jeans are $10. Jeans are critical given the boy’s love affair with his boots. Athletic pants for $11. A medium weight jacket at $23. I did find an outfit too cute to pass up for Mini 2. Doing the quick math in my head I realize I’m probably getting close to my card amount, and satisfied with my choices, I go to checkout. Tax is finally added into my total… $99.53. First off, I’m pretty proud of my mental math. Then again, my salary job depends pretty heavily on my math skills.

 SOOOO very close!

SOOOO very close!


But I’m now bothered by that last $0.47. Retailers make big bucks on unused gift cards. At some point that cash most certainly gets credited back (or debited – I don’t remember back to my accounting class from college) to their balance sheet. However, I’m not interested in adding my own money to cover the overage for purchasing one more thing. That is even truer for gift cards used for luxury items (dining out, etc.)

 Who can resist a baby in a vest?!

Who can resist a baby in a vest?!


This time around, my Type-A perfectionist personality is going to say ‘good-bye’ to my last $0.47 and let it be gobbled up by corporate America. I’m not thrilled by it, but must let go of the little things lest I drive myself truly crazy!


How do you handle gift cards? Do you strive for the $0.00 balance?


~ Mrs. Maroon


Happy Thanksgiving!
Weekly Goals: November 23, 2014
  1. Comment by Mrs. SSC — November 25, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

    I have a serious love affair with toddlers and fleece vests. We spend hours trying to find one for our 3 year old, mostly because the baby girl and him were fighting over the red 18 month size one. It is surprising how difficult it is to find fleece vests for toddlers – I was contemplating buying a fleece jackets and cutting off the sleeves… yeah, we’re pretty classy in the SSC household!

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    We seem to have vest obsession here too… We all love them and have several in the closet. Mini #1’s collection doesn’t compare to last year’s yet, but we are still early in the season!! Mr. Maroon’s wardrobe for the last several weeks has been chock full of vests – including today 🙂

  2. Comment by Kirsten — November 25, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

    Look at you – what a rockstar with that gift card! Totally awesome! My philosophy with gift cards will vary. If I know I’m going to have to go shop for one of my kids, and it’s either shop at a thrift store and get 3 outfits for $20 or use a gift card and get 3 outfits for free in a $100 gift card, I’ll use every last penny of the gift card and not worry about going over. In the end, I still come out ahead, even if I did end up buying a hour ow or pair of socks that wasn’t on my list 🙂 if I was given a gift card to a place I barely have use for or where the card barely makes a dent in a purchase I would make, I operate differently.

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    It crossed my mind to get some hair bows to use the very last penny, but sadly I couldn’t find any that I liked. I know I could have added a little of my own money and still come out ahead. I got smoking deals on most of it anyway. In the end, I only gave two quarters… I could easily lose that in the couch!!

  3. Comment by Erin @ Journey to Saving — November 26, 2014 @ 1:54 PM

    I am the same way with gift cards! I still have a few I’ve been holding on to that have $4 here and $6 there. Now every time I want to use them up (and then cover the rest), the store’s payment system can’t do it. They’re haunting me! Makes me wish I just paid over the other times so I can get rid of them, but I’m determined to find a store I can use them at. (I consider myself Type A, too.)

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Leaving $4-$6 on the table would drive me nuts!! I really hope you find a way to get those used!

  4. Comment by moneystepper — November 29, 2014 @ 12:44 AM

    I’m exactly the same way: both being an accounting nerd and hate wasting any money on gift cards.

    If there are actually things that I need, I will tend to go over, use the full gift card and then some of my own cash. I know they are “winning” either way, but it drives me crazy to see the store get the £3-4 for absolutely nothing.

    In my last job, I worked on the audit of one of the major retail companies in the UK. The amount of “outstanding” gift cards they had in liabilities was absolutely remarkable. They had to leave them on the balance sheet, but had estimates that over 30% would never be used and eventually would be released to the P&L.

    When Jessops and HMV both went into administration in early 2013, the administrators deemed all gift cards worthless and refused to accept them. When the figures came out on the value of the gift cards, it was absolutely shocking!

    The gift card industry is apparently worth around £5bn per year in the UK, on total sales of around £350bn. This means that gift cards account for over 1% of all sales!

    Mrs. Maroon Reply:

    Wow!! What a detailed accounting of the gift card industry. Thanks!! Some mind-boggling numbers!

    I know there are times where they are most appropriate, but I’m not a huge fan of giving them as gifts. We generally choose to be more personal in our gift selections.

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

CommentLuv badge