I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for American Express Serve. I applied for the Serve Cash Back card to facilitate my review and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
As many of my readers know, I love writing about family finances. I’m a busy parent just like you, and I’m all about finding simple ways to save money, make money, and stretch our monthly budget so we can afford to splurge.
I know I’m not alone in saying that the day-to-day money decisions I make as our household’s money manager is what makes or breaks our budgeting goals.
Three kids, a growing blog, a husband that travels, and volunteering stretches me thin most days, and I’m lucky to get everyone fed and clothed, much less at a good price!
I’m great at setting a budget. I know how much we make, and I know what our regular expenses are.
What I’m not the best at is keeping tabs on our budget as the month goes on. I get caught up in day-to-day life and then my well-meaning budgeting intentions go down the drain.
If we’re running late (and especially if I’m tired from not getting enough sleep), I buy coffee in between errands.
When my kids need shoes, and I have a busy week ahead of me, I opt for the most convenient place to shoe shop whenever I can squeeze it in, not the place with the best prices.
I stop for gas and shop for groceries when & where it’s convenient for me.
And the big one? Sometimes my meal planning falls to the wayside and I find myself scrambling at the last minute to make dinner & we end up ordering pizza. Aghhhhh I’m cringing just typing this.
My No-Brainer Budgeting System – #ServeSomeGood
I’ve been on the hunt for a no-brainer budgeting system for quite some time.
In the past I’ve toyed with a cash envelope budgeting system. I thought it sounded like the perfect solution. But I can never seem to keep all the envelopes straight, and it kind of stresses me out. :/
I’m trying something new – preloading my budgeting weekly expenses onto a prepaid debit card and using it to make all my purchases. American Express Serve® Cash Back is part of this experiment, and I couldn’t be more excited!
They sent me a shiny new American Express Serve® Cash Back prepaid debit card to facilitate this experience, and I’m in the process of loading my funds onto it.
What I Hope to Accomplish By Using a Prepaid Debit Card
What I’m trying to do is pretty simple. I am going to shop for a week or two using funds I preload onto my American Express Serve® Cash Back debit card, and I’m going to monitor my spending knowing that the funds are not limitless (not that my normal debit card is limitless, but I do have a problem curbing my spending when I know I have enough money in my account AND my savings account is linked up to cover any overages). How bad is that?! I know I’m not the only one, though!
I am fairly confident that knowing I have a set limit preloaded onto a prepaid debit card will be enough to make me more self-aware as I go about my errands. Enough to close the gap between what I budget and what I usually end up spending because I’m not being careful with my money.
Features of the American Express Serve® Cash Back Debit Card
This prepaid debit card has all the features I wanted for this experiment and then some:
- No minimum balances or hidden fees
- Free direct deposit if desired
- 1% cash back for every dollar spent (it’s added to your account promptly after each purchase, so you can spend when you choose)
- Ability to pay bills, buy groceries, shop online, withdraw cash from ATMs just like you would with a regular debit card
- Enjoy American Express card member benefits like 24/7 customer service and access to special offers from brands on Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter
- Purchase protection on eligible purchases
- Access to the Roadside Assistance Hotline
They really sold me with the 1% cash back. Seeing as how I already wanted to try this budgeting method with a prepaid debit card, it works in my favor that they offer cash back. I never say no to free money!
How to Get Your Own Prepaid Debit Card Account
If you would like to conduct this experiment with me, you can register online to get a prepaid American Express Serve® Cash Back card in the mail for free. Or you can purchase it at a retailer for a small fee (up to $3.95).
Then you can either fund it with direct deposit or transfer money from your bank account.
Join me in a couple weeks as I analyze the effects of using a prepaid debit card for my weekly budgeted amounts for things like groceries and gas, to see if it helped me curb my everyday spending overages.