To start our free money box, I purchased an inexpensive but sturdy cardboard box with a lid and label. I titled the label, and set to work.
I started by going through the house and gathering up all of the unused gift cards that we had from the many places that they were hiding: drawers, purses, bags, cards, closets, pockets, etc. All of those cards went into the box.
Next, I placed store cards or discount coupons that were for at least a $10 off purchase. (My hair salon mails me a $25 gift card on my birthday!) There were a few of those that we got in the mail or on a store receipt.
Finally, I placed in the box any actual cash that was given to us as fun money. My in-laws often give the kids $10-$20 a few times a year for ice cream or special treats.
The free money box is placed in a prominent place, in our kitchen, and we know to use it regularly whenever we want to make a purchase or have a need for a little treat. We also know exactly where all of those gift cards are located, so they never go to waste.
For example, today there wasn’t a lot of fun to be had, thanks to our seemingly ever present rainy weather. My eldest son dipped into the box for a GameStop gift card he received and used it to purchase some discounted video games that are providing a bit of fun for all the kids in our house. The kids got some new fun, and I didn’t have to adjust the monthly budget.