I managed to bump my Fred Meyer gas points up to 500+ last month through a last minute purchase of a $50 Starbucks gift card during the current 4x points special. Applied the $.50 discount to my fill up this morning, and paid just over $15 for a full tank of gas.
I was winding up to facepunch you for spending $50.00 on a Starbucks gift card to save $.50 (per gallon?) on gas and then posting about it in the SAVING money thread. Then I noticed in your signature that you are already FI, so you get a free pass and props for at least getting some extra bang for your ridiculously luxurious frivolous spending. Bonus points if you actually used the gift card for a gift or sold it at face value to earn a net profit when factoring in the gas savings.
Oh please. Some of us are going to buy coffee out sometimes. I recently put $50 on my Starbuck's card with a 10% cash back promo on one of my credit cards. I travel a lot for work and this should cover my (plain old drip in my own mug to save garbage and get a .10 discount) coffee for most of the year for one day's per diem. Maybe if lhamo said she'd use that $50 up in a week buying her venti mocha frappuccinos anyway..
I was just struck by the apparent irony of committing one of MMM's cardinal sins (paying for Starbucks regularly enough to justify use of a $50 gift card) and justifying it by paying a few dollars less to commit another of MMM's cardinal sins (driving) and then posting about it in a thread about money savings. Of course there are many circumstances where this type of spending is financially justifiable (i.e. business travel and business meetings over coffee). I just didn't expect to see it written about in this thread which is usually dominated by tales of avoiding the temptations of Starbucks and other convenience food and drink.
I, too, enjoy Starbucks specialty drinks from time to time. When I do I categorize it as an indulgent purchase regardless of any ancillary benefits I get from the purchase. I am even less likely to pay for drip coffee at Starbucks than I am to pay for a specialty drink when passable (often better) coffee is generally pretty easy to find for free. But I am not a road warrior and could definitely see how a consistent cup of coffee could be priceless in the inconsistent world of business travel.
And the game changes the closer you get to that magical point of FI. Since I am nowhere near FI, I initially read the comment through that lens. When you are FI, such indulgent purchases are completely justifiable so long as they don't cause you to exceed your SWR. If they are purely indulgent, OP still gets credit for seeking more bang for his (star)buck(s).
Haven't revisited this thread for several days (as I haven't been spending much money, except on groceries and parking, and therefore haven't had any savings to post.
I guess I should have explained that Starbucks is a rare family treat for us. We typically stop in at Starbucks in the airport prior to flying, and sometimes will stop when we are out running errands. We probably visit Starbucks less than 5-6 times a year. These trips are covered in our budget categories, and fall under either travel (if on a trip away from home) or dining out. We probably spend more in these categories than many people here, but they are things we have decided we value enough to spend on and have therefore planned for.
So far I have used the card twice -- once for a latte for myself while I completed job cover letters during some down time on the way to another appointment, and once for a cappuccino for DS so that he could do some of his reading out of the house (and not fall asleep) while I was at the gym. So there is still over $40 left on the card, which we will probably use during DH/DD's upcoming visit for one family splurge trip, and then I'll still have more for mini-splurges over the next few months.
We don't currently have an espresso machine at home, and will not be buying one until we have the proceeds from our Beijing apartment sale in hand, but all of us looooove coffee (except DD, who loves cookies), so given where we are financially I am comfortable with splurging in this way.
In terms of what I actually saved via the purchase of the gift card, the purchase of the card earned me 200 extra gas points, which equates to a .20/gallon discount, and I later got 11.324 gallons of gas, so that works out to $2.46. And I bought it with my Chase Sapphire card, which does $1.25 cash back for travel purchases, so that's roughly another $.63 I'll get back eventually (most likely when we purchase tickets for summer travel to/from China). The purchase of the card itself thus saved me $2.89, or roughly a 6% discount off the face value.
I realize some may still find fault with the "spend to save' logic I am using here, but the basic situation is that I know from past experience that an occasional trip to SB is something that our family does, and by purchasing the card in advance I was able to effectively save a bit of money off the face value of the card via savings applied elsewhere through the gas points and the cc rewards plan. Works for me, YMMV. I will also note that I DID resist the urge to buy one more card before the 4x points special ran out. I stood in front of the display pondering it, but decided that would be tying too much money up in future Starbucks indulgences.