Using a prepaid card to help get the grocery budget under control. The Experiment…
Have you ever used a prepaid card before? I’ve only used them a handful of times so my experience with them is pretty limited. When Visa approached me to learn about their Visa Clear Prepaid program I was a bit skeptical (because I had heard some not super wonderful things about prepaid cards before, and the rumors weren’t on the prepaids card side, if you know what I’m saying.) but I was also super curious because of my limited experience with prepaid cards. As you may have guessed I’m kind of obsessed with anything and everything that can help save money, budget, pay down debt, and manage finances. If there is a tool out there that can help me and other people with their money goals I’ve got to know about it.
Prepaid cards are ideal for someone who really wants to stick to a budget but has found that they usually go over the set amount that they have designated for each category. For example, with me and my husband, a big money issue for us is our grocery bill. We ALWAYS seem to overspend on food. At the end of the month we’re usually at the very least $100 over-budget on what we were supposed to spend. We get frustrated, and vow to do better next month. So, in an effort to reign in the grocery bill we decided we’d see what it was like to try out a prepaid card for a few months and then report back on how it goes. Because life isn’t quite hectic enough we (I;) decided we should do a little experiment which brings me to…
The Prepaid Card Grocery Experiment
Why a prepaid card you ask?
For one, we can easily load the prepaid card with our pre-determined monthly grocery budget at the beginning of each month. To get started I went to the Rush website, created an account, and transferred the grocery budget money ($250) from our online banking account to the Prepaid Visa® RushCard. So, since we’ll be doing this experiment for a few months at the beginning of each month I will transfer the funds for that month’s groceries over to the card. (While I did this process online money can also be added in person at places like 7-11, Walgreens, and Family Dollar.)
What card did you choose?
We applied for the Prepaid Visa® RushCard online (rushcard.com) in about one minute flat. While Visa did approach me about trying out this card I would’ve gone with a Visa prepaid card anyway because it’s a brand I know trust. Plus, Visa is accepted everywhere, and that makes life easy. I’m all for easy. Also, I found out that Visa has recently set up Visa Clear Prepaid standards so they can give consumers piece of mind. These “standards” were created specifically for Visa’s prepaid cards, and they were made with the goal to clearly communicate fees and provide protection for consumers. The RushCard meets those standards.
How do you set up the card?
I mentioned it briefly above but after I applied online the card arrived in the mail within the week. Then, I called the phone number on the sticker that was attached to the card and set a PIN.
What are the fees?
With this Prepaid Visa® RushCard the fees are easy to understand, and that’s super important to me. (The confusing and convoluted fees associated with prepaid cards were one of the main areas of controversy and negativity associated with these types of cards in the past.)
I found that when I selected my card online there was one fee depending on the fanciness of the card design that I chose. I picked one of the $3.95 designs because, personally, I don’t really care how fancy my card is. That one-time fee was then deducted from the amount on my card after I added funds the first time. Then, on the 1st of the month there is a monthly fee that is $7.95. Once the card is set-up it can be used just like you would use any other Visa debit card, and there are no other fees that pop up to surprise you throughout the month.
We’ll be doing this grocery budget experiment the next few months and while we’re seeing if it works I’ll also be exploring the world of prepaid cards quite a bit more, and I’ll be looking for answers to lots of questions.
The questions I’ll be looking to answer:
- How convenient are these prepaid cards really?
- How easy is it to find out the balance and stay up to date on where you stand with your remaining balance for the month?
- Were we able to get our grocery budget under control by using this method?
Would you consider doing this experiment with us? Have you used a prepaid card before? Do you have any questions you want me to look into and explore?
This post is sponsored by Visa Inc. I am an ambassador and have been compensated for my participation. However, like always, my opinions are completely my own (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).