Using Gift Cards to pay bills

In order to maximize credit card points and signup bonuses, my wife purchased a lot of gift cards which we will be using to pay for various bill and shopping. I am wondering how to account for this in my sheet. Right now I have a couple of large transactions representing the gift cards purchased. Over time as I use these cards to pay various bills, I would like to allocate the initial purchase of the gift cards to these various bills. I would love any advice of ideas on how I might go about this.

This is the same struggle I have with cash. I get $400 out of the ATM and use it here and there but can never keep track of here or there (and, these days, I use it so rarely that there can be months between here and there) so I end up with a $400 hole in my tracking.

No answer, just sympathy.


Interesting scenario. My thought would be that when you buy the gift cards you are not incurring an expense, you are
transferring money from your bank account to your gift card accounts. When you use a given gift card to buy something you are incurring an expense and categorizing that the same as you would when spending from your checking account for example.

I would categorize the purchase of each gift card as a Transfer and then use a Tag on that transaction to indicate which gift card. When I bought something, I would categorize the expense as usual and Tag the transaction with the name of the gift card I used for that purchase.

You could then use the Tag report feature to track each gift card and see all the transactions posted to it and the remaining balance on each card.

Hope this is somewhere close to what you are looking for.

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In theory, this makes sense but when I use the gift card, there would be no transaction created unless I manually do so at that time. One Idea might be to have a dummy account for cash/gift card transactions. Whenever I purchase a gift card or withdraw from an ATM as in Susan’s case, the transaction would be a transfer into that account and then whenever cash/gift card are used to purchase create a transaction which debits the dummy account with a typical categorized transaction


I was thinking about another solution. Have a category called Gift Card. Every time I make a gift card transaction, I could split the original gift card transaction partially into the correct transaction. Keep doing this until the remaining amount of the gift card transaction is zero. How does this sound?


The category option sounds like a great idea! I might do that for Cash - have the same issue as susandennis and agree that manually creating transactions for a dummy account sounds like a headache.

Yes, if only we had manual transaction and transaction splitter tools for excel.

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I’m sorry for not having these tools as that was about to be my suggestion. I’m mostly a google sheets user.

I think a combination of tagging the transaction of purchase with each gift card however you keep up with them, and then splitting the original until zero seems to me to be the ideal solution in the absence of manual transactions.

I was trying to think of a way to use 2 tags, 1 for original and then another for spending so it should keep up with the gift card balance but with splitting i think it would cancel out as you split each new part of the transaction

Are you able to duplicate the original gift card transaction? Categorize one as transfer and the other splitting and categorizing as you go, Use 1 tag for the whole amount there on the first and then the 2nd for expenditures

Gold gift card tag transfer category $100
Gold gift card expense tag (fill in category) split from the duplicate $xx

Then in the tags report while using the splits and other tag associated with that card the 2 should equal once depleted?

I don’t have much gift card activity, but what I do is track it in a manual account. When the gift card is purchased, you transfer the funds in. When you make a purchase you add a manual transaction on that account and can categorize it.

I agree that creating a gift card account and then creating new transactions is the most elegant solution but since there are so few tools available it seems like there would be so many manual steps. Question: If I create a manual account and then enter manual transactions, is the manual account balance automatically updated? The simpler solution is the one that bentyre1 and I suggest. I am not familiar with tags but have a note column. Maybe I could turn that into a tag column.

You should be able tp add a “tags” column and then add tags to them as described above, like i said in more of a sheets user so I’m not sure but i would imagine that there is a tags report available that would sort and filter on each tag as needed and show cumulative categories assigned to such.

When adding a manual transaction using the Tool provided under Tiller Money feeds, it has a check box to update the Balance near the bottom of the form. However, I’ve been doing this longer than that feature existed (or at least I’ve known about it). I have edited an entry in my Balance History. This entry calculates the balance automatically. This method does not keep a history.

thanks, for now, I will use the tag/note and use manual transactions until Tiller provides more tools.