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7 Tips for Stress-free Spring Break Travel

It’s about time to start thinking about your spring break travel plans! Most of us love vacations, but preparing for a trip and actually traveling can often be a little stressful, especially if you’re flying. There’s the packing, the airport lines, the threat of delayed flights...a lot can go wrong! These suggestions will help ease your mind and save you money, time, and possibly your sanity.

Cara Murphy
By Cara Murphy
on 2/16/17 4:00 PM
   

Gift Cards vs. Credit Cards: How are you paying for the holidays?

Louise Fletke
by Louise Fletke on 12/9/16 3:45 PM

open wallet full of credit cards and gift cards

Christmas is expensive. Between the gifts for everyone on your list, decorations to put up around the house, and a meal to prepare, the holiday season is full of spending. When you’re out and about making all of your purchases, have you been putting your credit card through a workout? If you have, we can’t blame you, wielding a credit card is the norm, but let’s see if that’s actually the best payment option.

Credit Cards

One of the biggest predicaments with using credit cards is the fear of overspending. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, and his crew have been preaching this for years: if you use a credit card, you will inevitably spend more money. So it might not seem so bad right now when you can conveniently whip out the plastic at every store, but you might be kicking yourself when your bill finally arrives.

Many people use credit cards that offer reward points so they can earn cashback or other rewards on all their purchases. Some rewards programs are great, and the argument can be made that using a credit card during the holidays is the perfect time to rack up points. The only downside is that the rewards system can be pretty limiting and you can only earn a certain amount back on every purchase.

Finally, there’s the risk of credit card fraud. While you can take precautionary measures to protect yourself against credit card fraud, it’s a hassle even to have to deal with it in the first place. You’ve probably seen more and more chip readers go into stores, which are supposed to increase your protection while using your credit card, but they’re not impenetrable.

Also— and this is a little bit of a petty point — but the chip readers feel like they take forever to read your card! It takes 7 to 10 seconds for your card to process in a chip reader, which doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you have disgruntled and busy holiday shoppers breathing down your neck, it can feel like a lifetime.

chip reader vs gift card.gif

Scrip Gift Cards

Have some red flags popped up around credit cards now? Maybe an alternative plastic payment option can ease your worries, which is why we’ll bring up scrip gift cards.

The beauty of a gift card is there is a set amount of money on it already, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So it’s impossible to overspend with a gift card if you only use that to pay for presents, food, or decorations. A lot of people don’t like the environmental impact of spending and disposing of a gift card, though, but Great Lakes Scrip Center has got that covered. Some of our retailers offer reloadable cards, so before your next shopping excursion, just load it up with only the amount you have budgeted to spend, and you’ll be good to go!

If you’re worried about missing out on credit card rewards, scrip gift cards are your solution. See, scrip is a fundraiser, so you’ll earn a rebate on every card you purchase, normally anywhere from 3-16%. Depending on how your organization runs its program, all of those rebate earnings will go to your organization, or some of them will come back to you. So you’ll be earning significantly more with scrip than you would with your credit card, and you’re raising money at the same time. See how much you can earn on everyday purchases by watching the 12 Days of Scripmas.

 

 

From a security standpoint, scrip is just like using cash. Your credit card information isn’t involved, so it’s protected from any fraudulent situations. The biggest risk with scrip is losing a gift card, but make it a point to keep them organized in your wallet or a card file, or take only the cards you need and you will have nothing to fear!

So really, it comes down to one thing: do you need to raise funds for an organization— a school, sports team, marching band, church, or another group? If the answer is yes, then stop thinking about selling wrapping paper, candles, or cookie dough to help your organization and put the credit card down to pick up the scrip!

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Louise Fletke
Written by Louise Fletke
Attending public schools all her life and being a three-sport athlete, Louise is no novice to fundraising. When she's not writing copy for Great Lakes Scrip Center, Louise can be found playing recreational sports too competitively, or spending quality time with her dog, Hogan.

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