Do Gift Cards Count?

Next month, I will start a habit of writing down every expense going in and coming out of my bank account. Every penny dropped in the gutter, every automatic payment, every movement of cash will be documented. Additionally, I will break down the expenses to the line item, so that every tub of yogurt or sweater on-sale at Target will be documented. This is one of the initial steps recommended in Your Money or Your Life. I dabbled with this in January. It was really successful as it required me to be extremely mindful with my purchases. Even though my spending was wonkadoodle that month, I felt more in control of my finances. February…less so….

But one of the things I will not be tracking are gift card purchases. Why? They were gifts. The money isn’t mine. It was never mind. The card is fundamentally a placeholder for the “gifts” that the cards procure me. I feel like the YMoYL-ers would disagree with this philosophy. But I feel that keeping the gift cards separate is going to help with my general mundane feeling that life on a budget sucks.

What do y’all think? Gift card spending: actually an expense? Or just a fun treat?