The holidays are edging ever closer and I'm excited! I've been investing all year and am astounded at how well I've done with my cards — all my gifts cards, that is. Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Walgreens…just about all the stores have them. I'm not saying I'm buying gift cards to give to everyone. No. I'm talking a strategy that has been filling my pockets painlessly, even in this tight economy.

After the holidays last year, I decided to start my own "Get krazy with the cards" investment scheme using, you might say, a "been there – done that" mentality. Little plastic store gift cards became my nest within which to build my "out of sight – out of mind" capital. No interest accrued. No charges owed. Just a hidden gathering of funds while I shop. Genius! Have you been doing that? Great minds think alike! Not a whiz kid yet? That's okay. I'll be happy to share. There's just enough time left before the holidays arrive for you to become brilliant. (Genius requires an entire year).

I'm guessing your shopping sprees are fairly predictable – like mine. Spending habits run deep in our veins. For instance, when I go to Walgreens, I know each trip is going to cost me around $20.00, give or take a few bucks. Kroger – $30.00, Target – $10.00, and so on.

Here is what I do. My first transaction at each store I regularly shop is to reload the store's gift card I’ve already purchased. I'll use Walgreens for my example. As I mentioned earlier, each shopping trip there usually costs me around $20.00.  I have the cashier reload $25.00 onto my card. Then I proceed with my transaction(s) using my card. When I am finished, I have spent $20.00, give or take, and have a small amount of cash left on my card. I do the same on all my other stops, loading just a little more money on the card than I plan to use.

Heading home with all my goodies, my mind considers the small amount of money left on each card already invested. You know…been there – done that…out of sight – out of mind.

When the holidays arrive and money seemingly takes wings, I won't have to lay aside my coupon runs or deplete my stockpile for lack of funds. (That's good news for any scissor clipping coupon devotee.) That's because those little bits of cash left on each card have grown into a month's worth of bargain shopping. I get to use all that money I've accumulated on all my cards to all my favorite stores! What an investment – Happy Holidays to me! Oh, and all those extra gift cards from Target? I've been hanging on to all the $5.00 ones. They will make super stocking stuffers or appreciation gifts for the mailman, beautician, etc. Oh, oh. I have a "fuel" card with which I've been using the same strategy.

Get crazy with your cards, friend…and I don't mean credit cards.

This has been a guest post by Melissa from Pocahontas, AR
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Save for the Holidays: Get KRAZY with the cards!