With the iTunes music store, the App Store for iOS devices, and now the Mac App Store, spending money with your Apple ID can quickly get out of control. This is especially true with music and mobile apps that are very inexpensive. The easiest way to prevent all of those small purchases from burning your wallet is to simply decide how much you are going to spend each month on iTunes and then purchase iTunes gift cards. You buy the gift card, enter the code into iTunes, and then the program keeps your balance at top of the application so that you know how much money you have left.
Doing this helps you in many ways. It keeps your budget in line because you have a set amount of money to spend. It also keeps you from having to annotate all of those small purchases if you still use a check book or a software program entering transactions manually. Furthermore, your spending is not a surprise when you actually sit down to analyze it. One other thing I noticed is that I have become picky about what I choose to purchase as I watch my gift card balance wind down. When you set a spending goal, sometimes you end up competing with yourself to end the month under budget.
You can also score good deals on iTunes gift cards from time to time. Publix has offered iTunes gift card deals similar to their gas card promotions in the past. CVS will sometimes have ECB deals on iTunes gift cards. According to I Heart Saving Money, Best Buy is currently running a deal for $80 for a $100 iTunes card.
Does that sound much better than giving Apple your credit or debit card number and then spending freely? I think so.