I confess: I love to shop. It’s a huge oxymoron that my 2 passions are saving money and shopping! Lol! I enjoy buying nice things when I can and within budget and I’m here to tell you that it is possible to save a ton of money when shopping for just about anything by buying discount gift cards.
BUYING DISCOUNT GIFT CARDS
You don’t have to wait for someone to give you a gift card, it’s possible to purchase discount gift cards online! And the discounts can be HUGE!
Gift Card Resellers
Have you ever received a gift card and thought “What were they thinking?! I’ll never use this!” There are websites that purchase unloved gift cards and resell them at a discount. They may also purchase from brokers who specialize in reselling gift cards to bring you great discounts. Cardpool and Gift Card Granny are two examples.
**Money Tip: Make sure to always read the site’s purchase guarantee for how they’ll protect you if anything goes wrong with your purchase**
I personally use Cardpool for buying gift cards and love it! I’ve saved tons of money on everything from clothes to furniture. However, I find them best for shopping for myself. Many of their gift cards have been partially used – i.e., someone made a purchase and sold the rest of the gift card. Meaning that if you intend to buy a $100 gift card, you may end up with 2 or 3 gift cards that come close to $100 (obviously, you pay for the amount you purchase). Not that they don’t also sell complete gift cards, but not always. This makes them perfect for me, not so much if I want to buy one as a gift for someone else.
**Money Tip: Always read where you can use the gift card – some are online only. If you plan to shop at the physical store, this can be a problem**
WARNING: when buying used gift cards online, make sure the website is legitimate and take the time to read the fine print to make sure they guarantee your purchase
Gift Cards from Affiliate Websites
You can also buy discount gift cards from some of the affiliate websites. Swagbucks, for example, sells discounted gift cards – their discount is in the form of swag bucks that you get back on each purchase, which you can then use to score other gift cards for free. These discounts may not be as generous as those with a site like Cardpool, but they do offer new, unused gift cards with full values. In my $100 example from above, here you would buy a single gift card for $100 – not 3 totaling close to $100. Also, as far as I have been able to tell, they are limited to eGift cards.
Stack the Savings
For the most savings, you can use your discounted gift card with other discounts and promotions.
Sign up with an Affiliate Website
These websites offer discounts if you click through to the retailer from their website to complete your shopping. There are tons of sites that do this! Some examples are eBates for cash back in the form of a check or gift card, Swagbucks for points you can redeem for future gift cards and most airlines have a marketplace where you can get airline miles for shopping online (as a bonus, this can also keep your miles from expiring). Some now reward you for purchasing at the physical store too!
Search for Discount Codes
The affiliate sites may have discount codes directly on their website or may have conditions that you can only use their discount codes, so make sure you check there first. Beyond that, I always like to do a final search for “store coupon code” before checking out. You never know what you may unearth.
**Money Tip: Love a retailer? Sign up for their email and/or mail list to make sure you receive their coupons**
Wait for a Sale
Depending on the retailer, it may be worth waiting for a sale. For some retailers, a discount code is the best you may be able to do – their pricing is usually consistent. When the item is not on sale, available discount codes magically get you what is their normal promotional pricing. For others, waiting for a sale can make a huge difference. This last step requires patience. I’ve waited from 1 week to up to 3 months for an item to be on sale. Obviously, this last tactic, depends on your personal time frame.
Shopping with Discount Cards in Action!
We recently replaced much of the 15-year old furniture in our living room and dining room. Here is a breakdown of what we saved on a Buffet we bought at a local home decor store:
- Regular price: $600
- Waited for sale. (Finally!) discounted by 15%: $510
- Additional 10% off coupon from the store’s email list (score!): $459
- Purchased Discounted Gift Card at a 23% discount: $489 in gift card value ($459 + local sales tax): $377 <– my final out of pocket 🙂
I paid $377 for an item that is normally $600!!!! That’s almost a 40% discount! We repeated this strategy for the other furniture pieces for HUGE savings. In total, during this refurnishing, we purchased a real wood buffet, coffee table, end table, entertainment center, shelves and even a large screen TV for a fraction of the price.