Columnist – Gayle Lynn Falkenthal
Like them or not, gift cards are here to stay. Americans spend $50 billion (yes, BILLION) on gift cards every year.
One reason to love gift cards is if you’re a thrifty shopper. Gift cards can often be purchased at a discounted price. If you can spend $80 for a $100 gift card, you just got a 20% discount. Use it to buy items on sale and you’ve saved even more. It’s a great way to save a little bit on gift giving.
But why not stock up on discount gift cards for stores that you regularly shop at, and give yourself some savings on purchases you would make anyway? I recently bought a refrigerator at a major home improvement store. I paid about 75% of the price with discounted gift cards. These discounts alone saved me $145.
So where do you find these cards? Here are some inside tips:
PlasticJungle.com – This is one of the most popular and well-known discount gift card websites.
GiftCardGranny.com – This is one of my favorites. This is an aggregator site that offers a list of deals it’s collected for you. These are flat prices, not auctions, so you can buy and get your card right away. Discounts average from 15% to 30% off. I bought a $100 Payless Shoes card for $80. The best deal when I checked: A $200 gift card for Hooters restaurants was selling for $89.99 – that’s a 55% savings. If you eat at Hooters with a few friends, you’ll use up that $200 in no time.
Giftah.com – Individuals can buy and sell gift cards here. Discounts are usually in the 20% range. Recent offerings included Home Depot, Pottery Barn, AMC Theatres, and Lululemon athletic wear.
SwapAGift.com and MonsterGiftCard.com are two other sites to check out.
eBay –When I entered the search term “gift cards,” over 17,000 listings came up. Individuals put gift cards up for bid for everything you can imagine. I checked on some of the most recent sales. Among the most interesting bargain I saw: a $100 gift card to the Del Taco fast food chain sold for $52.33. That’s almost half-price on your purchases with this card. A $100 iTunes card went for $50. A Sephora $225 gift card sold for $152 – that’s 35% off anything in the store, even high end items that NEVER go on sale.
Craigslist – Individuals offload gift cards and gift certificates for local restaurants and services they can’t use, or when they need cash. I found two San Diego restaurant deals for half price here (a high end Italian restaurant was $100 for $50; and a brew pub was $30 for $15).
Be sure to read the fine print. Check on expiration dates and any purchase restrictions. Also make sure there are no user fees, or fees deducted per month when the card isn’t being used. These can all add up fast.
The best time of year to buy discounted gift cards is right after the holidays, as there is an increase of people selling off unwanted gift cards on the auction and exchange sites. But there are plenty of good choices all year round.
Visit my eBay store “TNBB” for some fun items I’ve picked out just for you. My finds are your finds!
Category: Kids & Family