According to CNBC, gift cards may be a dying trend. In our house, gift cards help stretch our budget. Here are my top tips for how I use gift cards to get the best deals on the things I would buy anyway.
Gift Card Deals
Many retailers offer gift card deals, especially at Christmas time. I have received bonus gift cards from a variety of merchants, including Blockbuster, Chili's, and Best Western. Cinemark Movie Theaters currently offer $5 in movie bucks (redeemable at the concession stand) with the purchase of any gift card valued at $30 or more. Moe's Southwest Grill gives purchasers $5 in Moe Bucks for every $25 gift card purchased, a bonus of 20%.
My local Publix grocery story regularly offers discounted gasoline gift cards. With the purchase of $50 in groceries and a coupon (found in the in-store circular), I can purchase a $50 gas gift card for $40. With the rising cost of gas, a 20% discount is a welcome break, and the store features a number of different brands to choose from.
Gift Card Discounts
Some merchants offer discounts to customers using gift cards. We register our reloadable Starbucks gift card and earn points towards free food and drinks with the My Starbucks Rewards program.
Swap Buy Sell
Several online sites allow you to swap, buy, or sell gift cards, including eBay and Plastic Jungle. I have found discounted cards for many of my favorite department stores, hotel chains, and restaurants, allowing us to shave 4% to 12% off purchases, as well as travel and dining expenses. Some sites offer ecards, allowing me to receive my discounted gift card certificate via email in a matter of minutes. This allows me to take advantage of the discount without tying up a tremendous amount of money in cards for future purchases.
Cash Back Gift Cards
Two of our cash back rewards credit cards allow us to purchase gift cards with our cash back bonus. Discover allows us to purchase gift cards at a further discount, allowing our cash back bonus to go even farther. We can buy a $50 Domino's gift card for $45 in cash back rewards, providing an additional 10% on our next pizza purchase.
Discount warehouse stores often offer gift cards to a variety of merchants at discounted prices or with bonus cards attached.
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