[tabi] gift cards

  • From: Lynn Evans <austin.evans60@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "TABI Mailing list" <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2012 17:52:11 -0400

Save money with gift cards 
8/4/2012 


I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that you like money. I'll bet you 
like free money even better.

Free money is essentially what you get if you buy secondhand gift cards from 
exchange websites. You can also use other methods to acquire gift cards and get 
bonus savings. Let's take a look at the opportunities.

Buying a $25 Target gift card for $22.25 doesn't look very impressive at first 
glance. But if you make using discounted gift cards part of your household 
budget and shopping strategy, those savings you find online can really add up 
over time.

Gift card exchanges
Sites like Cardpool, GiftCardRescue.com, Gift Card Granny and Plastic Jungle 
are popular places to sell unwanted gift cards - and to pick up discounted gift 
cards secondhand.

It makes sense to sell a card that you know you'll never use. Depending on the 
card, you may be able to get as much as 80 to 90 percent of face value. 
GiftCardRescue.com will give you 5 percent more for an unwanted card if you 
take an Amazon gift card in lieu of cash.

To buy gift cards, bookmark your favorite sites and shop around. One site might 
have more cards and better deals than another site on any given day. If cards 
for one of your favorite retailers are unavailable at the moment, you can set 
an alert.

Best Buy gift cards often sell at a 4-6 percent discount. You'll see similar 
savings on cards from Home Depot and Lowe's.

Even just a few percentage points off an Apple Store gift card takes a little 
of the sting out of buying that iPad cover you need.

You can save an additional 3 to 5 percent on your weekly grocery bill by 
snagging discounted gift cards from Kroger, Safeway, Publix and other chains. 
Add that with coupons and savings programs at the store where you shop, and 
you're saving some significant change.

You can usually choose to receive a physical card in the mail or buy an 
electronic gift card. Electronic card codes will be emailed to you instantly, 
but they can only be used online.

Try to buy cards with no fees and no expiration dates for the best savings and 
least amount of hassle. Keep in mind that some exchange cards are partially 
used and have odd amounts on them. They wouldn't be appropriate for gift-giving.

If you're already a member of a warehouse retail club, such as Costco, Sam's 
Club or BJ's Wholesale, you can often pick up discounted cards for a number of 
outlets and sites that don't otherwise discount - for example, iTunes.

Rewards credit cards
If you're in a hurry, or need to buy a gift card for an actual gift, it's easy 
to buy one at the grocery store. You'll have to pay face value, though.

If you're purchasing a full-price gift card, consider using a rewards credit 
card to buy it. A Blue Cash Preferred card from American Express, for example, 
earns 6 percent cash back at grocery stores. Discover has a similar plan. 
Chase, Capital One and Citi offer a variety of rewards Visa and MasterCards.

Most rewards cards let you redeem for cash or discounted gift cards from retail 
partners.

Be careful, however. The advantages of earning a little free money here and 
there quickly disappear if you carry any kind of balance and pay interest on 
the debt.

Read the fine print on qualifying purchases. Bonus categories may rotate 
throughout the year. Also check to see if rewards are capped.

Do the math on whether you'll earn more rewards in a year with a no-fee card or 
a card that charges an annual fee. Unless you are a very high-volume shopper, 
it's usually better to use a no-fee card and take the lower-percentage reward.

Rewards for savers
Do you need to save for a vacation or an HDTV? The online social banking site 
SmartyPig can help you reach your goal faster by setting up automatic transfers 
and allowing friends and relatives to chip in.

Everyone wants to give something you really want when it's gift-giving time. 
This is a way to help them do that; just let them know what you are saving for 
and how they can help.

When you're ready to redeem, you can transfer your savings to a cash-back 
retail card. You'll receive a 5 percent bonus on a Crutchfield purchase, for 
instance, or a 10 percent bonus on a hotel stay booked through Travelocity.

That'll give you a warm feeling when you're watching football games on a new 
55-incher this winter - or lounging poolside at a tropical resort

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