[tabi] Re: gift cards

  • From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2012 20:43:21 -0400

These are good tips Lynn.


We do use the cash-back, no-fee credit cards, and we have several because
each card is capped at around $300 per year.  Sometimes I think we've earned
around $1000 in some years with the cash-back, and taking advantage of
various special offers which paid off in the "points" for the card, which
eventually translate into dollars.


A lot of these cards however are limited to those with good credit; if you
aren't sure what you have, you can get a free credit report (once a year) to
see items about your credit history (and correct any mistakes), and you
should pay the $20 for your FICO score (at myfico.com for instance), which
will tell you more about your credit rating, including what problems you
have and what to do about them.


These days many things which impact your financial life are influenced by
your FICO score (how much you are charged for various types of insurance for
instance; whether you will be allowed to rent, or how much your rent will
be, can all be based on your FICO score).  Everyone should know their credit
history and their FICO score as part of getting their financial life under








From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Lynn Evans
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 5:52 PM
To: TABI Mailing list
Subject: [tabi] gift cards


Save money with gift cards 


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

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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