Why You Should Buy Holiday Gift Cards…For Yourself

19 Dec

ImageTraditionally, gift cards have not been the value for your dollar; sure, they seem slightly less tacky than throwing some cash in a card, but you can only redeem them for face-value (less if you resell) and they usually languish in a kitchen drawer until they expire.

Things have changed a lot this year, especially with the holidays approaching. Why? The lagging economy, of course. Both online and brick & mortar retailers want to insure sales stay strong by offering great deals on gift card purchase that are well above and beyond the face value. And it’s not just on traditional merchandise; you can save on everything from phone cards to spa services, fast food to car washes. Another reason is because people have had their credit cards cancelled or reduced due to financial hardships, like foreclosures. Gift cards now have a lot of credit card abilities, like paying for online purchases and you can even swipe them at the gas pump. If you go to the same restaurant for lunch a couple times a week, why pay cash when you can save big by paying with a gift card instead?

Here’s some ways you can cash in:

  • Cash back credit cards. Most credit cards that offer cash back have highest rewards for grocery store purchases (usually 3-5%) vs. a paltry 1% on general purchases, so buy your gift cards for all your needs at the grocery store.
  • Customer reward programs. Although stores offering their own gift cards may also have store customer rewards that you can take advantage of, your best bet is still the gasoline discounts when purchasing gift cards at the grocery store, with or without a cash back credit card.
  • Retailer promotions. Many retailers are offering some very generous bonuses if you purchase their cards. Sites like Pocket Your Dollars shows you where to purchase these cards so you can take advantage of the special savings. Remember, many of these cards are used for purchases you make every day, so why pay cash when you can get a discount?
  • Third party vendors. Stores like Costco offer one-stop-shopping for all your gift card needs and you can purchase them online. Some are sold for face value, but many contain the same holiday bonuses you find at the retailers website.
  • Resale card vendors. You can save as much as 35% off the gift card’s remaining balance by buying partially used gift cards from sites like Giftcards.com.
  • Promo codes. If you’ve read my post “15  Super Tips For Shopping Savings Success”,  you know to get additional savings by using promo codes when you redeem your gift cards, but what you may not realize is you can also use promo codes to purchase your gift cards.

Don’t forget to combine offers whenever possible when purchasing gift cards, and use promo codes when redeeming your gift cards for added savings. Play your cards right and gift cards can practically pay for themselves, but you had better hurry before these holiday offers end.

Good news readers, you can now follow me on Facebook! Simply visit Real Penny Wise and click LIKE. Be sure to SHARE with your friends too.

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2 Responses to “Why You Should Buy Holiday Gift Cards…For Yourself”

  1. Canadianbudgetbinder December 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    We get gift cards for Shoppers Drug Mart here in Ontario as you get rewards points back when you purchase them which is great. We typically give gift cards if the person wanted something from a specific shop or requests it. For us we get them just to save money like the SDM cards I mention above then purchase our order using that card. Cheers

    • realpennywise December 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      That sounds like a good deal, thanks for sharing!

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