No idea why I did not register for discounted gift card alerts until now. Buying gift cards online at a steep discount – up to 30% off the face value – is a quick and easy way to save. Combine coupons with a gift card you bought on sale and – WHAM! – huge savings. With a discounted gift card, I can easily bump up my over all savings to 50% off. Here’s what I did.
1. Register at Plastic Jungle, Gift Card Rescue or another site that sells (and often buys) gift cards at a discount. Both PJ and GCR guarantee the transactions, though it’s savvy to read the fine print so you know the refund process is if something goes wrong. I prefer Plastic Jungle because it has a bigger selection of cards than Gift Card Rescue, and also because I’m an affiliate so I earn a small commission if others use my link.
2. Set up email alerts for retailers you regularly shop at. I signed up for
eight alerts at Plastic Jungle, including Shell, United Airlines, Home Depot, The Body Shop, and CVS. PJ did not list gift cards for my local grocery chain, but I did see Giant and Publix on the list. I was surprised how many A-list stores were on the site! The Plastic Jungle list included:
- Anthropologie (my splurge weakness)
- Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble
- California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle
- JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macys
- Movie chains like AMC and Regal
- Safeway, Sears
Tip: When you set an alert you decide the minimum percentage off you want (I selected 15-20% off on most), the minimum dollar value you want on the card, and the maximum dollar value you would buy.
3. Wait for a steeply discounted gift card to become available, then buy as soon as you get a notification. Expect competition for popular stores with big gift card discounts.
4. Use a discounted gift card for as many purchases as you can. Just be sure keep them in a safe place because a lost card is lost money!
Do you buy discounted gift cards to save money?
UPDATE: Since I last blogged about not being able to spend $431 in gift cards in Nov. 2009, I am down to $145 in cards from five stores, including a recent $75 Pottery Barn gift card that was a wedding gift. I consider that a huge success! Are you hoarding gift cards?