Save money (almost) everywhere
This section isn’t specifically about travel, but about saving money on just about everything. The idea is simple: Buy gift cards at a discount, and (if possible) spend the gift cards through the best online shopping portal available. Here are the details:
Buy discount gift cards
There are many companies that buy and sell discounted gift cards. I’ve found that the easiest way to find the best deals is through a site called Gift Card Wiki which aggregates prices from a number of gift card exchanges. Using their site, simply search for whichever merchant you are interested in and then sort the results by Discount % in order to find the best deals. Often you can save 10% or more off the value of the gift card.
In some cases, you can even do a little bit better by going through a cash back portal. For example, if you find that gift card reseller Cardpool has a good price for gift cards, check online shopping portals such as TopCashBack to Cardpool to get additional cash back. Gyft is another reseller that often gives cashback through portals but they normally sell gift cards at full price.
For more tips for saving money or earning rewards when buying merchant gift cards, see:Merchant gift cards, best options for stacking deals.
Use gift cards wisely
Whether you plan to use your gift cards online or in-store, make sure to sign up for any loyalty program the store offers. For example, Sears / Kmart offers a “Shop Your Way Rewards” program in which you get the equivalent of 1% back on all purchases (savings can be applied to future purchases).
When using gift cards online, make sure to go through the best online portal available for points, miles, or cash back. Check CashBackMonitor to find the best offers. Once you have found the best option, sign into the appropriate portal. Then go through the portal to the online merchant in which you plan to shop, fill up your shopping cart, and check out using your gift cards.
- Some merchants have a limit as to how many gift cards can be used on one order.
- Not all merchants allow points to be earned when using gift cards. For example, Barnes & Noble & Best Buy will not award points for the portion of a purchase that uses a gift card. Some shopping portals will tell you in the fine print whether or not this is the case.
- Some merchants do not allow their gift cards to be used online at all. CVS is one example.
- Do comparison shopping in a different browser (e.g. use Chrome for shopping, and Firefox for comparison shopping). Otherwise, a site other than the portal may earn rewards instead of you.
- It is always a good idea to Google for coupon/promo codes (in a different browser) before checking out in order to save even more. In some cases, though, you won’t get points / miles / cash back from the shopping portal when you apply a code. Check the merchant’s terms and conditions before you proceed.
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Last updated on February 25th, 2016