Convenience and preference.
Those are the two descriptors in favor of the holiday gift card.
In my own family, there are some members who consistently request gift cards and others who would prefer you take time to pick out something ‘more meaningful’. In my own immediate family, we exchange a lot of homemade Christmas gifts.
But, if you are going to buy some holiday gift cards, you might as well get the best possible price for your Christmas gift cards.
Where is the best place to get the best deal on a Holiday Gift Card?
One word – online.
Let me assure you that the gift card business is big money. I mean, we’re talking billions of dollars in sales annually.
That’s good news for you. Because where there is competition, there are deals. And the best place for the best deals is online.
Take for example, Plastic Jungle.
Plastic Jungle is a website that helps you buy, sell, and exchange gift cards. If you are looking to buy a gift card online then you’ll be able to get a good deal (and the person receiving the gift doesn’t even need to know).
The average card discount can be anywhere between 5-10%. So let’s imagine for a moment that your budget is to buy $250 in holiday gift cards. By using Plastic Jungle, you save anywhere from $12.50-$25.00. If you’ve never used something like Plastic Jungle. Don’t worry, they guarantee the transaction.
Ryan at Cash Money life does warn that cards may be damaged so you might be cautious if you want to re-gift them, but I’m guessing you could go to the store and get a new shiny one if you really wanted.
If you shop at Wal-Mart, a 4% discount on a $100 gift card might not be a BIG deal, but every dollar in savings helps.
Now, just tuck this one little tidbit away – when Christmas is over, you can go sell unwanted gift cards. That’s better than them just sitting in your sock drawer.
Amazon.com Gift Card
On of the things I like best about the Amazon Gift Card is that you can send them via email. I’ve both sent and received gift cards by Amazon email and it is a really convenient way to send a holiday gift card. If you are a last minute shopper, this might be your only option.
American Express Gift Card
The American Express gift card wouldn’t quality as one of the cheapest ways to buy a gift card, but it does have two things going for it – flexibility and ease of purchase. When you buy the AMEX gift card online you pay both a purchase cost and a shipping cost. If you’ve got several purchases you want to make at the same time, it may make sense. Of course, the biggest advantage is that you can buy anything anywhere AMEX is accepted. Therefore, it is not limited like store brand gift cards.
Check your Points Programs
I have an American Express Rewards credit card and I can use my rewards points for making purchases at Amazon (like an Amazon Gift Card). Also, I have ThankYou Reward points that allow me to use my points to buy gift cards.
They get a gift card and I spend nothing out of pocket. How’s that for being a Scrooge?
I think I once sold a holiday gift card on eBay, but I’m not positive. Some people would be mortified to know that you sold their gift card, but I’d rather have $20 I will spend than a $25 gift card I won’t spend.
Of course, when shopping on eBay the main concern is always fraud. Make sure you only try to buy gift cards through qualified sellers with solid feedback. However, if the purchase price is getting close to what you could get at Plastic Jungle, you should go to Plastic Jungle because they have better guarantees in place.
Use SmartyPig Savings
SmartyPig is an FDIC insured back that allows you to set savings goals. You could open an account and then set Christmas as savings goal (much like the old Christmas accounts). Then when your savings goal is complete, you can get your balance in the form of gift cards (at a discount, of course).
- Barnes and Noble – 5%
- Bed Bath and Beyond – 4%
- Gap – 5%
- Home Depot – 3%
- Jared Jewelry – 7%
- Kohls – 5%
- Macy’s – 12%
Buy Gift Cards at Kroger/King Soopers
Buy $100 worth of gift cards at King Soopers or Kroger (excluding Kroger gift cards) and save $.10 per gallon on gas. Here’s the detail from their website:
Spend $100 at participating Kroger Co. stores and save 10 cents per gallon with your Shopper’s Card when refueling at a Kroger Co. family fuel center. Discounts are earned each calendar month. For each $100 you spend, a $.10 discount per gallon on one fill-up is earned. You have until end of next calendar month to redeem the discount
Scan Your Local Newspaper
Occasionally you’ll come across a restaurant who offers discounts if you purchase a meal and a pack of gift cards. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about any specific offers because it all depends on your specific region. Just know that special offers are sometimes available.
General Gift Card Money Saving Tips
If you have a rewards credit card, you can even get more money back when you buy using your credit card.
Sometimes you’ll be forced to buy a larger gift card amount to get the biggest discount. If you have several people you want to buy for, you should be able to buy the larger gift card and then go into the store and use it to purchase several smaller gift card amounts. (Anyone tried this to verify it?)
Buy gift cards even if you’re shopping for others.
Let’s say that you know Aunt Sally would hate a gift card but would love a new comforter from Bed Bath and Beyond. Instead of going to Bed Bath and Beyond and buying the comforter with cash for $50, you could first buy a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card from Plastic Jungle (for 5% – 10% less) and then go and buy Aunt Sally the comforter using the gift card. Remember that places like Bed Bath and Beyond always have coupons floating around, so if you get a 20% off coupon and stack it with the discounted gift card, you’re talking some decent savings now.
Want to stretch your dollar even further? Order a gift card online and then make your purchase online through a site like Ebates where you can get an extra cash back anywhere from 2%-10%.
Photo by Design Packaging.