This is a guest post written by one my awesome reader Angela.
Here is the rundown on the discounted gift cards websites:
–The main way they get their gift cards in order to sell them is by buying them from people who do not want them. For example, if someone gave you a Neiman Marcus Gift Card and you didn’t want it because you never shop there, you can sell it to one of these discounted gift card websites. They’d buy it from you at a discounted price and then re-sell it to someone else for a discounted price.
–They are guaranteed – they check the gift cards to make sure that they have the proper amount of credit on them before sending them to you.
–Some of these gift cards are “merchandise credits” – for example, if someone returned a lawnmower to Lowe’s, they might receive a “merchandise credit” on a gift card. Let’s say this person didn’t want to buy anything else from Lowe’s…they could sell the merchandise credit/gift card to the discounted gift card website, who will in turn sell it to you at a discounted price.
–I am not suggesting that you buy these as “gifts” – because they are often kind of ugly, written on, or beat up – or may even say “merchandise credit” right on the gift card. What I AM suggesting is that you buy these for yourself as a way of saving some extra cash on special – and everyday – purchases. I have bought plenty and never had a problem.
–They sell gift cards for many, many things. Major retailers and department stores…home improvement stores…restaurants…movie theaters…entertainment venues…hotels and car rentals…1800 flowers, specialty stores (bath and body, etc), shoe stores, furniture stores, computer/appliance stores, ITUNES, book stores, etc, etc, etc.
–They charge either no shipping…or very minimal shipping.
–What they have in stock changes from day-to-day. One day they may have 15 Lowe’s gift cards…the next time you look they may have none. I check all 3 websites to see what they have in stock.
–Two of the websites have a feature that allows you to sign up for email alerts letting you know when a particular gift card is in stock. For example, if they are out of Lowe’s, I might sign up for an alert letting me know when they get some in stock. Some things are rare – so if I don’t jump on it the minute I get the alert, someone else will buy it before I get to it! Some of the ones that I have set up alerts for are: Gamestop, Walgreens, CVS, Cracker Barrel, Overstock.com. Because they are rare and aren’t often in stock – people grab them up right away.
–The level of discounts change, too. Walmart may be 3% one day, 4% the next. Also, the discounts may differ between the websites. One may have Walmart for 3%, the other may have it for 4%. That’s just one example off the top of my head. So you’ll want to scope out all 3 websites before making your purchase.
–Also, some gift cards are valid at more than one place. So if an Olive Garden gift card is a bigger discount than the Red Lobster, buy the Olive Garden one! (as you should be able to use it at both places) (You can email the website to be sure) One time we were making a large purchase from Sears. The Sears gift cards were an 8% discount. But the Lands End/Kmart/Sears cards were 12% discount! I bought the Lands End/Kmart/Sears card instead and saved a lot more!
–The percentage of discount can differ greatly. Walmart may only be 4%…but some other cards may be as much as 15% or more!
–You can maximize your savings by using these gift cards towards things that are on sale AND using coupons!
Some examples of what I have used them for:
- We bought 3 storm doors and a ceiling fan from Lowe’s costing us well over $700. Using discounted gift cards, we saved $68 right off the top!
- We bought a lap top online from Sears. We saved over $80 buy buying discounted gift cards. Plus, we maximized our savings by using a coupon…plus, buying it through Ebates.com (which gave us a 4% rebate!), and we made $12 by signing up for Sears Rewards. So you can really maximize your savings by using the discount gift cards along with coupons and other incentives!
- Hyatt gift card – We always stay at a Hyatt Place when traveling to/from Chicago
- I buy discounted movie theater gift cards and combine them with Entertainment Book coupons and also sign up for the theater rewards club.
- We buy discounted restaurant gift cards and pair them with coupons whenever possible. (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo, Bonefish Grill, etc)
- I bought discounted gift cards for Omaha Steaks because we often send Omaha Steaks as gifts, as well as 1800 Flowers.
- I buy discounted gift cards for Gamestop because my kids are video nuts. I also signed up for the Gamestop club to get 10% off of every purchase. So I save 10% from the club, plus several bucks offs for the discounted gift card.
- Even though the percentage is kind of low, I regularly buy them for Target and Walmart because it’s like getting a coupon for several dollars off my order every time I shop there!
There are more websites out there, but these are the three websites that I mostly deal with:
Plastic Jungle – I first read about this website in two different magazines that listed it as a great way to save money. I have also saw this particular website mentioned on a few coupon blogs. I have ordered from here. Shipping is always free. I haven’t had any problems. They have a feature that will allow you to sign up for email alerts when they get in stock the gift card you’re waiting for.
ABC Gift Cards – I have used them several times, as well – with no problems. They charge $1 shipping if your order is less than $50. It’s free if your order is over $50. They also have a feature that allows you to sign up for email alerts letting you know when they have what you’re looking for.
Monster Gift Card – I believe their shipping is always free. Today is the first time that I ordered from them, though they always look like they have a good selection.