ORLANDO, Fla. – Gift cards are a popular gift over the holidays because they enable people to get exactly what they want.
But on News 6 at Nine, SavingsAngel.com's Josh Elledge said you should never pay full retail price for them.
◦ Combine offers – First, purchase a gift card at a discount or with a bonus. Then, use a discount code or coupon valid on your purchase (whether online or in-store) and pay with your gift card. This works the same as cash and is a great way to save up to 50 percent. When you shop online, don’t forget to also take advantage of free shipping.
◦ Try that promo code on a gift card – Most of the time, promotional or discount codes won’t work on gift cards, but occasionally, they do. It’s worth a try because sometimes you do find a retailer that is allowing the codes to work on their gift cards.
◦ The more you buy, the more you save – With some offers, the more you buy, the better the bonus you receive. Team up with a friend to spend enough and share the extra savings.
◦ Retailers such as Target offer gift card promotions on items throughout the year. Simply purchase from a specific group of items or category of products. Other retailers have been known to do similar things, such as Meijer’s rewards (which are like a paper gift card for Meijer stores). Offers and items vary from gift card purchases to everyday items to small appliances and change continually, so check weekly for deals.
◦ Costco and Sam’s Club – Both clubs have great deals on gift cards throughout the year. But this time of the year, they sometimes have even better promotions. For example, at the time of this writing, you can get four $25 Build a Bear gift cards for only $79.99 at Costco. Or at Sam’s Club, you can get $100 in iTunes gift cards for just $79.47. (Other denominations and savings are also available.) And these are just two of the many gift card deals available at these club stores.
◦ Use your Swagbucks. If you’ve been accumulating Swagbucks, it’s time to cash them in. Certain gift cards are even “on sale” right now, so you can get even more with your Swagbucks.
◦ Don’t have enough Swagbucks yet? You can still save on gift cards by buying them from MyGiftCardsPlus.com, powered by Swagbucks. You get cash back on every card they offer. Plus, if you need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift or you want to save on your Valentine’s Day date plans, you can usually find gift cards that are immediately printable so you can have them in-hand in minutes.
◦ You can also buy discounted gift cards from companies like Raise.com and Giftcardzen.com. Their gift cards are typically discounted between 5-20%, with some a bit lower and some even higher.
PROTECTING YOUR GIFT CARD INVESTMENT
◦ Make sure you protect your gift cards like cash. If they are lost or stolen, you usually have little recourse to recoup the money spent on them. However, some businesses will try to help you, as long as you have your gift card number and original purchase receipt.
◦ Take a picture on your phone of the card number and any associated PIN number in case you misplace it. You can usually still use the card online with just the numbers.
◦ Standard retailer and restaurant gift cards typically have no fees or expiration dates. Read the fine print on the backs of the cards or online to make sure.
◦ Some cards, such as prepaid Visas, do have various fees, so be aware of those and how they can affect the card balance over time.
SOME SPECIFIC DEALS (These can vary based on the timing when you want to purchase)
– Applebee’s – Get a $10 bonus for every $50 spent on gift cards.
– Cheesecake Factory – Get a free slice of cheesecake for every $25 gift card bought.
– Olive Garden – Get a $10 bonus for every $50 spent on gift cards.
– P.F. Chang’s – Get a $20 bonus for every $100 spent on gift cards.
– Dunkin’ Donuts – Get a $10 bonus for every $25 in gift cards bought (online only offer).
– Chili’s – Get a $10 bonus for every $50 in gift cards bought.
– Itunes gift card – Buy a gift card worth $100 or more and save $15 with the code ITUNES15
– Dollar Shave Club – Buy a gift card worth $50 or more and receive $10 off with code SHAVE10
– Famous Footwear – Buy a gift card worth $50 or more and save $10 with code FOOT10
– Rover.com – Buy a gift card worth $50 or more and receive $10 off with promo code DOG10