I’m a huge fan of financial innovations and market forces creating efficiencies that didn’t exist previously. With the advent of the internet and some obvious ideas, I’m now saving anywhere from 5%-15% on various major spending categories in our family through simply buying discounted gift cards at CardPool. Basically, since so many people are given gift cards they don’t want, they simply sell them through this exchange at a discount which you can enjoy! Today, I went on and checked out the discounts on some obvious spending categories that I view as inevitable in the coming year. Lowe’s is an obvious one – we’re constantly upgrading our home, buying tools, lightbulbs, etc. – why not just get a 7% discount on everything? It beats the 1% I get back by using my credit card! Here are the stores and discounts for what our family will be spending on this year.
Best Buy – 6% Off
Cheesecake Factory – 9% Off
Childrens Place – 10% Off
Dick’s Sporting Goods – 15% Off
Home Depot – 7% Off
Lowe’s – 7% Off
Old navy, Gap, Banana Republic – 8% Off
Starbucks – 12% Off
Target – 5% Off
US Airways – 6% Off
Walmart – 3% Off
You Shop Here, Right?
These are everyday-type expenses we have anyway. OK, so if Starbucks was a “major” spending category, that would be a problem. But at 12% off, Starbucks is a bit more justifiable. Gadget Lover? I’ll take 6% off at Best Buy. While 5% off at Target may not sound like much, you can buy practically all your food and everyday needs there, so 5% adds up across a year.
An obvious downside to gift cards is either losing them, or buying things at those stores “just to use them”, so you should perform a realistic assessment of where you’ll be spending your money regardless this year, and then consider buying blocks of $100, $200 cards or whatever. If you spend a couple thousand across a year on cards and save say, 6%, you’re conceivably looking at saving well over $100 each year in post-tax spending cash. Not too shabby!
What If the Card Doesn’t Work?
No worries, they’ll work. Plastic Jungle checks the info on the cards and offer a guarantee in the event they don’t. I’ve both bought and sold cards through them before and have never had a problem.
You Can Sell Your Junky Cards Too!
That reminds me – just like when I had a Dell gift card I wanted nothing to do with – I just sold it for cash. Of course, you’re selling at a discount to face value (so the buyer gets a discount and these companies collects a small spread), but it beats having a useless card sit around forever.
Check out other stores I didn’t list and see what works for you at CardPool.