I’m SAVING 7% at LOWES & 12% at STARBUCKS for Life – So Can You!

by Darwin on March 9, 2011

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 various online places. Â  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.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents March 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Excellent idea! I am sure many people just think about selling their unwanted cards versus buying other people’s cards at discount.


Darwin March 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Sure, I did it when I had a Dell card. had no use for it, so sold it for 85 cents on the dollar!


LAMoneyGuy March 10, 2011 at 9:09 pm

It doesn’t need to beat the 1% cash back on your card. You can pay for your plastic jungle purchase with M/C or Visa. So, you still get your cash back/rewards and the discounted gift card. Nice!


Darwin March 10, 2011 at 10:45 pm

You’re totally right! What would I do without you guys?


Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter March 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Wish we had this in Canada!


Car Negotiation Coach March 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Darwin- PJ has a brilliant business model and I love taking advantage of it. I just did a major home improvement (new carpeting) and bought $2200 worth of Home Depot gift cards through PJ.


MoneyIsTheRoot March 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Oops forgot one thing… not that it’s always a huge deal breaker, but sales tax (varies by state) can be considerable on large purchases. These gift cards can be used for tax as well! Thats a discount on state sales tax…can you think of another way to do that? I CANT!


JoeTaxpayer September 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

For Home Depot, I found that they accept competitor’s coupons, and Lowes coupons for 10% off are a few dollars on eBay. $5 returned me $80 when I bought a new gas grill last year.


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