Disclosure: Some posts contain referral links (much love if you use them!). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any entities.
As I talked about in a previous blog post with Ebates, there are numerous under-the-radar ways to save money when shopping. Some of them, like Ebates, are relatively painless, whereas others need a little more planning in order to make the money-saving magic happen.
Gift Card Granny is a little bit of both. It is essentially a one-stop-shop for gift cards. One you go to the site, you can type in a store and it will act as a search engine for all the different resellers out there – from ABC Gift Cards to eBay. This turns Gift Card Granny into Gift Card Google and with the click of a button finds the best discount available!
Another benefit of GCG is that they have a rewards and referral program. For every dollar you spend, you get a point, and if you refer a friend who makes a purchase, you get 1,000 points. 1k points are only worth $5 towards a gift card, so it is not a revolutionary savings, but hey – every little bit helps! If this post convinces you to download the app and check them out, use my referral link for an easy $5.
While Gift Card Granny has both electronic and plastic gift cards for sale, electronic ones are always the ones I use. They usually arrive within 30 minutes (so they are still an option even if you are already out shopping!) and as a handy reminder, as long as I have a balance on it I’ll keep the email in my inbox to remind me. As an added bonus, they have an app that makes it easy to pull up gift cards even when you are on the go.
Lastly, GCG has a “Secret Deals” section that is always worth scrolling through. This section includes gift cards that are selected by the GCG team, and they usually have some extra gift card or bonus that to go along with their purchase (i.e. buy a $50 Applebees gift card and get a $10 bonus card).
Things to keep in mind when looking into a gift card savings hack
- Some stores have a limit on the number of gift cards you can use towards a purchase. I caught this just in time when I was looking at getting an iPad for TNPC from Target. In this case, it was on sale for $499 until the end of the day, so I was going to get around 6 Target gift cards from GCG for an 8% (at the time) savings. Fortunately, I caught at the last minute that Target has a 4 gift card maximum. While Target lets you combine mobile gift cards, this would have been a bit more complicated and wouldn’t have worked with my time constraints.
- If you have any gift cards you are saving from stores you don’t frequent, make sure the stores don’t go out of business! Retail stores are dropping like flies – in just the last couple years, Radioshack, HHGregg, Family Christian Stores and American Apparel are only a few of the stores that have either declared bankruptcy or gone out of business. Each retailer handles gift cards differently, but you should absolutely try to use the value on the card ASAP. Some ideas include buying items to resell, donate or give as gifts.
- Make sure you plan on using your discounted gift card within 100 days of purchase. This is the length of most money-back guarantees offered on second-hand gift cards (but double-check what your vendor’s guarantee is!).
- While this shouldn’t affect a used gift card purchase, some retailers and banks charge monthly fees up to $2.50 if they aren’t used by a certain date. If you have any gift cards laying around, either make it a point to use them next time you go to a store or check to ensure they aren’t actively losing value.
Under the radar Gift Card Options
- Traveling soon? Check out GCG for airline and hotel gift cards. As of this posting, they have Southwest Airline (my favorite airline!) gift cards available for an 8% discount! A $300 flight sees savings of $24 – not a bad return on a couple minutes spent purchasing the gift cards. Once again, always check the fine print of a business’ gift card policy – Southwest allows you to use 3 different payment methods. Aka, you can use 3 gift cards (or less) if they cover the full cost of the flight, but otherwise, you could only use 2 gift cards and then a debit/credit card.
- Heading to dinner tonight? Pull up the GCG app if you are going to a chain restaurant and say hello to some easy savings.
- Getting new furniture soon? Ikea gift cards are going for a 9% discount right now. I’d never considered Ikea when looking for gift cards, but purchases from there tend to be triple digits, so it’s definitely worth it!
- Buy movie tickets! Fandango gift cards are available for as much as a 30% discount, which can make those rising movie prices much more reasonable, especially for larger families.
The Simple Summary
Gift cards are one of my favorite under-the-radar money savers, and GCG makes it easy to rack up points and gift cards on the fly. Once I started digging around and thinking outside of the box, I was surprised with how many different gift card options there are. What are some innovative ways that you have used gift cards to save? I’d love to hear – share in the comments!