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Never pay full price : Get 10-50% on EVERY purchase

54% discount at Abercrombie & Fitch? >90% discount at Kohls? How you wonder?  Read on!

I never pay full price for anything. I am not an extreme couponist either. You can save 10-50% without much effort, every single time. I have got up to 80% discount using the simple strategy outlined below.

  1. Buy discounted gift cards (3-30% discount)
  2. Use Credit Cards to buy the gift cards (2% Cash Back)
  3. Use coupons while making your purchase using the gift cards (5-20% discount)

So if you bought a gift card with a 30% discount and you used a coupon for 20% discount, you will pay less than half price. Time your purchase during the sales, you can easily come out with 80% or more in discounts.

You don’t have to give it as a gift. Use it for your regular purchases, no one says you can’t use a restaurant gift card to pay for your own eating out. In fact, I regularly use discounted restaurant gift card promotions during the holidays, to fund my year around eating out.

Step 1 : Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Buy discounted gift cards online

There are quite a few websites, listed below, that now sell discounted gift cards.

  • Plastic Jungle: I really like Plastic Jungle. I have bought and sold gift cards on Plastic Jungle. Never had a problem so far. They usually have the best price when I look to buy.
  • GiftCards.com
  • ABC Gift cards
  • Gift Card Rescue
  • Card Pool
  • Gift Card Castle
  • Monster Gift Cards

But I always start with an aggregator for these gift cards –

  • Gift Card Granny (Includes eBay, but I usually avoid buying from eBay eventhough the discount is a steeper on eBay than say Plastic Jungle)
  • Cardnub

Gift Card Granny & CardNub, don’t buy/sell gift cards themselves. They are more like a “Kayak” for gift cards. You can see prices from different discounted gift card outlets like Plastic Jungle & Card Pool. After I get a general idea of pricing from these aggregators, I check Monster Gift and Gift Card Rescue, because I have never seen them included in the comparison list from Gift Card Granny or CardNub.

The discount is not very great with the most popular stores like Target or Walmart. Target Gift cards go for 5% discount and Walmart Gift Cards offer 3%, not great discount, but it is 3-5% you didn’t have before. There are lot of Gift cards that have steeper discounts – California Pizza Kitchen (14% discount), Ann Taylor (20% discount), 1800 Flowers (30% discount), etc.

Buy discounted Gift Cards at a warehouse club

Costco & Sams Club carry a lot of gift cards. The selection is not as wide as the online gift card sites, but you can find some good bargains on local spas, theme parks and restaurants. The discount is usually around 10-20%.

Buy discounted gift cards using retail/seasonal promotions

I have written about the Restaurant Gift Card promotions during the holiday season. To encourage gift(card) giving, a lot of retail stores and restaurants run promotions during the holidays. It could be a discount or bonus, the gift cards will be cheaper during this time than the rest of the year. I usually stock up on my favorite restaurants to use them year round.

Get discounted gift cards in exchange to your coin jar

This is not an ideal method, but it is good to keep this option in mind. Here is why – Coin Star occasionally runs promotion with different stores. If you take your coin jar to Coin Star and instead of getting cash opt for getting a gift card, they usually waive the coin counting fee and also offer a promotion to favor one gift card over another. The promotion I loved was last Nov/Dec when Coin Star offered an $50 Amazon gift card for $40 worth of coins. I hunted for every single penny in my house that time :) because a 20% discount on Amazon is very hard to come by. Right now they are running a similar promotion on iTunes. $40 coins, you get $40 + extra $10 bonus gift card. Keep an eye on their promotions and sometimes it is a good way to get discounted gift cards.

Step 2 : Use rewards credit card to buy the discounted gift cards

I use my Schwab Signature Visa (2% back on every purchase) to buy these gift cards. I use my credit card as an extra layer of protection just in case something goes wrong with my gift cards.

Step 3 : Stack your discounted gift cards with store sales and coupons for an even better deal

Discounted gift cards are ideal to stack with coupons. The store won’t know how you got your gift cards, so there are usually no restrictions on using them along with coupons.  Same goes for clearance merchandise, there won’t be any restriction on using these gift cards to buy clearance and on-sale merchandise. If you want to know where to find coupons and discount codes to stack, check out my post this Wednesday.

If you were wondering about the A&F and Kohls discounts I alluded to in the beginning, heres how to swing it.

Example 1 : If you are an Abercombie & Fitch shopper. A&F gift cards go for 12% discount. There is a promotion going on at Abercrombie & Fitch to get 40% off with a coupon (check this post for more information – Abercrombie & Fitch 40% store wide). If I buy my gift card using my Schwav visa I get 2% back. Total Savings 54%

Example 2 : Kohls gift cards are 14% discounted. As long as I pay some part of it using my Kohls Charge card, my Kohls allows me to use the 30% off coupon they send me. Kohls has a great clearance rack that has up to 80% discounted dresses. I bought $400 worth of vacation clothing and a costly vacuum cleaner before we went to Cancun last year for $30 and change. Total Savings >90%

There is no point in buying gift cards just because they are discounted. But I buy gift cards for things that we use everyday – groceries, gas, restaurants & clothing. Some discounts are greater than other but it is a discount nevertheless.

Have you use discounted gift cards to save money? Did you have any problems?

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