Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em; gift cards. Typically, we think of gift cards as something we get on our birthday or at Christmas. Half the time we’re excited because it’s to a store we like; the other half of the time they tend to collect dust somewhere or get pawned off when it’s someone else’s birthday. Here today, I’m telling you how to not only be excited about all gift cards, but also how it’s beneficial to use them as a strategic buying method.
First of all, if you get a gift card as a present, we all know you’re pretty well stuck with it right? Well, this is not necessarily true. There are a number of websites out there that will exchange gift cards or outright buy them for a small fee. So, therefore you can swap for what you want or opt for cold hard cash. That takes care of unwanted gift cards, but what if you really like using them?
Gift cards can be purchased as a strategic means to obtain other perks. For example: If I go to Giant Eagle (a mega grocery store in my neck of the woods) and purchase a $100 gift card to Home Depot, I now have $100 to burn at Home Depot and coincidentally earned myself $0.20 worth of Fuel Perks. Fuel Perks, for the benefit of understanding this example, is a benefit given by Giant Eagle for so many cents off per gallon of their brand of gasoline. In this scenario, I planned on going to Home Depot anyway, and so took a detour and purchased the gift card to get $0.20 off gas to boot. This is just one example, and there are many more. Suppose I want to make a significant purchase that I’d want to use a card for rather than cash. Why not purchase a pre-paid card that boasts no interest and yields something like cash back or airline miles? This way, you still get what you wanted to buy and get something extra. Another fun thing to do is use a gift card to buy another gift card and reap the benefits as a domino effect. The whole point of these practices is to get something for free that you would have missed out on by skipping the gift card tactic altogether.
Gift cards, in general, are almost dollar for dollar; meaning, you’re not losing out on anything significant money wise when choosing to partake in the shuffle. And as indicated above, you can actually save money on other purchases in the process. So, when you see the gift card rack at the store, stop and consider for a moment if those cards could earn you a little something extra.
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