How to score cheaper gift cards
Take note secret Santas and last-minute shoppers: When it comes to most popular presents, gift cards reign supreme. In a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 62 percent of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making them the most requested gift eight years in a row.
The average holiday shopper buying gift cards will spend $172.14 this year, up from $163.16 last year, according to the NRF, and, overall spending on gift cards is expected to reach $31.74 billion.
Care to get a better bang for your gift card buck? We thought so. Here’s how you can score cheaper gift cards this season.
Earn Cash Back: Buy gift cards from popular retailers at ShopAtHome.com and earn Cash Back on your purchases to spend however you like. Card Hub, a credit card comparison site, just released a list of the most popular gift cards of 2014. Topping the list were cards from stores like Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora, Best Buy and Nordstrom.
Drop off your change at Coinstar: Exchange your change for gift cards at a local Coinstar. Add to your bounty by lifting up those couch pillows and rounding up the loose change at the bottom of your purse and in between the seats of your car. When you get a cash voucher from Coinstar, you pay a fee of just under 11 percent. But, if you choose to get an e-gift card or a gift card, there’s no fee. Gift card offers include Aeropostale, AMC Theaters, Build-A-Bear, Forever 21, iTunes, Bass Pro Shops, Sears, Sports Authority, Toys ‘R’ Us and more stores.
Buy discounted cards: Sites like Cardpool or Raise allow customers to buy deeply discounted gift cards that people don’t want. Depending on the popularity of the card, you can save up to 35 percent. When you’re buying from gift card exchange or discount sites, be sure to check the terms and conditions. We like these two sites because of the protection benefits. Cardpool allows you to return an unused gift card for a full refund. At Raise, for example, if a gift card has a value other than what was shown at the point of sale, Raise will cover the the buyer’s transaction for up to 60 days from the date of purchase.
Shop gift card deals: Retailers and restaurants are competing for your gift card purchases by sweetening the pot. Here are a few good deals we’re spotting: