Ms Kitty Cliche wrote:
My #1 tip is buying reduced price gift cards.
As far as online sites, plastic jungle http://www.plasticjungle.com is great.
Timing wise, the best is the week after christmas and around January 15 (when december credit card bills come in the mail.) I buy those that I know I will need or anticipate needing in bulk.
For instance, in January I bought 5 old navy gift cards at 50 for 30 ($150 for $250 worth of cards). I just bought school clothes for two kids at 30% off, no shipping costs, with those cards and still have $23 left for the inevitable "I have to have a white shirt without stains on it for choir" moment. Even at sale prices, that was $50 saved.
I also keep about $200 on hand of home depot cards (hd is the only decent local hardware store, sadly.)
Other stores I will snap up are Target, Trader Joe's, Walmart, and gas cards.
the best part about buying discounted gift cards is you can stack other discounts/coupons on top of them. For example, the Lowe's GC I bought a month or so back came with an instant 20% off. I can run it through plastic jungle online for another 6.5% off. And when I show up 20 mins after placing my order online, I can usually get a Gift Card of $20 or so b/c they hardly ever have it together for their 20 min guarantee. So, that is 26.5% off right there plus maybe a gift card. Or, when we get that upright freezer we've wanted for a while, I'll cruise the ads of other stores, find a model that is cheaper than Lowe's and go in for them to meet the price plus take another 10% off. Then, I'll have my in laws meet there (they are retired military) and we'll take another 10% off. Then, I'll use my gift cards I bought for 20% off. If it's not at least 50% off new, I ain't buyin' it!
it's actually better to go through giftcardgranny.com to see who has the best price for the card you want. And as always, availability is an issue.
As someone who churns gift cards for a profit (usually), another tip with plasticjungle is to run through topcashback.com which gives you another 4% or so back. They are slow, but the money eventually makes its way to you (month to 2 month's time).