6 Ways to Stretch the Dollar On Your Gift Cards
So you have a shiny stack of gift cards from the holidays (lucky you!), and you want to spend them the smart way. Super-coupon expert, Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com shares savvy advice on how to play your gift cards right.
1. Get on the mailing list
“The first of the year is a great time to get on the email subscriber lists of your favorite stores for advance notice,” Demer says. “Sometimes you get a percentage-off coupon emailed to you within minutes just for signing up.” She also suggests creating a second e-mail account exclusively for retail offers to keep your primary account tidier.
2. Stick to the card budget
“People with a gift card tend to spend more than they would with their own money and make unplanned, impulse purchases,” Demer says. Try not to view the card as a green light to go crazy.
3. Stack bargains
Coupons—clearance items—pile all these savings on a gift card to make it last, Demers says. Another trick: “Learn what days of the week your favorite retailers do markdowns. Most stores do them on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so those are good days to shop,” she notes.
4. Look for unused returns
Open-box deals save you money, especially with linens and electronics. Also, mix and match for more bargains. “Maybe buy a duvet in one set and the shams from another,” Demer suggests. “I have two shams that I paid $3 for, down from $40, because it was what was left of the set.”
5. Sell your gift card
Yes—that’s a thing. Use a gift card exchange site for cards you know you won’t use. Demer recommends GiftCardGranny.com and Raise.com, where you can get up to 99 percent of the card’s value.
6. Shop ahead, way ahead
Demer’s number one way to save: “Buy what you need for next year while it’s on sale now.” That means you should start Christmas shopping today.