You don’t have to pay full price for gift certificates and cards. We’ll show you where to find bargain gift cards for your giving needs!
Photo by Descending Ashtray
This holiday season, I fully intend to do the vast majority of my gift shopping online for no other reason than to protect my own sanity. I’m not a fan of crowds, and have no intention of getting caught up in the masses of people who will scramble in the wee hours of the morning for Black Friday bargains. I don’t intend to brave the crowds before the crack of down on any day for that matter, just to take advantage of the pre-daylight, doorbuster sales. It takes a special kind of person to deal with that kind of mayhem and, despite what my mom told me so many years ago, I’m not THAT special.
So, online shopping it is! I’ll even buy my gift cards online. Yep, gift cards. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that a gift card is always the best gift but, rather, that it’s not always the worst gift. I’d rank gift cards somewhere in the middle on the fruitcake to Ferrari gift spectrum.
Where To Find Bargain Gift Cards
I’ve recently discovered that you don’t necessarily have to pay full price for a gift card. Several websites have sprung up allowing users to sell or trade any unwanted gift cards or to buy gift cards at a discount. The discount varies depending on the seller, the card balance, and the merchant. Here are a few websites that will help you grab that coveted card for less, or turn unwanted cards into cash:
Plastic Jungle: The best of the sites I’ve come across, Plastic Jungle is like gift card mecca. Plastic Jungle verifies all cards bought and sold, and is the only site that I found that offers a transaction guarantee. Users looking to sell or trade gift cards retain ownership until the transaction is completed. Need small holiday gifts for coworkers? Pick up $10 Crabtree & Evelyn gift cards for $8.
Gift Cards Again: A quick search of Gift Cards Again made it appear as though this site has a much smaller inventory of gift cards to buy than Plastic Jungle; however there was still some good stuff to be had, like a $150 Banana Republic gift card for $130. Also, Gift Cards Again has a sister site, Gift Card Buy Back. Unlike Plastic Jungle where users who want to sell, own the card until they find a buyer, Gift Card Buy Back buys the card from the owner and then resells it on Gift Cards Again. The site gives the seller cash for their unwanted gift cards. It may also be a good site for gift card shoppers who may not want the uncertainty of dealing with people they don’t know.
Gift Card Exchange: Gift Card Exchange has a transaction set up similar to Gift Cards Again/Gift Card Buy Back. The primary difference is that purchase transactions at Gift Card Exchange can only be completed using PayPal or Google Checkout. Look! There’s that $100 Pottery Barn gift card for only $90!
One thing that I should note for all of the sites listed above is that the availability of gift cards for any given merchant can vary greatly from day to day, so if you see a great deal, snap it up.
Cool Tips For Gift Card Use
Another option for all of these discounted gift cards is to buy them yourself to use to purchase other gifts. Do you know that you’ll be spending a fair amount of money at Macy’s? Purchase a $300 Macy’s gift card at Plastic Jungle for $268. Use money saving tactics like this in conjunction with other holiday promotions, and you may be surprised at how much you can really afford this holiday season!
One last thing, for those of you who still believe that gift cards are inconsiderate gifts, think about offering a new mom and dad a gift card to their favorite local restaurant along with an IOU for babysitting services. I doubt that anyone with kids would consider this a bad gift. Check out Restaurant.com for great prices on dining certificates. Just enter the zip code of the recipient and browse local eateries that offer discounted gift certificates or cards.
With all of the great merchants available online, including those that offer discounted gift cards, it will be easy to do the bulk of this year’s holiday shopping from the comfort of my own home. While everyone I know will be slogging through the snow, freezing their butts off and getting frustrated with long lines, I’ll be shopping from the stress-free comfort of my couch, happily sipping on some spiked eggnog. Doesn’t that sound better?