Last year, Americans planned to spend $929 on holiday gifts. That number doesn’t even touch on decorations, holiday outfits, or travel expenses.
To pay for those gifts, many people turn to credit cards. But, thanks to high interest rates, their credit card balance can grow over time and it can take months to pay it off.
Although people don’t want to end up in debt, they don’t want to be miserly when it comes to gifts, either. Thankfully, there is a way to give generously without going broke: shopping with discounted gift cards.
Unused Gift Cards
Gift cards are one of the most popular gifts during the holidays. Last year, approximately $26 billion was spent on gift cards just during the holidays.
However, gift cards aren’t always a surefire gift. Chances are, you’ve received a gift card to a store you never shop at or to a restaurant you don’t like at least once. If you’re like most, that means you have gift cards stashed in a drawer, gathering dust.
Many people decide to turn those unused, unwanted gift cards into money by selling them online. By doing so, they can get a percentage of the card’s value as cash.
But, that means you can purchase gift cards for less than they’re worth. You can find gift cards selling for as much as 50 percent off. That makes discounted gift cards a great strategy for stretching your holiday budget.
Holiday Shopping with Discounted Cards
You can use discounted gift cards in a few different ways during the holidays:
Give more generous gifts on a budget: Let’s say your budget is $25 for a gift and you want to give your loved one a gift card. Instead of giving a $25 gift card, you can shop online and purchase a discounted gift card. You can buy a $50 gift card for just $25, so you can give a larger gift without going over budget.
Stretch your dollars: If you plan on shopping at a specific retailer, you can buy a discounted gift card for your planned amount of spending. For example, if you price out your gifts and find out you need $500 to cover the expenses, you can purchase a $500 gift card for as little as $300. You can buy the same amount of stuff, but save $200. It’s like giving yourself a great coupon.
Sell your own cards: If you have any unused cards in your wallet, consider selling them online to get extra holiday spending money. Most cards you can sell electronically, and have the money within a few hours.
Where to Find Gift Cards
There are many retailers out there that both buy and sell gift cards, including:
- Gift Card Spread: Gift Card Spread has gift cards to major retailers and restaurants. You can get cards to places like AMC Theatres for 25% off their face value.
- Raise: Raise offers cards with steep discounts from restaurants, spas, and even travel destinations. You can score hotel or cruise gift cards for as much as 20% off.
- ABC Gift Cards: ABC Gift Cards is a great location for discounted gift cards to beauty and clothing stores. You can get a gift card to Ann Taylor for 35% off.
It’s a good idea to shop around with different gift card sellers to find the best deal. New cards are added daily, so check back often for great deals. Depending on the store, you can get a discount as large as 55 percent off.
With most gift card resellers, you can find both electronic gift cards and physical ones. You can often get more of a discount with electronic cards — and they can be delivered to you in just a few hours — so they’re great for when you’re shopping online or need a gift quickly.
If you plan on gifting someone a gift card, you can order a physical card which will be mailed to you. However, keep in mind that receiving a physical card can take much longer. It can take between five and ten business days for a physical card to arrive.
Stretching Your Budget
When you’re on a strict holiday budget and don’t want to overspend, shopping with discounted gift cards can be an ingenious way to stretch your budget further and to get more for your money. By comparing offers from multiple sellers, you can snag a great deal and give great gifts that won’t empty your bank account.
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