Discounted gift cards – Save money on everyday purchases

How would you like to get $80 worth of stuff for $60, without looking for a sale? Or get some money for those gift cards that are just lying around with a few dollars left on them?

It wasn’t until recently that I finally took the leap and tried using a gift card reseller to save some extra dollars. We had 3 gift cards that had a balance on them and hadn’t been used in a while. We’d have to go out of our way to go to these stores and we’d likely pay more for whatever we would buy than if we bought it someplace else.

So I decided to sell them and get some cash through ABC Gift Cards. I was a little hesitant when I read the reviews online, but I gave it a shot anyhow since I didn’t have much to lose. I entered the cards on their site, reviewed their offer, chose my payment method and mailed the cards in. About a week later I got an email with an Amazon gift card code for the amount they offered. So far, so good.

The next step was to try buying one. I decided to buy one for a store my wife likes through CardCash.com (sister site of ABC Gift Cards). About a week later, it showed up in the mail. The total savings was 21% off the face value. Not bad at all.

I recently submitted another order for some cards for stores that our daughters like to get clothes from (Gymboree and Justice). Total order cost me $82.28 and I’m getting $105 worth of gift cards. That’s also an average savings of over 21%.

Why wouldn’t we do this all the time for clothing purchases at least? I’m not sure. If you’re looking for a way to boost your budget, this might be a great way to do it.

What do you think? Do you have any other unique money savings tips? Leave them in the comments below.

Photo by 401(K) 2013

Disney World on a Budget: Special Offers and Discount Gift Cards

Cinderella's Castle

As I stated in an earlier post, we recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World. I had discussed one way of saving money on hotel rooms if you’re driving, but now I want to dive a bit more into other ways to save money on a Disney World trip. This week I’m going to focus on special offers and Disney gift cards.

  • Special Offers – When you go to Disney World to price your trip, you’ll likely see across the top of the page a place to enter in the dates of travel and how many people will be in your party. If you want to find the best deals though, you should go all the way to the bottom of the page and look for a link to their special offers. If you go through the normal booking process on their site, these discounts will not automatically be applied to your trip so it’s best to see what is available first. If they release a deal after you’ve booked your trip, you can give them a call and they will apply it for you. Check the special offers page often.
  • Gift Cards – You can pay for a Disney trip with gift cards and the best place to get Disney gift cards is at Target with a REDcard. With the REDcard, you can buy gift cards at 5% off. You can even buy extra cards to use while you’re at the parks. After you’ve found the best offer available for your trip, take 5% off with gift cards from Target using the REDcard. If you don’t live near a Target store, they can be shipped to your house through Target.com for free.

Check back next week as I cover the Disney World Dining Plan and whether it’s a fit for you and your family.

Any question or comments? Leave them below. If you know any ways to save money when paying for a Disney trip, leave those below as well.

Tired of fundraisers? Check out Great Lakes Scrip!

SCRIP

If you’re tired of fundraisers, join the club. Whether you’re the one peddling overpriced goods for your kids or the one being hit up to buy them, it’s never fun. There is always some guilt when you ask someone to buy something you know is a horrible deal because it will “help the kids”. Take the guilt out of raising money with Great Lakes Scrip.

The Scrip program works like this. You buy gift cards for the things that you buy everyday. A portion of the gift card purchase is then routed to the school or organization of choice. There are different percentages for different cards and they run promotions from time to time where cards have higher percentages than usual. There is no markup or special cost to you or anyone who buys the cards, including the organization. Pretty simple right?

You’re probably wondering what the catch is. How are they able to give your organization a portion of the gift card purchase without charging anything extra? The way I understand it is that Great Lakes Scrip purchases the cards from companies at a discount and then turns around and sells them to you at full price. The difference between what you pay and they pay is what goes to the organization on your behalf.

Our daughters go to a private school and we’ve used this program for the past couple of years to help pay for their tuition. Our school has it set up so that the money earned can go to the school’s general fund or go towards our tuition. We chose the tuition option of course. Whenever we need to get a gift card, we go out to shopwithscrip.com, find the cards we need and process the order. We can pay for them electronically from our checking account at a minimal fee of $0.15 per order, or take a check to the school. The physical cards are delivered to the school within a week of when the school processes the order.

For those moments when you need something a little more quickly, you can look for the ScripNow option. Once you process your payment, an email arrives in your inbox with a link to the electronic gift card that you can print out. This is great for those last-minute purchases to Amazon.com or when you’re in a store and want to get one to cover your purchase. We did this to buy carpet from Lowe’s. Our total was around $1500 and we got about $60 put towards tuition. It may not sound like much, but it only cost us $0.15 to process the order electronically and we got $60 in return.

Finally, some of the cards have a ReloadNow option which allows you to add additional dollars to a card you already have. They don’t process as quickly as ScripNow, but within one business day, the card is usually reloaded. This is great for gas cards or other cards that you would use regularly. We use it for Speedway cards. At a 4% rebate and $3 a gallon in gas, it’s like saving 12 cents a gallon. At $4 a gallon, it goes up to 16 cents a gallon.

If you or your family are in any way involved with a nonprofit organization and are looking for a creative way to raise funds all year-long, I would encourage you to check out the Scrip program. You can start by checking out the How Scrip Works page. If you’re interested in learning more or starting a program for your organization, club, school, or other nonprofit, you can request more information here.