Combine Discounted Gift Cards with Store Coupons

by Kevin on June 18, 2011

The past few weeks have been all about generating a discount on things we need to buy for our new home. We are all about saving money, but we still need to be spending some from time to time.

In my last two posts I shared:

Just in those two discounts we saved about $500. That’s a big win, and we didn’t have to work that hard for it.

As we continue to make our list of things we need to buy from our house, it quickly emerged that we were going to be spending some dough at a home improvement store.

Here’s our list:

  • charcoal grill and cover
  • grass trimmer
  • washer and dryer connections
  • paint supplies
  • garden hose and sprinkler
  • fertilizer spreader
  • extension ladder

There are some other things, but those are the major items. We’re estimating the total to be around $600. We decided it made a lot of sense to buy a discounted gift card for that amount (or as close to it as we could get). As much as I love credit card cash back rewards, they don’t total the 7 or 8% discount you get from the major “used” gift card suppliers.

But why stop at 8% when you can get an even bigger discount? Here’s how.

Add in Percentage Off Coupons

When we setup our mail to be forwarded to our new address, the US Postal Service asks if there are any coupons you are interested in from a bunch of big box stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, and so on. These coupons are usually 10% off of your purchase.

You can see where this is going, right?

We bought $607 worth of gift cards for $558. Instant savings: $49.

Let’s say we spend exactly $607. We throw a 10% off your entire purchase coupon in the mix. Additional savings: $60.70. Your total drops to roughly $546, and you pay with the gift card. That leaves you an additional $61 to spend the next time you come back.

By combining the discount you get on the gift card with the in-store coupon, you save 10% + 8% = 18% off of your purchase. That’s huge!

And if you wanted to spend the full gift card all at once, you could get $674 worth of items for only the cost of the gift card ($558). The 10% discount saves you $67.40 and the gift card discount was $49. Your total savings is $116.40.

That’s a lot of fertilizer.

Discounted Gift Cards Plus Coupons Checklist

Want to save some cash like this? Here are some steps to take.

  1. Make a list of what you plan to buy. You need to make a trip to the store (or their web site) in advance so you can buy a gift card for that amount.
  2. Once you have your estimated total, go to one of the major discounted gift card websites (GiftCardRescue, Cardpool, PlasticJungle) and buy a gift card for that amount (or as close to that amount as you can get; you may need to buy multiple cards).
  3. Look for store coupons on their website, by signing up for their e-mail newsletter, or simply by asking. Most stores will give you 10% off for moving to the neighborhood.
  4. Go to the store and only purchase what you planned to purchase. This is key! You don’t want to waste your planned out discount on items you don’t really need. Just like in a grocery store, you want to stick to your list. (If you discover there is something else you need, why not wait to buy another gift card for it?)
  5. Bask in the knowledge that you just saved 5-25% off of something your were already planning to buy. (Your discount will depend on how deeply discounted the gift card is plus any in-store coupon you might receive).

This works for most of the items you want to buy: restaurants, clothing, and home improvement. It is very rare to find a discounted gift card to a super retailer like Wal-Mart, Target, or K-Mart since you can buy just about anything at those stores.

Has anyone else discovered this? What flaws do you see in this plan?

{ 1 comment }

Max June 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

Yes and make sure to avoid those impulse buys! Just keep your head down and b line it to the checkout aisle!

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