Gift Cards spending and popularity has noticeably continued to grow since 2005. TowerGroup, a leading financial research and advisory firm, projected that gift card sales will top $100 billion this holiday season and exceed $130 billion by 2014. They have also added that in addition to increased gift card purchasing, consumers are also more frequently spending the full value on the card. This shows that consumers trends are leaning both towards gift cards and value.
There are many ways to score gift cards for less around the holidays. Here are 10 awesome ways to score gift cards for less:
1. Gift-card Exchange Sites
For example, GiftCardRescue.com. Sites like this give consumers the chance to buy, sell, and exchange gift cards at discount prices. With GiftCardRescue, the value on the card is backed by a guarantee which should give shoppers a secure feeling. Average deals can range from 8%-25% savings. Daily deals can go even higher and are often announced through their facebook page. Check the site regularly and expect a spike in selection immediately following holidays.
2. Social Buying
This includes sites like LivingSocial and Groupon and typically includes savings anywhere from 10%-60% off. These sites both have smarthphone apps as well as e-mail options which are region specific and will notify you when new deals are posted. Be sure to check out Groupon’s GrouponNow App which will target your location and provide nearby deals.
3. Coinstar Savings
Got change? It’s likely we’ve all seen or used a Coinstar machine at our local grocery store. These machines usually tend to charge 9.8 cents to every dollar counted but will offer free of charge counting in exchange for gift cards to places such as iTunes, CVS, and Amazon among over 25 other merchant partners.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets a free gift card dropped on them. Seriously, aside from earning badges and becoming mayor, Foursquare has proved to be a useful marketing tool for companies. Starbucks recently awarded 500 $40 gift cards to customers who checked in on their 40th anniversary. Other merchants enter those who check in into store gift card drawings, another tempting customer incentive.
5. Frequent Flier Miles/ Points
Got a bevy of frequent flier points that you haven’t used in ages? Well, not only can these be redeemed for flights but also gift cards to retail outlets and movie theaters. Make sure to check your options through your personal account.
6. Bulk Grocery Clubs
If you pay for a membership to a wholesale warehouse like Costco, Sam’s Club, or Bj’s you might have the chance to save with direct purchase. These merchants often offer gift cards below retail price. For example, at Bj’s you can buy $100 iTunes for 5% off and $100 Uno Chicago Grill for 20% off. Even Walmart is offering $50 iTunes cards for $40 while supplies last. Don’t miss out on these killer members only steals!
7. Local Media
Especially around the holidays, local news and media outlets will partner with merchants for promotional discounts. If you don’t catch any announcements during your viewing, visit the website and search for holiday deals or discount gift cards.
8. Retail Loyalty Programs
Retail stores are all about return customers, which makes up for a large portion of revenue. Many have marketing strategies that include customer loyalty programs which differ based on merchant. Usually, they offer a certain amount off relative to how much you spend. e.g $5 off every $100 spent. This can be a great way to save at your favorite spots.
9. Targeted Smartphone Apps
Savings can be just an Application download away. Social apps like Shopkick and Loopt offer repeat users chances to earn gift cards to local restaurants and retail stores like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Crate & Barrel, Rack your “kickbucks” up this holiday season.
10. Crowd-sourced Deal Sites
This includes sites like slickdeals.com and FatWallet.com. These sites use social networking to find the best bargains around. A search of “gift card” will provide users with any deals available as well as tips for redemption and use.