Frugal Hack: Discounted Gift Cards and Ebates

One way in which I save money is by occasionally purchasing discounted gift cards to use on big ticket items.  When people are given gift cards to places they don't like, they often sell them on Ebay or on multiple sites that are dedicated to reselling gift cards.  The recipient sells them for less than face value, so the company can pass along a discount to the new buyer.  Let's look at a recent example.

Once a year, I stock up on extremely overpriced coconut body butter from The Body Shop.  To help assuage my guilt for this overpriced purchase, I use the discounted GC principle. Here are the steps I went through for this:

1) I search on Gift Card Granny to see if there are any discounted gift cards available for The Body Shop.  There are tons. I sort them by price to get one for $100 and find that a company called Save Ya offers me the most discount (12%, or $88 for a $100 gift card).

2) I purchase the gift card which is actually an online e-gift certificate code which is available for use immediately.

3) I click on The Body Shop link through Ebates (referral link) as they offer an 8% rebate just for clicking through their site.

4) I purchase $104.59 (tax included, free shipping) of items for $92.59.

Total Discounts:
$10.80- I received 10% off my purchase for being a member of The Body Shop rewards program.  
$ 6.10-  I received 8% back from Ebates for clicking through their link before buying.
$ 1.04-  I will receive 1% back for using my credit card.
$12.00- I saved $12 by purchasing a discounted gift card.

Just under $30 of savings, not counting the free shipping.  I know it sounds complicated, but it really isn't.  I always click through Upromise or Ebates and have received more than $1200 over the years by doing this.  And searching for discounted gift cards/ codes takes just a few minutes.  This kind of savings adds up over the months and years, but only if you use it on items you would buy anyway and not just because they are a good deal.  Happy savings!


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