Gift cards are always a safe gift idea because the receiver can use them to purchase whatever they want or need. I also like giving gift cards, because you can get deals on them, so its like you are giving more than it actually cost you!
1. Buy Gift Cards at a 5-20% Discount Online
Places like Raise.com and GiftCardGranny offer anywhere from a 2-25% discount off a gift card. With Raise you earn $5 off your first purchase when you sign up through this link. (Sometimes you can use the code RAISE10 to get $10 off your first purchase, so be sure to try that too!)
* We also use Raise.com to buy giftcards for local restaurants that we frequent, like Chik-fil-A. Just a tip > you can sign up to receive email updates from Raise.com on select gift cards, like Chik-fil-A. Since I’ve been getting those emails for awhile, I know to watch for a 10%-12% discount, rather than just a 5% discount.
2. Redeem Your Credit Card Points
This is kind of a well-known option, but hey, if you are short on cash for gifts this year, use your credit card rewards to redeem gift cards for your friends and family. It won’t cost you any cash out of your pocket and your friend gets a nice gift!
3. Earn Reward Points Online
Many places like Swagbucks and MyPoints offer you the opportunity to earn points by taking surveys, watching videos and reading emails. Even places like Ebates and Ibotta allow you to redeem your rewards as gift cards. You can use those points to buy a variety of gift cards to restaurants, entertainment, etc.
4. Consider Giving a Non-Traditional Gift Card/Certificate
LocalFlavor.com offers gift certificates to restaurants, just like a gift card. But you buy them at half off. For instance, you might buy a $25 gift certificate to a spa for $12.50—but whoever you give it to, gets to spend $25 when they go! On certain holidays, they offer $5 off any deal, so watch for those additional savings too!
I also like to watch for PA 50/50 Deals. They offer half off deals to many places, but my favorites are The Works in Reading and one time I saw them offer a $100 gift card to Esbenshades Green House for only $50! These deals are often released on Fridays, and you’ll find out first if you listen to specific radio stations. They always sell out very quickly!
Another option is Restaurants.com. I don’t really like Restaurants.com certificates as gifts, because they require the recipient to spend a certain amount at the restaurant. For instance, if you give them a $25 gift certificate, they might have to spend at least $45 in order to use it. That just doesn’t feel like much of a gift to me—but its a great way to save if you are planning to use it yourself!
5. Follow Local Grocery Store Coupon Deals
Several times a year, if you live in the PA/Maryland area, Giant PA grocery stores offer a special deal to earn gas points up to $30 with the purchase of certain gift cards, making them completely FREE. I like to follow Coupon Cutting Mom to know when it is being offered.
6. Earn Gas Discounts at Gas Stations
Many gas stations, including Turkey Hill (Kroger), offer rewards points for fuel discounts if you use their rewards cards on their in store purchases. If you purchase $50 in gift cards, at 2 points per dollar spent, you earn 10¢ off per gallon on fuel instantly (100 points = 10¢ off per gallon on fuel).
Watch their promotions and specials too — I know that Turkey Hill offers special promotions every year around Black Friday, where you earn 20¢ off per gallon of fuel!