Reader Tip: "Buy Gift cards to Save Money"

A couple of days ago I got this good tip for saving money from Jennifer from IA:

During the holiday season a lot of retailers offer deals for purchasing gift cards. Several restaurants that I have been to or seen advertisements for have deals where if you buy a certain amount in gift cards you either a) get money off your bill or b) get added value to the gift card. For example, one restaurant had an offer that if you buy $25 in gift card, they would give you a bonus $5 gift card. Another restaurant offered $5 off your bill for buying a $25 or more gift card. One way I have taken advantage of these deals is to buy the gift card, earn the savings, and then turn around and use the gift card to pay for my meal. I have done the same thing at a clothing store (The Children’s Place). They offered a deal where if you bought $50 in gift cards you received a $10 off coupon. As I was making clothing purchases that were going to total over $50 – I bought the gift card, used it to pay for my purchases and then enjoyed my extra $10 bonus. This weekend at my local grocery store (Hy-Vee) I took advantage of a Best Buy catalina they were offering. If you bought a $50 gift card for Best Buy, you would receive a $10 catalina for your grocery purchase. As a big ticket item at Best Buy was on my holiday shopping list, I bought 5 gift cards and then was able to enjoy $50 in free groceries!

Thanks Jennifer for sharing this great tip!

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  • Laura

    I have to comment on this, because I work in retail (Chick-Fil-A) and although I’m all about saving money, this is kind of cheating. Let me explain…

    Every year, our restaurant would offer the Corporate promotion where if you buy a $20 gift card, you’d get a free calendar. (The calendar, $6, has 12 months of freebie coupons, so in and of itself is a great deal…)

    This year, though, we are’t offering the promotion, because in years past, customers would buy the $20 gift card, get the free calendar, then turn around and use the gift card to purchase their meal. This isn’t what the promo was set up for – it was intended to reward people for giving gifts.

    Sadly, so many people abused it that our store isn’t doing it anymore… and I’ve noticed that others stores are more and more often putting in exclusions so that the offers can’t be abused.

    Again, I am all for saving money – but keep in mind that businesses are doing these things to help you out and still make money. In today’s economic times, every business is hurting – and laying off people, cutting hours, etc (my store included) – let’s not do more damage to the economy by “cheating” if we can help it.

    Just my two cents worth, from a different perspective. Goes along with the idea that you only participate in a promo/request samples/coupons you need and are going to use.

  • Mercedes

    Hi Laura,
    Thank you for sharing your perspective. However, if the offers do not have exclusions in their offers and the customers are meeting the rest of the offer’s requirements I don’t understand how this is cheating. Actually, exclusions like stating that the GC is to be used at a later day make the intent of the promotion clear to the customer and avoid everyone problems.


  • Kate

    I got a coupon at Meijer for $5 off a $50 GC. That’s 10% off groceries and gas. I asked a manager if I could take advantage of that deal on 20 GCs and they let me. I basically pre-purchased gas and groceries for several months at 10% off… Regardless of whether you use them for yourself or for others, it still brings business to that establishment. I don’t think that is the reason Chick-Fil-A cancelled the program. No matter if you gift the item or use it yourself, you are bringing the business to that establishment, rather than somewhere else, and that is the intent of these promotions.

  • Laura

    I agree with both of you that unless it is stated as an exclusion, the company shouldn’t complain. I just wanted to show a different side of the coin… because of prior events, the whole thing has been shelved. The point of gift cards at most places is, in fact, to bring in extra business through gifting the card to another person. I know some stores (Wal-Mart) give discounts on fuel if you pay with a gift card, and I’ve done that before with their encouragement… it’s just a gray area, and I guess working in such an establishment lets me see the other side. No offense intended!

    Have a blessed day…