Secret Weapon: Discount Gift Cards

Recently, I have been trying a new way to save money on my purchases using discount gift cards. Here are some examples:

Example #1

I am obsessed with Pottery Barn (PB) and Pottery Barn Kids (PBK). We moved into our new house last summer and I have loved decorating the house with new bedding and decor and I wanted something better than Wal-Mart and IKEA products of past days.

Coupons or codes can’t be stacked at the Williams-Sonoma Inc websites, but you can use a single code and then use gift cards as your payment method.  So I bought discount gift cards off Gift Card Bin (GCB). I’ve used them a few times without issues so I can now recommend them. The discount cards are 13% off for Pottery Barn at GCB, and about 10%-15% for other retailers, which is definitely one of the best gift card deals out there without having to go to eBay for riskier purchases.

The Pottery Barn cards are hard to come by on the site, but when I am anticipating making a big purchase, I’ll set up notifications on my GCB account, letting me know when they get them in. You can choose immediate notifications or daily ones. Then I wait for a free shipping code (usually around holidays) if I’m buying online. Keep in mind some items ship for free without the use of a code (an extra perk). Or I can use a 10% off $100 coupon by signing up for e-newsletters; these codes are best used for purchases right at $100 mark. Or I can wait for a sale, like the white sale at the end of December through January, or my favorite sale, the Days of Christmas, in December, where each day has a special item on sale.

This gift card tactic does not work for every purchase as you do need to align your stars to have a gift card and code in hand at the time of purchase, but my experience so far has been really positive because of the flexibility of the PB stores allowing me to use the cards at any of their stores including Williams-Sonoma. Their stuff is pricey and there is so much I want to buy, so I know I will be using the entire amount of the gift card–I feel okay purchasing gift cards of values around $100.

Example #2

I have used this shopping method at H&M, one of my favorite clothing stores. Because their prices are so reasonable to begin with, I look for gift cards $50 and under. Pair this with an emailed coupon and you can score major savings.

Step 1 Paid $40 for a $50 gift card.

Step 2 Signed up for emailed coupon.

Step 3 H&M polka dot dress for 29.95. Used 20% off emailed coupon (bring your smartphone)

If I had not used any discounts, I would have paid $32.42.  But instead I used the code to pay $23.96 plus tax ($25.93).

Bought two t-shirts 2 for $10 ($10.82).  (No coupon…lame)

I still have $13.25 left over, but already have $39.95 ($43.24 after tax) worth of merchandise, when I only paid $40 upfront.
The idea is to not spend more than you normally would, the idea is to buy what you would have bought with your own cash, but using gift cards instead. Remember, money saving deals like coupons, discounts, free shipping are only great when they apply to things you would have bought without the discounts. Don’t get caught into spending more than you planned to.

This would also work at restaurants you frequent. The possibilities are endless.


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