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You're Losing Money By Not Following This Tip!

Jun 21, 2008
Start thinking of the stores you shop at often. What comes to mind? Is it Circuit City, Starbucks, Banana Republic, Sephora, Barnes & Noble? Undoubtedly most of us could easily come up with a list of ten to twenty, if not more.

I'm the kind of person who loves to save money. I've been doing something so simple for the past few years that has saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars - I'd like to think of it as "free money"! It's so easy, yet surprisingly few people take advantage of it.

You're probably wondering what I do. It's simple:

I purchase gift cards online for the stores I shop at most often at a discounted rate.

I mainly use eBay, but there are others like http://CertificateSwap.com and http://SwapAGift.com. A lot of people receive gift cards as presents but aren't interested in the store or would prefer cash, so they list the cards online. Expect to usually pay 80 to 90 percent of face value, although some prices can be higher or lower depending on the popularity of the merchant. The way I see it is, if I'm going to spend the money at the store anyway, why not purchase a gift card and save a few dollars?

One method I have found to be quite useful in finding good deals is to go to the Gift Certificates category on eBay and search for "Buy it Now items" in the search options. I then sort the results by the most recently listed auctions. Some sellers underestimate the value of their gift cards, so they may put up a Buy it Now price that is lower than what the card would generally go for. You have to be at the right place at the right time to snatch up those deals, but it can be worth it! (Just to prove that it does happen - as I was writing this article, I was able to purchase a $100 gift certificate redeemable at hundreds of spas nationwide for only $50!)

One word of caution: as with any online purchase, be sure that you are purchasing from a reputable seller. Unfortunately scammers are out there, so do your homework on the seller before making a purchase.

I hope you are able to use this technique to save money like I have. It is one I plan on using for years to come!
About the Author
Want to learn how to save even more? Visit 100WaysToSaveMoney.com to find out how you can stop losing and start saving.
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