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Many people receive gift cards that they don't want or forget to use. There are websites where you can sell your card for slightly less than its value. My tip involves the flip side. The same websites allow anyone to buy these gift cards, thereby getting the card at a discount. For example, a gift card from department store for $50.00, may be sold to you for $45.00. The discounts vary. Combine the card with a store discount and the savings will add up.
Source: Clark Howard radio show. He also has a website.
By Brenda from Antelope, CA
For Christmas shopping, start purchasing gift cards every paycheck or month in January. By the time you get to Christmas, you won't have to dip into your regular budget to purchase Christmas gifts.
Source: I originally read this suggestion in a Woman's Day magazine.
By ALS from Columbia, MD
Small Gift Cards Can Equal Big Smiles
My way of counteracting this is to make a better presentation. Rather than putting the gift card in an envelope or a small gift card tin, I plan to watch throughout the year and gather interesting and fun ways to present my gift cards.
One idea is to purchase a photo calendar. Add photos of family members throughout the year, or write sweet messages for each month. In place of the photo every so often, slide in a small gift card. $5 coffee coupons are great for the coffee lovers, and you can cater the cards to meet your budget.
Purchase a small gift for someone to show you're giving it some thought, and add a median sized gift card inside.
Create a small gift basket from a coffee mug, a bag of coffee, and a gift card. Create a collection of bath soaps, loofahs, sponges, and a giftcard. Fill a pencil holder with pens, highlighters, and a giftcard for the office supply store.
Buy a box of candy and slip the gift card inside the box.
Purchase a bargain DVD and add a small gift card for the movies inside the case. CDs work well, too. Add a gift card for a golf cart or a round of 9 holes to a box of golf tees and balls.
Every payday throughout the year I buy gift cards. I mix them between cards for stores that I know people I buy for buy from and Visa or AmEx gift cards. Some folks get the gift cards for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas/Related Holidays and for the ones that "have to have a gift", I use Visa/AmEx cards to purchase them.
If giving gift cards is your style, package it with a little go-with gift and cute note. A friend has just finished acupuncture school and I am getting him a package of sewing needles and a wine store gift card with a cute note about something to get started on!
For the teenage drivers on your gift list (or anyone else), this holiday season, giving gift cards or gift certificates for the local gas station would be welcomed greatly...