Think gift cards!

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Gift cards are not just for giving – although you can do that, too…but they are a great tool to help you save money.  There are two ways to use gift cards as a savings tool.

The first is to pay attention to “bonus gift card offers”  During the peak seasons for these- May/June graduations and November/December holidays, stores and restaurants typically offer a “bonus” gift card of $10-$25 with every purchase of gift cards, multiplying your purchasing power right out of the gate.  Before stocking up on these, however, check and make sure that you’ll be able to use the bonus card before it expires.  While regular gift cards are governed by state law, the bonus cards are considered coupons, and not subject to the long expiration dates required in most states for gift cards.

You can also pick up gift cards at a serious discount – sometimes up to 50% – at gift card exchange sites.  These sites allow people to receive cards they don’t want to sell them for cash. Some of the sites are CardCash, GiftCardGranny, and CardHub.com. CardHub has a $100 Macy’s gift card going for $50 right now. Buy it now, and use it to buy holiday gifts during Macy’s next 40% off-whole-store deal. Your $50 purchase will get you $160 worth of gifts, with $4 left over.

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