Birthdays, holidays, presents for a special event – every retail store has a gift card now. The absolute best thing I have found about these cards is that you don’t have to pay full price at the store for the card.
I get my gift cards either from the deals I’ve mentioned here (which are usually only specific cards and limited amounts of time), or I get them from a gift card discounting site like Cardpool. It’s hard to know who to trust in that sort of area, because there are a lot of competing sites, but I’ve had really good luck with them! I have been able to consistently get a minimum of 10% off the stores I use the most, and the cards are good in the stores or online, and I’ve even had as much as 28% off. So that way, when you go to the retail store, any store, you are armed with a discount before you even start shopping.
AND … if the store offers a coupon … use your coupon before you pay for an even greater discount! But if it’s last minute, you can’t find a coupon, or you want to give the gift card itself as a gift, NEVER PAY FULL PRICE.
I highly recommend this service, this will work for anyone anywhere, it doesn’t have to be local, and the cards are also good on the retail store’s websites.
At a minimum, sign up for their mailing list with your preferences so they will email you when good discounts become available in the cards you want to watch. I keep a notebook with percentages off (some are worth more than others), and when a percentage is low enough for my ‘buy now’ I get them.
You’ll see there are some specifics. For example, my son likes Aeropostale and PacSun. I like CVS, Sears, Target, and Old Navy. I found that the really popular stores like Target, and Sears generally have low discounts (2% up to at most 8%) but considering those are places that run great sales and low prices, you’ll find even that extra 2% comes in handy. Many specialty stores, like restaurants, JC Penney, baby supply stores can get really high discounts, I once got a JC Penney for 28% off.
I watch this site all year long and save up my gift cards so I’ll have them when I need them. And again, they are always handy to keep around to give the card itself as a gift, you never know when that will save you a trip to a store and really make a great present! Sometimes you have that friend or relative that you aren’t sure what will make them happy, a gift card will always make them happy.