Lessons learned per store – Part Two`

For some stores, the usage of discounted gift cards is the best possible strategy. You do have to be ready for the opportunities when they arise, as they are probably in a weekly sales flyer at Rite Aid, Office Depot, Dollar General, or Sam’s Club. When you start with a discounted gift card, you’re already paying less for the entire purchase, so stack coupons on top of those if you can.

NEVER pay full price at these stores, ALWAYS hold out for a minimum of 20%. In fact, you can sometimes get 25% to 33%, but anything over 20% is good.

  • Old Navy, Banana Republic & Gap
  • Ruby Tuesdays, Chilis, Outback (then hold out for coupons with your meal!)
  • IHOP, Dunkin Donuts
  • Xbox, Playstation, iTunes, Google Play
  • Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas
  • Sears, Home Depot
  • Toys R Us, Build a Bear

In most cases, the discounted gift cards are offered in November and December, but they are also periodically available during the year, so you have to watch for them. I have an index card file where I save my gift cards, then when I have a coupon to match, I use them.

Gas station cards – the best deal going so far has been Publix, $10 off a $50 gas gift card when you get $50 in groceries. Understand you’ll spend $90 or more to do this, but luckily, the price is calculated before coupons so if you plan your shopping trip well, you can still save a lot of money. Discounted gas gift cards online are rarely more than 2%, and everyone needs gas gift cards, so 20% is great. They do this about every six weeks to two months, so you have to be ready for it.

Sears – best strategy is to join the Shop Your Way Rewards, which is free. Develop your wish list of the things you plan to buy at Sears, then watch the bonus points and money-off specials you’ll get with the SYWR. Never buy anything unless you’ll get a bonus of some sort. Then, you can roll the bonus points to your next purchase, and on and on. Its a similar concept to the Rite Aid Plus Ups or the Walgreens Register Rewards. You can keep this going all year – buy and get a bonus, get money off the next purchase, earn points for the next purchase, and so on all year. Throughout the year, I ended up with over $600 in free products. We bought tools, clothes, gifts, kitchen stuff, shoes … all year long. AND … I paid for everything with discounted gift cards. No matter what I bought, I bought it at 20% off before the coupons and discounts. And the best part of that is, you earn points for your next purchase on the full amount when you pay by gift card even though the gift card cost you less than face value.

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