It’s the holiday shopping season, and many of us are on a budget. If you want to save money and still buy a gift someone will love, one excellent option is to buy discounted gift cards to their favorite store or restaurant. In fact, you can buy discounted gift cards online throughout the year to save money at stores you frequent.
You can buy or get discounted gift cards in one of three ways:
- From an online retailer that buys gift cards from people for less than face value
- At a store like Costco that buys gift cards in bulk
- Earnings from a service or app you use
Savings on discounted gift cards can vary. If you buy them from an online retailer, expect to save between five and ten percent. If you buy them at a store like Costco, you may see savings around 20 percent or more.
For example, if you buy a gift card with a $100 value, you may be able to purchase it for $80.
Depending on what gift cards you buy, and where, you may find significant savings opportunities.
Places to Buy Discounted Gift Cards Online
If you’re ready to learn where to buy discounted gift cards, use the list below to get started.
Raise is a top gift card reseller offering both physical and electronic gift cards. They also offer a one-year money-back guarantee that covers cards that aren’t active, have an inaccurate balance, are delivered as a different brand than ordered, or cards that aren’t received within 30 days from the date of purchase.
The guarantee covers the purchase price of the card. If you happen to receive an inactive gift card, they refund the purchase price.
Raise offers a wide range of discounted gift cards from online retailers to brick and mortar stores to even Airbnb!
2. Groupon and LivingSocial
However, they also offer plenty of other great deals for local businesses. While the offers may not technically be gift cards, they still provide a big bang for your buck when compared to regular prices.
Make sure to check out other discount sites like Groupon to find opportunities to save money.
CardPool is a traditional gift card reseller. Depending on the gift card you want to buy, you may be able to buy a physical gift card or an electronic gift card. Discounts will vary depending on the type and format of the gift card you purchase.
CardPool, like other discount gift card resellers, works similar to a search engine. You search by face amount, amount of discount, and retailer. This makes it easy to find a cheap gift card to meet your needs.
Cardpool guarantees that the gift cards sold on their site are valid at the merchant and for the dollar amount specified on your order for one year from the date of your purchase.
Their guarantee is subject to a $1,000 lifetime maximum. It does not cover issuers or retailers that are no longer honoring gift cards, including those companies that go bankrupt.
4. Gift Card Granny
Gift Card Granny is a third-party gift card reseller website. However, Gift Card Granny works as a marketplace that allows you to buy gift cards from many resellers.
Gift Card Granny promotes its service as a search engine for gift cards that lets you find discounted gift cards from various platforms. This allows you to find the perfect gift card for you.
Gift Card Granny also has a loyalty program that lets you earn “Granny” points from specific resellers. These points can be used to earn free eGift cards.
Cards sold on the marketplace are only provided by trusted partners that meet Gift Card Granny’s consumer protection standards.
One of our favorite Costco money saving hacks is buying discounted gift cards at the store or online. The discount will vary from gift card to gift card. Still, you can expect to see discounts for at least 20 percent, providing significant savings.
Sometimes there are even deeper discounts, but those will vary based on the store and the current offers available.
You do need to be a Costco member to shop in-store and online.
GiftCards.com offers a wide range of gift cards from all sorts of stores. They also provide the option to buy Visa and Mastercard gift cards. Unfortunately, the majority of the gift cards on GiftCards.com are sold at full price.
However, they do offer discounted gift cards from certain brands. Their inventory changes regularly, but you can save up to 25 percent on your gift card purchase.
Interesting fact: the discount gift card portion of the website is run through Cardpool.
Places to Earn Discounted or Free Gift Cards
If you’re willing to do a little bit of work, there are many websites and apps you can use to earn discounted and even sometimes free gift cards.
Usually, you have to earn cash back, points, or some other form of digital currency, which you can later exchange for a gift card of your choice.
Here are several of the best apps that give you free gift cards.
7. Ibotta App
Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn cash back based on items you buy at the grocery store or one of their 350 participating retailers. All you have to do is download the app, add offers to your account before you shop, then take pictures of the receipt showing you bought the items.
After that, you receive the cash back the offer promised. However, instead of opting for cash back, you can opt for free gift cards.
Check out our Ibotta review to get a complete breakdown of how the app works.
8. Shopkick App
Shopkick is an app you can use to earn points when shopping. The points you earn, called “kicks”, can be redeemed for the gift card of your choice.
You can earn kicks by walking into stores, scanning barcodes, making purchases with a linked card, submitting receipts, visiting online stores, viewing online products, making online purchases, and watching videos.
Shopkick operates by GPS, so you can even earn kicks by merely walking into a store. Earn a $5 signup bonus with the code FRUGALRULES.
Shopkick is available on iOS and Android.
Swagbucks offers many ways to earn SB points which you can redeem for cash through PayPal or gift cards. You can earn points in the following ways:
- Using their shopping portal
- Answering surveys
- Using their search engine
- Playing games
You can even get paid to watch ads on Swagbucks. Once you earn enough points, you can browse their gift card selection to redeem free gift cards. If you don’t earn enough points to get free gift cards, you can use your points to get discounted gift cards.
For instance, Swagbucks normally charges 2,500 Swagbucks points for a $25 Amazon gift card but sometimes offers a 12 percent discount. This means you can get the gift card for 2,200 Swagbucks points.
Read our review of the app to learn more.
Rakuten, formerly known as Ebates, allows you to earn cash back on the online purchases you make using their shopping portal. To do so, you need to sign up for a Rakuten account.
Then, go to the Rakuten website and click through their links to a retailer’s website before you go shopping.
Doing so allows the retailer to identify that Rakuten referred you, which also allows you to earn cash back. When it’s time to get your cash back check, Rakuten will often send you an email offering a larger cash-out amount if you opt for a gift card instead.
The offers vary each quarter, but it’s a great way to get a higher value gift card rather than cash back.
Check out our Rakuten app review for a full breakdown of the service.
Use Survey Sites to Earn Free Gift Cards
You won’t get rich taking surveys online, but they can be a great way to monetize your downtime. Many of the top paid survey sites let you redeem earnings for free gift cards, often at a higher value than redeeming for cash.
Below are a few of the best options.
11. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is one of the best survey sites to earn cash or gift cards because it’s so simple to use. It started in 2005 and has over three million active members.
It’s easy to start earning money with Survey Junkie. You open an account, fill out a quick profile, and start taking surveys. Once you accrue 1,000 points, which is equivalent to $10, you can start redeeming points.
You can redeem cash via PayPal or get free gift cards from a variety of retailers like Amazon or Walmart.
Survey Junkie lets you take surveys on your smartphone or desktop. All you need is access to the Internet to use the Survey Junkie platform.
Check out our Survey Junkie review to read more about how the platform works.
12. Pinecone Research
Pinecone Research is one of the highest-paid online survey sites. They pay $3 per completed survey, and they also pay you $3 when you open an account.
Pinecone Research is a little pickier in their selection process. Unfortunately, you can only start an account by clicking the above link and not through their public site.
Pinecone specializes in product testing over traditional surveys since they want to test products before they make them publicly available. You can redeem points for cash or e-gift cards, and every 100 points equal $1.
Check out our Pinecone Research review to learn more about the platform.
InboxDollars is an excellent way to take surveys to earn free gift cards. While it does have one of the highest payout minimums at $30, you receive a $5 signup bonus when you first sign up.
Here are a few other ways you can earn money with InboxDollars:
- Reading emails
- Playing games online
- Watching videos
- Shopping online
- Downloading coupons
The emails are the lowest paying, but you do get a few almost every day, so they are the easiest way to get money in your spare time. Once you reach the $30 payout threshold, you can transfer your cash to PayPal or redeem for gift cards.
Read our InboxDollars review to learn more about the platform.
What to Know About Getting Discounted Gift Cards Online
Getting discounted or free gift cards can provide significant savings. There are a few things you need to know, though.
How Do You Get the Gift Card?
Many retailers and services let you get discounted gift cards in one of two ways:
- Digital gift cards sent via email
- Physical gift cards sent via regular mail
Some vendors may also offer the option to print off the gift card. Keep the type you get in mind, especially if you’re giving the gift card as a present. Digital gift cards are typically free, and you can receive them within 24 hours.
Physical gift cards, on the other hand, have delays due to mailing. You may also pay a fee to process physical gift cards.
As you can imagine, there is the potential for fraud when buying discounted gift cards. That’s why many resellers offer some sort of guarantee on gift cards they sell.
Make sure you investigate any guarantees offered by resellers and use the gift card balances in full before the guarantee expires.
Some fraudsters that sell gift cards to discount gift card reseller websites are smart and wait until the guarantee has expired to try to empty the balance of the gift card. If you leave a balance on a gift card after the guarantee expires and the balance disappears, you have no recourse and will lose the remaining balance.
Know Redemption Policies
Whether you buy a discounted gift card or pay full price, it’s essential to know the redemption policies of the specific retailer. The last thing you want is to buy or receive a gift card and have problems redeeming it.
The best policy when buying discounted gift cards is to check the redemption policies directly with the retailer. Some may have a limited window, while others may not allow you to redeem gift cards online. Many of the above platforms let you see their redemption terms, though some may not.
The best way to protect yourself is to go directly to the retailer to see what they allow for redemption.
What Kind of Retailers Offer Gift Cards?
Countless retailers offer gift cards, so there is plenty of opportunity for savings. You can get discounted gift cards for many popular retailers such as:
- Amazon (here’s how to get free Amazon gift cards)
- Disney store
- Old Navy
- Best Buy
It’s even possible to get free Starbucks gift cards on many platforms. Finding discounted gift cards for any of the above retailers is a great way to save money on items or services you were already planning on buying.
Now that you know where to look to buy discounted gift cards online make sure you compare guarantees and prices to find the best place to get ones you want.
You may find that one website offers the best price on the Walmart gift card you want, and another offers the best price for the Target gift card you want. If the discounts are significant enough, it may make sense to order the discounted gift cards separately.
Just don’t let things get so out of hand that you’re wasting time to save a few pennies.
Where do you go to buy discounted gift cards? Do you like to give gift cards as presents, or do you think they’re tacky? What are other ways you like to save on giving gifts?