Give Yourself a Gift

Since I had a feeling of urgency to spread the word about how to save specifically on Netflix in my last post, I hadn’t addressed the bigger picture of how to save on tons of purchases you make all the time. Discounted gift cards. There are a few sites I have used, when I am trying to look for the biggest savings for a particular merchant, though I have found the most efficient ones for my purposes to be Cardpool or Raise.

Both of these sites offer a one year guarantee on their cards, and when I purchase an electronic gift card, I typically receive it within minutes.  This immediate delivery means I can also use it right away.

No matter how long the guarantee, I will not purchase gift cards from these sites and give them as gifts. There have been a couple occasions when, after purchasing a gift card, it ended up with a zero balance prior to my use. This resulted in me having to file a claim and, in both cases, my money was refunded to me, but the last thing you want is to be that person who gives someone else a worthless piece of plastic.

So, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Go to CouponCabin (or your preferred cash back site) and click through to Cardpool or Raise or one of the many other discount gift card sites, so you earn a percentage back on your purchase.
  2. Buy one or more discounted, electronic gift cards for the merchant you want to shop at, if gift cards are available.
  3. Then, before buying from your merchant, go back to CouponCabin (or your preferred cash back site) and, if cash back is offered, use the site to go to the merchant and make your purchase, paying with your new gift card(s).

Here’s an example: Just this weekend, I wanted to buy some items at Under Armour. I went to CouponCabin, clicked through to Raise and bought $75 in gift cards, discounted by 7%. This also allowed me to earn 3%, plus my VIP bonus back, on this gift card purchase. I then ended up using a different cash back site (which I will talk about in a future post) because it offered 6% cash back for Under Armour, plus a $5 bonus cash payment for making a purchase of at least $100. So, bottom line, by these VERY simple steps, I saved approximately $20 off my purchase.

One more quick example: I buy all my coffee pods at Bed, Bath, & Beyond because I can use the 20% off coupons I get in the mail all the time.  So before restocking, I click through CouponCabin to Raise, buy a discounted Bed, Bath, & Beyond gift card and then go shopping.  The best part is I get to combine several savings all at once, between cash back, discounts, and coupons.

My rule of thumb is not to stock up on these gift cards, just buy them when you are ready to use them or will be doing so in the near future. I always check the balance as soon as I receive them and again before I use them.  This avoids there being any potential surprises at checkout. Of the couple hundred gift cards I have bought over the past few years, I have only had two instances where there was an issue, but the guarantee on each of the cards was honored. So, from my point of view, this is a way to save money that shouldn’t be overlooked and can literally put hundreds of dollars back in your wallet each year!


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I am a divorced mom of two, pre-teen kids. I am responsible for the house, the car, helping with homework, putting food on the table, and everything in between. I work full time in a day job that sometimes requires working at night, too. It’s probably no surprise, then, that I ensure I always have a bottle of wine ready to be uncorked. I make a decent salary, but have always known the value of a dollar, so striking a balance between saving for tomorrow and spending for today is my life’s goal. My friends always ask where I am traveling to next, and there are few weekends spent just hanging around the house, but I am also planning to retire before I reach 50 years old. So, maybe it makes sense that I hate paying full price for ANYTHING.

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