The One Holiday Deal We Always Capitalize On

posted by Andrea | 12/4/2018

As many of you know, Dave and I are not the shopping type. We prefer to stay home and would probably rather have some type of operation or even get a tooth pulled versus going shopping the day after Thanksgiving!

We dislike crowds, we dislike the mall, we dislike the craziness the holiday season brings, and we dislike unnecessary gifts “just because” it’s Christmas time.

We shop local (in advance), we shop Amazon, and give lots of gift cards!

That said… there is one deal we ALWAYS capitalize on during the holiday season.

We always stock up on gift cards… for ourselves!Ā 

We use the holiday season to stock up on gift cards for various stores, restaurants, and activities we KNOW WE WILL USE ANYWAY, and then capitalize on the extra-special bonus offers that usually accompany gift card purchases this time of year.

There are a handful of area stores we shop at when we need something specific we can’t find on Amazon — many of which offer a 20% off coupon or $10 bonus gift card for purchasing this time of year. The coupon and/or bonus gift card usually need to be used up fairly quickly, but the gift cards themselves never expire.

Similarly, I just capitalized on a $10 bonus offer from Amazon by loading my account with $100. Obviously, I’ll spend $100 on Amazon purchases some time in the next year… so why not get a free $10 as a reward??

And even though we don’t go out to eat all that often anymore, when we eat out, it’s almost always at the same few kid-friendly, local places — Culver’s, Arby’s, and a couple local pizza places — many of which offer free meal coupons or other bonus incentives to buy gift cards now (I shared more about this in a post from a couple years ago).

In our area, there are a boatload of family-friendly activities that have hopped on the bonus-gift-card-offer bandwagon and are offering extra discounts, free goodie bags, free upgrades, etc. with the purchase of gift cards.

Dave and I recently capitalized on this from Rebounderz (a local trampoline place that our kids BEG us to go to). We purchased 3 gift cards and got 3 goodie bags filled with stuff (which we gave to the older 3 kids). Then we used those gift cards to buy a year-long family pass at a HUUUUUUGELY discounted price and told the kids it was their main Christmas gift this year.

They were beyond thrilled!

Now we can go to Rebounderz any day, any time (even for just 30 minutes) burn off some energy and not worry about how much it costs (it’s crazy expensive without the family pass).

I realize that for some people, gift cards might be a risky purchase — they could be lost or stolen, they could entice you to splurge more than normal, or spend all of the gift card right away to “use it up”.

If that’s your mentality, it’s probably not worth the bonus offers.

However, if you have a good system for organizing and keeping track of your gift cards (here’s how I do it) and you know you won’t blow the full gift card in January, this might just be a fantastic time for you to stock up on gift cards — for others AND for yourself!

Do you buy yourself gift cards?

If not, work it into your budget this year and enjoy a clutter-free gift for yourself!

A Few More Posts on Gift Cards:

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Filed under: LifeOrganizingPaperHolidaysFrugal Living

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20 comments

  1. Anne

    12/06/2018

    I’m curious about the reboundrz deal….how did you get the hugely discounted deal. My kids always beg to go but I agree….it’s so expensive!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t know — We had never been before and I got an email regarding the discounted family pass. I pretty much immediately signed up. It was a couple months ago already, so not sure if it was a fall promotion or what.

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  2. Jenny

    12/04/2018

    One thing I do when I get these bonus cards (which typically have a shorter time frame to use) is I’ll make a list of all the bonuses and expiration date and stick them on my fridge to make sure I don’t forget (and they get incorporated in my meal plan.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Debbie

    12/04/2018

    I just did this when Target offered 10% off their gift cards this past weekend, because I know I will shop at Target throughout the year, so why not save 10% right off the top?! Great reminder!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — that’s a great deal. Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) I never shop at Target, but I know many people who go weekly. This would be a great savings!

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  4. Laura Parker

    12/04/2018

    Andrea –

    Where did you go on the Amazon site to get the $10 bonus for loading $100? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that deal is done — otherwise I would have linked to it šŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  5. Laurel

    12/04/2018

    We do this, however I know sometimes you mention that your meal was free because you used a gift card at a fast food restaurant. If it’s one you purchased ahead of time, don’t forget it’s really not “free”. I think it feels free when you use it, but you paid for it. I mostly do this with Meijer gift cards. They will offer a deal if you buy a Meijer gift card. I purchase the gift card and use it as soon as the next day for groceries or whatever I would have purchased with cash &/or my credit card. No sitting in my wallet and no thinking I got free meals or activity gift cards when I really did purchase them.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no Laurel, the meal IS actually FREE — we get free meal coupons with the purchase of gift cards. So, we buy a $25 gift card to give as a gift (or for ourselves) and then get an additional coupon for a completely FREE meal (usually valued around $10)
    So when I say we get a “free meal” we are legitimately getting a free meal. I do not consider it a free meal when we use a gift card to pay for it.

    [Reply]

  6. Annette Silveira

    12/04/2018

    Iā€™m interested in doing this. Iā€™m wondering how you find out about the gift card deals. Are you on the email lists for these businesses?

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    Annette, I found this link in one of Andrea’s other post about gift cards! https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/holiday-gift-card-bonuses-1389278

    [Reply]

    Annette Silveira Reply:

    Thank you!

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    Jenny Reply:

    I’d also check your local paper or TV news stations. One of the local ones posted a round up of gift card deals which also included regional chains and local restaurants that that a national list wouldn’t have.

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    Annette Silveira Reply:

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I guess I don’t really know — several of them come by email, others I just see advertised on facebook or another blog. They are only for the places we actually GO, so I guess we probably see them when we go to the places as well!

    [Reply]

  7. Rhonda

    12/04/2018

    Thanks for the reminder…I don’t typically do this, but I have over the years if I noticed a good deal. Also I read the link about organizing the cards – I am going to do this. We don’t have that many, but it is really easy for them to get misplaced.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, it’s really helpful to keep the cards organized so we don’t misplace any!

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    Rhonda Reply:

    I went ahead and found a little photo album at home, and took about 15 minutes to clean out my gift cards, store credit, and coupons to put in the book. Thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    awesome! Glad this system worked for you too (and that you didn’t need to buy anything extra!)

    [Reply]