How Discounted Gift Cards Can Make You Money
We all know that discounted gift cards can save you money, but did you know that they can make you money? I’m going to show you how with this technique I discovered when I wrote the post “Buy Gift Cards at a Discount at These Online Discount Gift Card Websites.”
I enjoyed writing the post on saving money by buying discounted gift cards. I like finding new ways to save money and make extra cash from home. Extra cash can supplement a current income, can be spent on extra goodies, or put away for a rainy day.
I also enjoy finding new ways to make money from home that are fun and easy to implement. My gift card technique is just that. It helps to have a little bit of knowledge of eBay and/or Amazon selling practices. You’ll be using one or both of these websites to sell what you buy with your new discounted gift card(s). However, you could also sell what you buy on Craigslist, or on a Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook Group Page. This technique is called arbitrage. What you’re going to do is buy items at a lower price, and sell them at a higher price. You’ll purchase products online or at a retail store, and sell them at a profit on any of the sites I listed above.
Gift Card Arbitrage Example
Here’s an example: Recently, I was doing research on the different websites where you can buy discounted gift cards online. I came across a really good deal for an Ann Taylor Loft gift card at Raise.com. It was a $396 gift card being sold for $324.72. That’s an 18% discount (at the time I’m writing this post, there’s a 25.1% discount for an Ann Taylor Loft gift card to be used in-store only)!
I was thinking of how I could go to the Ann Taylor Loft outlet store (you don’t have to shop at outlet stores for this technique to work) , choose some items that are on sale such as jewelry, clothes or accessories, and list them on eBay. I know from a family member’s experience selling Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft items on eBay, that they sell fairly well. The $71 you are ahead from the purchase of the discounted gift card coupled with purchasing items on sale, should make you a nice profit on eBay. However, you might also be able to find great deals online at the company’s website.
Do This First
Before you visit the company’s website, you’ll want to visit Ebates.com first. If you don’t have an Ebates account yet, this is a must have! It’s free and you earn cash back just for starting your shopping experience from their website. Not only will Ebates give you cash back for starting your shopping experience from their website, they also scour the internet for coupons and exclusive offers from participating merchants. You can then layer the coupons with the cash back for even more savings! But it doesn’t stop there…get the Ebates cash back button which hangs out in your browser and does all the work for you (you will see the link in the footer at the Ebates website). This means you don’t have to start your shopping from the Ebates website. Basically, the button alerts you when there’s cash back available at participating merchants.
Promotion Codes are Your Friend
When I checked the Ann Taylor Loft website, they were having a free shipping special if you purchased $125 or more. I could easily spend this much since my gift card was worth $396! In addition to Ebates 2% cash back on this particular day for starting my shopping experience through them, there was also a 20% off $100 or more promotion code! Since we are spending $396, that would be an extra $79 off added to the $71savings I would have from buying the discounted gift card!
In addition, I’m getting my items shipped for free, so I also saved money on gas if I were to travel to the store (however, you do have to factor in taxes whether you’re buying online or offline depending on your state). By the way, they had plenty of merchandise on sale which included regular, tall and petite sizes as well as maternity clothes. In addition, there was a clearance section that had amazing deals like $60 sweaters marked down to $12.88.
If you wanted to forget the arbitrage idea and just stock up on next fall and winter’s wardrobes with this technique, then that would make you a pretty smart shopper!
To summarize this technique, go back to my Buy Gift Cards at a Discount post. Check out the discounted gift card websites listed there. Next, go to Ebates.com and see if that merchant participates in the Ebates cash back program. What coupons and promo codes are being offered for that store? Or, if you installed the Ebates Cash Back Button (which I hope you did), you can go directly to the merchant’s website.
Ebates will automatically tell you if cash back is being offered for that merchant. If it is, there will be a visible button that activates the cash back on that website. Then, you click the Ebates Cash Back Button one more time and a list of promotion codes and discounts offered will pop up. Basically, you want to search for any additional coupons or discounts you can find for that merchant. This will be in addition to the cash back. A gift card is like cash, so it won’t interfere with any promotional codes or coupons you use at the merchant’s store or website.
One More Thing…
Before you purchase the gift card (if you are buying it for arbitrage reasons), check out eBay.com and Amazon to make sure you can sell what you buy (if you’re going to sell on Craigslist or in a Yard Sale or Buy, Sell, Trade Facebook Group, test out a small amount of inventory first). On eBay.com, check out the completed auctions and the final sold prices. Amazon is a little bit easier to determine the price of listed items. You don’t want a bunch of merchandise you can’t sell!
Once you have your gift card in hand, find sale items at the merchant’s store or website. Look for items that you believe will offer you a profit after reselling them. If you are buying at the merchant’s website, see if they have any free shipping specials. If not, double check the price of shipping. You don’t want to eat into your profit with shipping charges! In addition, check for additional on site discounts or specials. (Remember the 20% off of $100 at the Ann Taylor Loft website?)
After you do all of the above, just buy, list and sell your items! Hopefully, you will make some nice extra money from home with this technique. Just rinse and repeat!
Editor’s Note: Originally this post was published in 2012. It was completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.