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Gift Card Organizer by Christina W., youthfulhomemaker, Flickr Creative Commons

Gift Card Organizer by Christina W., youthfulhomemaker, Flickr Creative Commons

Two things to know about gift cards:

First, you can often get them at a discount. We’ll tell you how below.

Second, they’re good not just to use as gifts, but also as a way to save money on purchases for yourself.  Need new sheets? Buy a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card at 20% discount through your credit card rewards program, then take it –along with your 20% off Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon that came in the mail —and save a bundle.

Here’s where to get discounted gift cards:

Discount Gift Card Sites. There are a number of sites that sell gift cards at a discount. One  is cardpool.com, which sells cards at discounts ranging from 2% to 20% or more, and does not charge for shipping.    For example, it recently offered  Best Buy cards at 3.5% off,  Home Depot cards at 7% off , and American Eagle cards at 20% off. For information on other discount gift card sites, check out this story from CBS Money Watch.

Warehouse Clubs. Costco sells gift cards for restaurants, movie theater, and sometimes other recreational/leisure attractions at a discount. For example, its website offers four $25, no-expiration gifts cards to Baja Fresh for $79, with free shipping. That’s a 21% savings.  BJ’s Warehouse also sells discount cards; it recently offered four $25 cards to Uno Chicago Grill for $79.00 (shipping is included).

Credit Card Rewards Programs. Some rewards programs entice you to use your rewards money to buy gift cards at discounts that can range from 5% to 33%. For example, Discover recently offered $50 Banana Republic cards for $40 (20% off), and $60 Brookstone cards for $40 (33% off ).

Bonus Gift Cards with Purchases. Especially during holiday seasons, some stores/retailers provide an incentive to for you to buy their gift cards, such as buy a certain number of cards and receive one free. Some companies give you gift cards when you make a purchase of a specified amount. For example,  L.L Bean often has promotions offering a $10 gift card with a purchase of $50.

Groupon, etc.  Occasionally, Groupon and other such sites offer discounts on movie gift card purchases. It’s worth a search to check.

Thinking outside the box – such as using gift cards for personal essentials, and buying them at a discount – is all part of saving money slow.

Have gift cards you don’t want? Click here for our story on selling them.