gift cards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2008/all en-US 6 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Lost Gift Card http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000021000133.jpg" alt="Woman shopping with gift card and trying not to lose it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just last week, I was at Chipotle frantically digging through my wallet looking for my gift card. I knew it was somewhere in my pile of plastic, but couldn't find it for the life of me. In the end, my &quot;free&quot; burrito ended up costing me cash, as my gift card was permanently misplaced.</p> <p>Stores and restaurants absolutely love gift cards because of unorganized people like me. But with a few simple steps, you can easily protect those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">valuable gift card balances</a> in the event you lose or misplace one.</p> <h2>1. Stash Your Activation Receipt</h2> <p>This is clearly the most obvious, yet overlooked, step to protect yourself. It's often overlooked because the gift card giver doesn't always include the receipt with the card. But if they do, or if you bought the gift card yourself, then by all means stash the receipt someplace safe. In the event you lose the card, you can simply call the retailer or restaurant customer service line and they can access your account balance via the activation receipt. They'll then easily re-issue you a new card.</p> <h2>2. Write Down Gift Card Numbers</h2> <p>If you don't have a receipt, then you can just put pen to paper and copy down the gift card numbers for safe keeping. While this can seem a tedious exercise for a measly $5 Starbucks gift card, you'll be glad you did if you lose a $100 Best Buy card.</p> <h2>3. Get Tech Savvy With a Virtual Wallett</h2> <p>Perhaps the most convenient and fool-proof way of protecting your gift card balances is using a virtual wallet like Google Wallet. You simply download the app to your smartphone (Android or iPhone), enter the card number, balance, snap a picture of the card (front and back) and the app takes care of the rest. You simply present the app when checking out, the cashier scans the corresponding barcode on your phone, and your balance is automatically reduced.</p> <h2>4. Not That Tech Savvy? Just Snap a Pic</h2> <p>If you're just not tech savvy and the idea of adding a gift card to a virtual wallet gives you a headache, I have an easy solution for you. Just use your smartphone or camera to snap a picture of the gift card numbers when you get the card. This is an easy way to access your gift card if you end up losing it.</p> <h2>5. Trace Your Footsteps</h2> <p>If you failed to keep the receipt and/or the gift card number was never recorded, but you used the lost gift card at least once online, you may still have recourse. Your card information may have been recorded when shopping online from the retailer's website. Whether or not your gift card info was saved varies by retailer, but when you are desperate to recapture your account balance, it's worth a shot.</p> <h2>6. Register Your Card With the Retailer</h2> <p>Many retailers and restaurants allow you to actually register your card with them online. Some of the more popular include Crate &amp; Barrel, Starbucks, and Tully's Coffee. By doing so, you get balance protection and a quick replacement card in the event you lose yours. Also, you can often use your gift card for rewards and earn free treats and reward points. The Starbucks gift card is famous for this.</p> <h2>Bottom Line: Treat a Gift Card Like Cash</h2> <p>By treating gift cards like cash (which they essentially are), you'll be more proactive when it comes to protecting their balances. By doing just a little bit of work to protect yourself, you'll never be stuck buying a burrito again after you were sure it would be free. Or is that just my story?</p> <p><em>Have you ever lost a gift card or taken steps to prevent it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-grocery-shopping-techniques-you-need">The Only 5 Grocery Shopping Techniques You Need</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life">Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips gift cards receipts shopping virtual wallets Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1376607 at http://www.wisebread.com Take Our Reader Survey for a Chance to Win One of Five Amazon Gift Cards! http://www.wisebread.com/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/survey-465057533-small.jpg" alt="survey" title="survey" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here at Wise Bread, we try to provide insanely helpful and interesting content that improves your finances (and the rest of your life, too). We want to make our site even more awesome &mdash; but we need your help! Please take a few moments to fill out this brief survey so we can get to know you a little better, find out what you like about the site, and learn where we can improve.</p> <h3>Win Your Share of $400 in Amazon Gift Cards!</h3> <p>When you fill out the survey, you'll be entered to win one of five Amazon gift cards! Each week during July, we will give away the following prizes:</p> <ul> <li>Week 1 Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card</li> <li>Week 2 Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card</li> <li>Week 3 Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card</li> <li>Week 4 Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card</li> <li>Week 5 Grand Prize: $200 Amazon Gift Card</li> </ul> <p>We will randomly select winners using <a href="http://www.random.org/">Random.org</a>, so be sure to include your email address so we can enter you into our drawing and notify you of your prize if you win!</p> <p><a href="https://docs.google.com/a/killeraces.com/forms/d/1AV4LLEv7I4hA-XYM2JxScFbHQSxpAGfjnl86WQkxr1o/viewform"> <iframe width="760" height="500" frameborder="0" src="https://docs.google.com/a/killeraces.com/forms/d/1AV4LLEv7I4hA-XYM2JxScFbHQSxpAGfjnl86WQkxr1o/viewform?embedded=true" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe></a></p> <p>If you have trouble with the embedded survey, please <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/killeraces.com/forms/d/1AV4LLEv7I4hA-XYM2JxScFbHQSxpAGfjnl86WQkxr1o/viewform">click here to take the survey in a seperate window</a>.</p> <h3>Terms and Conditions</h3> <ul> <li>Contest will run from June 25th, 2014 at 12:00 am PST through July 31st, 2014 at 12:00 am PST.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Winners will be announced after July 31st on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>NO PURCHASE NECESSARY VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents 18 years or older physically residing in the fifty (50) United States of America and the District of Columbia, excluding the state of Rhode Island.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prizes are delivered by Wise Bread. Wise Bread is the host and administrator of this contest.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Additional terms and conditions apply. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisebread-official-contest-rules">Click here for more details</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Good luck!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hp-giving-away-500-to-a-lucky-wise-bread-reader">HP Giving Away $500 to a Lucky Wise Bread Reader</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-personal-finance-story-a-chance-to-win-10">Ask The Readers: What is Your Personal Finance &quot;Story?&quot; (A Chance to Win $10!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-save-money-on-rent-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Save Money on Rent? (Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-barter-tell-us-and-enter-to-win-10">Do You Barter? -- Tell Us and Enter to win $10!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-a-ticket-to-the-iblog-conference">Win a Ticket to the I_Blog Conference!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways gift cards giveaway reader survey Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:28:45 +0000 Meg Favreau 1149169 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/card-457778771.jpg" alt="gift card" title="gift card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Got gift cards to stores or restaurants you'd never dream of patronizing? Wouldn't it be great if you could turn them into cash? Well, it turns out that there are several ways to do exactly that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards?ref=seealso">How to Use Up Small Balances on Gift Cards</a>)</p> <p>Expect to get anywhere from half to about 90% of the card's face value or remaining balance. Not surprisingly, gift cards from retailers with a wide range of merchandise, like Walmart, or for a product that almost everyone buys, like gas, have the best resale values. Lesser-known, specialist retailers and regional stores sell for steeper discounts, sometimes up to 50%.</p> <p>Here are ways to cash out your gift cards</p> <h2>Websites That Buy Your Gift Cards</h2> <p>Many websites are willing to buy your gift cards. To find the highest bidder, first visit <a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com/">Gift Card Granny</a>. Go to &quot;Sell Gift Cards,&quot; click on the retailer on the drop-down menu, then click on the company offering the best price.</p> <p>Some companies may offer you Amazon gift cards in trade for other cards, which may be a better deal for you, presuming you want to buy something through Amazon.</p> <p>Top gift card purchasers and sellers include <a href="http://www.abcgiftcards.com/">ABCGiftCards</a>, <a href="https://www.cardcash.com/">CardCash</a>, <a href="http://www.cardpool.com/">Cardpool</a>, <a href="http://www.giftcardrescue.com/">GiftCardRescue</a>, and <a href="http://www.junkcard.com/">JunkCard</a>. Interestingly, Cardpool sells <a href="http://www.cardpool.com/the-ultimate-gift-card">its own gift card</a> (for no discount) that can be used to buy gift cards on its site.</p> <p><a href="https://www.plasticjungle.com/">PlasticJungle.com</a>, once a major card exchange site, has essentially left the niche and now only trades gift cards for CVS gift cards or United MileagePlus award miles.</p> <h3>What to Expect</h3> <p>Generally, you enter your information online, mail the card, and get paid after the company validates the card.</p> <p>Some websites will, depending on the card, let you enter the card's number online instead of mailing it. Some offer prepaid mail labels. Some tout their purchase guarantee programs. Some companies can send payments by check, direct deposit, or PayPal. Others are less flexible, preferring PayPal.</p> <p>Some companies accept both merchandise credit and store credit.</p> <p>Expect companies to scrutinize you the first time you sell a gift card, especially one with a large balance. For instance, they might request a credit card or copy of a driver's license for ID verification.</p> <p>Although Gift Card Granny says it vets companies, if you're cautious it wouldn't hurt to check online reviews, BBB ratings, and user policies with an eye for guarantees or consumer protections.</p> <h2>Where You Can Sell to Other Consumers</h2> <p>If you prefer to set your own asking price for your gift card, you can visit <a href="https://www.raise.com/">Raise</a>. The site posts the average discounts to help sellers set their price, and sellers can change their asking price. Keep in mind that the steeper the discount, the faster cards sell.</p> <p>The company takes a 15% commission from the selling price after the card has sold and a shipping fee for physical cards of 1% or $1, whichever is larger.</p> <p>You can sell unwanted cards directly to others by using eBay, but the online auction place warns sellers to learn about <a href="http://www.ebay.com/gds/Listing-and-Selling-Gift-Cards-within-eBay-Guidelines-/10000000001677562/g.html">its restrictions</a>. A gift card cannot exceed $500, only one card can be listed in a seven-day period, you must have the card in your possession, and only one card per listing is permitted. Some types of cards are restricted or prohibited.</p> <p>Sellers not following the rules may find their listing removed, their buying selling privileges restricted, or even their account suspended. Plus, some card sellers may consider eBay's <a href="http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html">selling fees</a> to be a disadvantage.</p> <h2>Kiosks That Accept Gift Cards</h2> <p>For those who don't want to go online, Coinstar, known for its kiosks that exchange loose cash for bills or gift certificates, has introduced kiosks that trade gift cards for cash. How much cash you get depends on the current market demand for the card, and could be anywhere from <a href="http://www.ahwatukee.com/money/article_878e12bc-accf-11e3-b494-001a4bcf887a.html">75% to 25% of the card's face value</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the kiosks are not yet plentiful. For instance, a search on its <a href="https://www.coinstar.com/Kioskfinder?coinstarexchangesearch=true">kiosk locator tool</a> showed only four in California, all in or around Fresno.</p> <h2>A Booming Business</h2> <p>People will probably be selling more unwanted gift cards as they become even more popular among gift givers. A National Retail Federation survey just before the Christmas shopping season last year found that <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2013/11/13/gift-buyers-will-spend-4-more-gift-cards-year">shoppers planned to spend</a> an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up about 4% from $156.86 the previous year.</p> <p>Gift cards to coffee shops are especially popular among gift givers. Almost one in five, or 19%, planned to give a coffee shop gift card, up from 13% in 2009. Perhaps they should consider buying an unwanted second-hand card. Meanwhile, gift cards for Starbucks were being sold online at a 58% discount.</p> <p><em>Have you ever sold a gift card? Please share your experience in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-kling">Michael Kling</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day">How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kmart-settles-refunds-gift-card-fees">Kmart settles: refunds gift-card fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping gift cards gifts re-gifting selling gift cards Thu, 22 May 2014 08:36:25 +0000 Michael Kling 1140106 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Restaurants and Retailers Offering Free Gift Cards for Givers http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-restaurants-and-retailers-offering-free-gift-cards-for-givers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-restaurants-and-retailers-offering-free-gift-cards-for-givers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-card-106575669.jpg" alt="gift card" title="gift card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on restaurants and retailers offering free gift cards for givers, the best life hacks of 2013, and teaching children frugality.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.doughroller.net/promo-codes/gifting-giver-68-restaurants-retailers-offering-free-gift-cards-givers/">68 Restaurants and Retailers Offering Free Gift Cards for Givers</a> &mdash; Barnes and Noble, Fandango, and Jamba Juice are just a few restaurants and retailers offering gift cards to givers! [The Dough Roller]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Life-Hacks-2013-32903606">The Best Life Hacks of 2013</a> &mdash; To cross out words on paper, use other letters instead of lines. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/teaching-children-frugality/?">Teaching Children Frugality</a> &mdash; In order to teach children frugality, talk through your spending decisions and show them how to shop around. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/12/5-ways-to-stop-wasting-time-surfing-the-web/">5 Ways to Stop Wasting Time Surfing the Web</a> &mdash; If you want to reduce your time on the web, set a timer and delegate when appropriate. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fgmi45hffl/basic-will/?ss=personalfinance">10 Must-Have Estate Planning Documents</a> &mdash; It is important to have beneficiary forms and a living will when doing your estate planning. [Forbes]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/12/10-ways-to-fight-holiday-depression.html">10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression</a> &mdash; Holidays got you down? Fight your depression by doing something silly or connecting with friends. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbabe.com/make-wreath-10/">How to make a wreath for under $10</a> &mdash; All you need to make your own wreath is a coat hanger, some fabric, scissors, and pliers! [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-hot-holiday-gift-ideas-for-tween-girls">10 Hot Holiday Gift Ideas for Tween Girls</a> &mdash; If you have a tween girl on your shopping list this year, consider getting her an iPod Shuffle. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/12/15/8-things-happy-successful-people-never-say/">8 Things Happy, Successful People Never Say</a> &mdash; Happy, successful people never say they don&#39;t have a choice or that they missed their chance. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/what-is-small-claims-court-and-when-should-i-use-it-1481147923">What is Small Claims Court and When Should I Use It?</a> &mdash; Small claims court may be necessary if your landlord failed to return your security deposit. [Lifehacker]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-restaurants-and-retailers-offering-free-gift-cards-for-givers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/swipe-envy">Swipe envy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-things-that-just-arent-worth-it">10 Free Things That Just Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marshalls-giving-away-250-giftcards-to-3-lucky-wise-bread-readers">Marshalls giving away $250 giftcards to 3 lucky Wise Bread readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-all-the-documentary-movies-you-can-handle-free-online-and-yes-its-legal">Watch All The Documentary Movies You Can Handle, Free Online - And Yes, It&#039;s Legal.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips free gift cards restaurants retailers Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:00:44 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1101062 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laptop-1895393-small.jpg" alt="laptop" title="laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love shopping online because I can generally find a better deal (and a better selection of merchandise) than what I often find in brick-and-mortar stores. If you time your purchases correctly, you can take advantage of online coupons and sales to get a pretty good discount. The problem is, those special promotions and sales can happen infrequently. What if you need something fast? Or what if something is going out of stock and you want it now? How can you get a discount on <em>any</em> purchase, every day? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-shipping-and-online-discounts-across-the-web" target="_blank">How to Get Free Shipping and Online Discounts Across the Web</a>)</p> <p>Recently I discovered a few new methods for getting a steep discount on almost any online purchase without having to wait for a sale or until an item is on clearance. The great thing is, you can also stack these discounts on top of store sales, promotions, and clearance items, helping you save even more.</p> <h2>Buy a Discounted Gift Card</h2> <p>Have you ever gotten a gift card to a store you don't like? What if you could gain back 90% of the gift card's value in cash by selling it online? That's the mentality behind sites such as <a href="http://ecardexchange.com/" target="_blank">Ecardexchange.com</a>.</p> <p>These sites buy gift cards from the original owners and sell them back to you at a discount. By searching for and buying discounted gift cards online, you can save up to 25% off of the original value of the gift card. For instance, you can buy a Pottery Barn gift card at 10% off and use it at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, and affiliated stores. Some gift cards are electronic, and the card code will be emailed to you almost instantly, while you can also buy physical cards which will be mailed to you.</p> <p>Generally, more specialized shops will offer a better deal, whereas cards from general retailers such as Target or Walmart will have less of a discount.</p> <p>Check out <a href="http://giftcardgranny.com/" target="_blank">GiftCardGranny.com</a>, a great website that aggregates gift cards from all of the reputable gift card sellers online, making it easy to compare prices.</p> <h2>Get an Electronic Rebate</h2> <p>Buy online from many large retailers through the <a href="http://ebates.com/" target="_blank">Ebates.com</a> website, and Ebates will give you between 1-20% cash back. Ebates is a completely legitimate website that earns commissions from retailers for referring you to their stores &mdash; a commission they then share with you in the form of a cash rebate. Sign up for a free account and get paid every three months through PayPal or by check. Not every store will have an &quot;ebate,&quot; but you can usually find big retailers such as Macy's and Home Depot, as well as big online retailers such as <a href="http://diapers.com">Diapers.com</a> and <a href="http://wayfair.com">Wayfair.com</a>.</p> <p>All you have to do to get an Ebate is to click through to the online store of your choice from the Ebates website. Additionally, when you search for a retailer on the Ebates website, the search will also pull up coupons and promotions you can use, so you can get an even bigger discount.</p> <h2>Professional Perks</h2> <p>Check through your company (or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-get-student-discounts" target="_blank">college or university</a>) whether you can get any online discounts or perks through the company network that you might not be aware of. For example, human resources giant ADP, which is used by many mid-size companies, offers a plethora of restaurant discounts, event ticket discounts, and more.</p> <h2>Combine Discounts</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-groceries-with-these-online-tools" target="_blank">Combining coupons and sales</a> isn't foreign to the avid &quot;extreme couponer,&quot; but it's even easier to do it electronically. Combine a discounted gift card and an &quot;ebate&quot; with a store sale or promotion. Look for coupon codes on sites like <a href="http://retailmenot.com/" target="_blank">Retailmenot.com</a> to see if <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-site-you-must-visit-before-buying-anything-online-period" target="_blank">a bigger discount is available.</a> With discounted gift cards and &quot;ebates,&quot; you'll never pay full price for something online again.</p> <p><em>How are you saving money on your online purchases?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kmart-settles-refunds-gift-card-fees">Kmart settles: refunds gift-card fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-save-if-you-dont-try">You Can’t Save if You Don’t Try</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-shipping-and-online-discounts-across-the-web">How to Get Free Shipping and Online Discounts Across the Web</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-sales-insanity-this-time-from-walmart">More Sales Insanity, This Time From Walmart</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Coupons Shopping ebates gift cards online discounts online shopping rebates Mon, 27 May 2013 10:36:33 +0000 Camilla Cheung 975248 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Prefer Getting Gift Cards or Cash? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000007951783Small-1.jpg" alt="Do You Prefer Getting Gift Cards or Cash?" title="Do You Prefer Getting Gift Cards or Cash?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash#comment-532523"><em>Peg Mooers</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash#comment-532469"><em>Kelly</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash#comment-532619"><em>Z. R.</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Whenever the holidays or your birthday comes around, inevitably you will receive either gift cards or cash. Some people love getting gift cards to use at their favorite store or restaurant. However, others would prefer to take the cash and run!</p> <p><b>Do you prefer getting gift cards or cash?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;Why? When it comes to giving someone else gift cards or cash, which do you prefer to give?</span></p> <p>Tell us if you prefer getting gift cards or cash and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 30th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you prefer getting gift cards or cash and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-prefer-getting-gift-cards-or-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-personal-finance-story-a-chance-to-win-10">Ask The Readers: What is Your Personal Finance &quot;Story?&quot; (A Chance to Win $10!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards">Take Our Reader Survey for a Chance to Win One of Five Amazon Gift Cards!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers cash gift cards gifts presents Tue, 24 Apr 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 922770 at http://www.wisebread.com The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/target_gift_cards.jpg" alt="Gift cards" title="Gift cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s the most wonderful time of the year&hellip;for scam artists. When the shopping craze hits us after Thanksgiving, the thieves come out in droves and this year, they are targeting one of the biggest gift items we both give and receive &mdash; gift cards. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts">Why I Love Gift Cards</a>)</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a multi-million dollar industry, so it&rsquo;s no surprise that scammers and con artists have put gift cards on their own wish list this year. And because of them, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you go to spend a gift card you received. In fact, your gift card could already be worthless.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s right, a gift card you have received or bought someone else could already have a zero balance. It&rsquo;s a problem even <a href="http://www.silive.com/westshore/index.ssf/2011/12/staten_island_shoppers_warned.html">U.S. Senator Charles Schumer</a> is trying to warn people about.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s how the thieves are picking your pocket without you even realizing it.</p> <h3>How the Gift Card Scam Works</h3> <p>Every gift card you buy has a magnetic strip on the back, similar to the one on your debit or credit card. This strip is basically there to record the running balance, the card number, and the PIN number if it has one.</p> <p>The gift card thief has found a way to retrieve the information contained in that magnetic strip using a simple reader that can be bought very cheaply on the internet. The thief will then go to one of those racks filled with cards and read the information from them. Usually, they will target the cards with larger dollar amounts printed on them (even though they are not yet activated) as well as blank cards and lower denominations.</p> <p>You may think that the packaging on the gift card can prevent that, but it&rsquo;s no barrier. Most of the time the card can be lifted from the packaging, read, and replaced. Sometimes, the strip is visible in spite of the packaging. And many cards aren&rsquo;t even placed into a wallet or gift card holder until after they&rsquo;ve been activated.</p> <p>Once the thief has the numbers, he/she waits patiently and checks the balances online. And it&rsquo;s not long before those cards are activated in store by someone like you or me. Then the thief can use the gift card numbers to spend that money quickly, either online or in store, and run the balance down to zero. You, or most likely your gift recipient, won&rsquo;t even realize it until weeks or months later. When the theft is noticed, it could not only be very embarrassing and frustrating, but also too late to do anything about it. The best chance you have to get your money back is as soon as the theft has occurred.</p> <h3>What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?</h3> <p>There are several steps you can take to make yourself less vulnerable to gift card scammers. Unfortunately, nothing is 100% fool proof (other than refusing to buy or receive, gift cards), but these tips should help you avoid their traps.</p> <p><strong>1. Carefully Examine Any Gift Card You Are About to Buy or Receive</strong></p> <p>When buying a card, be alert. Look for any obvious signs of tampering with the card holder, the scratch-off panel, the magnetic strip or any other wear and tear. Gift cards and the holders should be in pristine condition. If you see a PIN, put it back. The PIN should always be covered. When you receive a card, do the same thing, but be tactful; you don&rsquo;t want to upset the person who just gave you a gift, so do it out of sight. If you see anything suspicious, it may be time to check that card out.</p> <p><strong>2. Don&rsquo;t Buy Cards From Public Display Racks in Grocery or Retail Stores</strong></p> <p>The first place gift card scammers look is those big racks filled with cards. They aren&rsquo;t protected or policed because they are not activated yet and thus are considered worthless. But those racks are easy picking for thieves, who can scan dozens of cards at one time.</p> <p><strong>3. Use Gift Cards Immediately</strong></p> <p>Don&rsquo;t just pop them in the junk drawer until the day comes that you want something from that store. That just gives thieves plenty of time to use the card and leave you high and dry. Go and spend that money. You should also register your card online if you can. Most retailers have that option, and you can instantly see the balance and track your usage.</p> <p><strong>4. Discourage Friends and Relatives From Buying You Gift Cards</strong></p> <p>Yes, they are a great way to give a gift, especially for people who live far away and don&rsquo;t want to pay for big parcels or risk buying an unwanted gift. If people want to send you money from far away, they can always wire the money. For people who live close, it may be time to put <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-give-cash-as-a-gift">money in an envelope</a> again. It&rsquo;s not ideal, especially if you want to encourage kids to spend their money at a book store, but at least they&rsquo;ll have money to spend when the shopping day comes.</p> <p><strong>5. Never Buy Gift Cards Via eBay, Craigslist, or Other Non-Retailer Websites</strong></p> <p>Sadly, that&rsquo;s just too easy for the thieves. Your best bet if you are going to buy gift cards is to get them directly from the retailer&rsquo;s website. If you want a Barnes &amp; Noble gift card, get it from <a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/">barnesandnoble.com</a>. If you want a Home Depot gift card, <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/">homedepot.com</a> is the place. There may be cheaper deals elsewhere, but they&rsquo;re just not as reliable.</p> <p><strong>6. If You Buy the Card in a Store, Get the Cashier to Double-Check the Balance</strong></p> <p>There is no shame in asking the cashier to give you a print out of exactly what is loaded onto the card at that time. You&rsquo;ll see the current balance instantly, and it will also protect you from another gift card scam, where thieves swap out worthless, used cards and pocket the ones ready to be loaded with money.</p> <p><strong>7. Get a Receipt, and Keep It With the Card</strong></p> <p>When we bought our home, our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-fire-your-real-estate-agent">real estate agent</a> gave us a Home Depot gift card, and he gave us the receipt to go with it, just in case. We were glad to have it. The gift recipient already knows the amount put on the card, so there is no reason not to hand it over with the gift card. It&rsquo;s just a little extra protection.</p> <h3>What If You&rsquo;re a Victim?</h3> <p>Sadly, there&rsquo;s not a lot you can do. Unlike credit and debit card fraud, there are few protections offered by the gift card issuers.&nbsp;If you lose your card, you can simply report it as lost or stolen, and the card will be voided. You will receive the remaining balance on another card. However, by the time you know your card has been compromised, the balance will most likely be $0. And there&rsquo;s not much you can do to reclaim that stolen money.</p> <p>If you have the receipt that came with the gift card, you may be able to get compensated for the loss. These days, many retailers can track the usage of a gift card, including where it was bought and where it was used. If you, or the person who bought it, picked the card up in Colorado, but it was used in New York, then that could be proof. Of course, people send gift cards all over the country, so it&rsquo;s not concrete evidence.</p> <p>Have you been the victim of a gift card thief? Let us know, and tell us how it happened. Remember, with every passing year thieves get more sophisticated, and that means you have to be more vigilant.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kmart-settles-refunds-gift-card-fees">Kmart settles: refunds gift-card fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-10-20-on-online-purchases-every-day">How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts">Why I Love Gift Cards: 5 Reasons Gift Cards Make Perfect Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-unwanted-gift-cards-into-cash">How to Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping gift cards holiday gifts scams Thu, 22 Dec 2011 11:36:10 +0000 Paul Michael 836080 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Love Gift Cards: 5 Reasons Gift Cards Make Perfect Holiday Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_with_gift_card2.jpg" alt="Man with gift card" title="Man with gift card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Gift cards tend to have a bad reputation, perhaps because the receiver thinks they are too impersonal. But I would much rather get a gift card (or cash) than something I can't use or clothing that doesn't fit. There's nothing worse than having to return a gift. Not only can it be a hassle, but it's also difficult to explain to your aunt why you aren't wearing that argyle sweater vest she gave you for Christmas.</p> <p>If you are looking for that perfect gift, here are a five reasons gift cards can make life easier for you and the person receiving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">5 Reasons Why You Should Give Kids Cash for the Holidays</a>)</p> <h3>1. Gift Cards Guarantee Gifts People Will Love</h3> <p>Whether you are buying a gift card from someone's favorite clothing store or giving free downloads from iTunes to the music lover in your life, gift cards guarantee that people will love what you give them. They have the freedom to pick out whatever they want, and you are relieved of the stress of finding something perfect for everyone. Gift cards are also ideal if you are buying for in-laws you don't know that well. Amazon sells everything from books to kitchen sinks, so purchasing gift cards from a general retailer will also help guarantee that there's something for everyone, even the picky people in your life.</p> <h3>2. They Save Money and Time</h3> <p>If you are purchasing gifts for a lot of people &mdash; a dozen or more nieces and nephews for instance &mdash; you can budget a dollar amount for each card. This also prevents arguments over which cousin got the better gift, because everyone gets the same amount of money. And it saves you the time shopping for each person. Plus, even if you get a gift receipt, returning gifts can be a headache, especially right after the holidays when customer service lines are backed up to the entrance of the store.</p> <h3>3. You Can Buy Gifts Without Leaving Home</h3> <p>You don't even have to leave your house to do your holiday shopping thanks to the convenience of the Internet. Most stores offer online gift cards, and you can personalize them with graphics and personal messages. A lot of retailers even have an option to email an electronic gift card to someone, which is convenient for you, and it helps the receiver keep track of the card. If you are one of those last-minute shoppers, you can send an e-gift card at any time, even on holidays when most stores are closed.</p> <h3>4. They Make Giving and Receiving More Fun</h3> <p>Personally, I don't shop for myself that much because I don't put aside a lot of money in my budget for it. But if someone gave me a gift card to my favorite kitchen store, I can think of nothing I'd like to do more than wander around looking at iron woks and sharpening stones. If you know the person well, you will know exactly the stores where they would most like to shop. There's also the option of giving movie gift cards, or buying a card from someone's favorite restaurant. It's always nice to know that you are giving something loved ones will enjoy picking out for themselves, and treating someone to dinner and a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free">movie</a> is always appreciated.</p> <h3>5. Gift Cards Can Be Practical</h3> <p>For practical people who never spend money on themselves, give them a gift card from a place where they can purchase something they need, or may not have the money for. I would gladly accept a $50 gift card for groceries, for instance. Don't forget pet owners could always use more cat litter or dog food. And for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life, money is always an option.</p> <p>Don't spend all your time waiting in lines and being choosy over gifts this holiday season. Save yourself the trouble and just go for the gift card. It will make everyone happy, including your wallet.</p> <p><em>How do you feel about gift cards? Are there other reasons you like giving them? Discuss in the comments section below.<br /> </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-gift-cards-5-reasons-gift-cards-make-perfect-holiday-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gifts-for-the-guy-who-has-everything">20 Gifts for the Guy Who Has Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christmas-gifts-for-teachers-10-great-possibilities">10 Great Gifts for Teachers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards">Inside the Shady World of Cheap iTunes Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping gift cards holiday gifts save time Wed, 14 Dec 2011 10:48:17 +0000 Ashley Watson 822782 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Holidays I'd Like to See http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-holidays-id-like-to-see <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-holidays-id-like-to-see" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012232049Small-2.jpg" alt="Woman with falling money" title="Woman with falling money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are far too many holidays in this day and age, if you ask me. National Lox and Bagels Day or Turkey Neck Soup Day are little more than reasons to boost the food industry, and they are not something that most of us celebrate with vigor. If you had me design next year&rsquo;s calendar, however, I would add a few holidays that would do quite a bit of good for the average consumer. Here are my proposed celebrations; feel free to add them into any day or month you choose.</p> <p><img height="351" width="605" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/gift_cards.jpg" /></p> <h3>Gift Card Balance Awareness Month</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re like most Americans, you have a drawer in your office with random gift cards &mdash; and possibly no clue as to the balance of each. It takes a bit of work, but you can call about each or check the balances online to see where you stand. Most major brand cards, like Starbucks, for example, can be combined into one gift card, making those small $1 or less balances useful again. Other cards, like those VISA or American Express gift cards, will need a bit more creative repurposing. (See also: <a title="How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a>)</p> <p><img height="454" width="605" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/thank%20you.jpg" /></p> <h3>Money Mentor Appreciation Week</h3> <p>Most of us can name one person, at least, who has influenced us in a positive regard to our finances. For me, it&rsquo;s my husband and this <a title="Five Financial Gurus You've Never Heard Of" href="http://financialhighway.com/5-financial-gurus-youve-never-heard-of/">list of five financial gurus you&rsquo;ve never heard of</a>. If you know a blogger, author, financial professional, or family member who has helped you take your finances by the reigns and get things right, it&rsquo;s time to say &ldquo;thanks.&rdquo; You can send a letter, shoot them an email, buy their new book, subscribe to their RSS feed, or even make a donation to their favorite charity or their non-profit organization. It&rsquo;s a fantastic way to show you how you feel!</p> <h3><img height="403" width="605" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/fed.jpg" /></h3> <h3>Fed Day</h3> <p>It could be argued that every day is fed day (it does, after all, seem like the controlling arm of so many things). I would like to approach the subject from the point of view of an American living in this somewhat complex economy, however. If you don&rsquo;t know your ins and outs of our Federal Reserve System, it&rsquo;s best to schedule a day (or week) this year to do so. Start out simply, with a reading from the <a title="Federal Reserve System" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_System">Wiki page</a>. Then graduate to commentary by political and economic analysts on both sides of the spectrum. You don&rsquo;t have to learn everything at first, but living in today&rsquo;s somewhat tumultuous times requires some knowledge of what&rsquo;s going on. It&rsquo;s best to set aside time to get ahead of the curve. (If you have kids, who likely aren&rsquo;t learning this in school, pull them in for some of the more basic principles.)</p> <p><img height="403" width="605" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/iou.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>National &quot;Give Back&quot; Month</h3> <p>No, this isn&rsquo;t a feel-good attempt at giving people a chance to contribute to charities. It is, however, a great excuse to pencil in a month on your calendar to pay back loans; give back borrowed CDs, movies, and lawn tools; and return any favors you swore you would grant. People are generally becoming less and less good about keeping their word. (This is evidenced by the rising number of mortgage defaults and bankruptcies, and general attitudes towards paying back debt.) If you can&rsquo;t pay it all back at one, work out a payment plan, consider counselling with a debt management service, or look into other ways to make good on your loan. We are as solid as our promises, after all. (Not sure you have what it takes to stare down tens of thousands of dollars in debt? Check out how <a href="http://financialhighway.com/i-paid-off-50000-in-credit-card-debt-and-you-can-too/">I paid off over $50,000 in credit card debt</a>.)</p> <p><img height="453" width="605" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/trash%20can.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h3>Check It or Chuck It Week</h3> <p>We all suffer from variations of a common disease known as &ldquo;too much stuff&rdquo; &mdash; except for a few of my nomadic or military friends. I have often wondered how much of my possessions I would miss in case of a natural disaster. As sad as this is, it is often just the process of deciding what to do with &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; that can be a burden. Do you keep it? Sell it? Give it away? What if you need it later? While it&rsquo;s silly to assume that you can go through your home, garage, and outdoor buildings in just one week, putting purpose to everything you own, picking just one room this week to purge of the excess is a great start. (Need tips for moving forward? How about starting with these <a title="Toss It or Not?" href="http://www.wisebread.com/toss-it-or-not-5-organizational-tips-from-a-chronic-clutter-bug">tips for clearing clutter</a> from a self-proclaimed clutter bug?) A decrease in clutter can save you money, free up some time, and give back much-needed mental and emotional clarity.</p> <p>Looking for some real holidays to boost your financial intelligence or savings potential? Why not check out <a title="Financial Literacy Month" href="http://www.financialliteracymonth.com/">Financial Literacy Month</a>, <a title="I Love Coupon Month" href="http://www.ilovecouponmonth.com/">National Coupon Month</a>, or even &ldquo;<a title="No Pants Day" href="http://www.nopantsday.com/wp/">No Pants Day</a>&rdquo; (which is coming up soon and can save you a little on the cost of getting your pants pressed)?</p> <p><em>What financial holidays would you like to be celebrated? Or do we just have enough to think about already?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-holidays-id-like-to-see">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/swipe-envy">Swipe envy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-savings-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Savings Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living decluttering Fed gift cards Holidays mentorship Wed, 04 May 2011 10:24:47 +0000 Linsey Knerl 535415 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-gift-card-166668354-small.jpg" alt="couple gift card" title="couple gift card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking in my wallet, there are no less than 5 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">prepaid debit</a> or gift cards hiding at any one time. While I seem to have no trouble using up store gift cards (Walmart or Amazon, for example), I just can&rsquo;t seem to rid my life of these nagging, tiny balances that make it inconvenient and a little embarrassing to shop. With some research and a lot of trial and error, I found some ways to get my money&rsquo;s worth out of these well-meaning assets &mdash; every last penny.</p> <p>First, I won&rsquo;t trouble you with advice on using store or retailer cards. I&rsquo;m sure you can figure out how to use the last $2 on your Starbucks card (if you haven&rsquo;t figured it out, just walk into any Starbucks. They&rsquo;ll apply whatever remaining balance you have to your next purchase. Or you can simply reload it.) While the strategy to using up remaining balances are similar, it&rsquo;s not always so clear cut. And let&rsquo;s face it, I&rsquo;m less likely to whip out my Visa with the $2.23 balance and buy anything at a store &mdash; especially since it may cost the retailer between $1.00 and $2.50 just to process it.</p> <h2>Know What Your Balances Are</h2> <p>This seems obvious, but there are times that I may have one or two cards floating at the bottom of my purse that I&rsquo;m not sure how much is left on them. While I prefer to use the web address printed on the back of each card to find the balance, some will only allow you to call an 800 number. Another thing to note is that in order to check your balance online, you may be required to register that card. The benefit to doing this is that your balance is stored online, and in case of a lost card, you can at least make purchases online with it &mdash; or possibly get a replacement. The drawback is that you may not want to keep the card forever (see tips below) and you don&rsquo;t want to register a card that someone else may try to register in the future.</p> <h2>Make Note of Your Balances</h2> <p>Again, simple idea here: Some of the newer gift cards have a little box on the back of the card that let you write in the amount you have left after each purchase. Others give you nothing, so I suggest wrapping a sticky note around it with the balance written on it. The next time you&rsquo;re waiting to check out, you can easily identify which card will have the balance closest to your purchase amount.</p> <h2>Analyze Your Spending Habits</h2> <p>I don&rsquo;t shop at some major stores &mdash; ever. It&rsquo;s not that I don&rsquo;t like them; I&rsquo;ve just found them to be too far away geographically, or out of my comfort zone. For this reason, I&rsquo;ve become very familiar with the stores I use most, and their policies for using prepaid gift cards. Walgreens, for example, has no issues about letting me pay for a purchase with multiple methods of payment. This makes my local Walgreens store a great way to &ldquo;ditch&rdquo; balances with little interruption to my shopping routine. If I&rsquo;m taking advantage of a <a href="http://wisebread.com/dealista-tip-getting-free-stuff-at-walgreens">Walgreens Register Rewards deal</a>, and want to buy several packages of diapers, I can just ask the cashier to apply $2.36 of my purchase to the gift card, then pay the remaining balance with my regular credit card or cash. Easy peasy. Other stores are really great about this too. (Just know what credit cards each store takes.)</p> <h2>Recycle Into Other Gift Cards</h2> <p>When researching ways to dump my gift cards, I ran into a lot of suggestions to convert them to Amazon gift cards. As an avid Amazon shopper, this idea really appealed to me. While the smallest gift card you can buy is $5, you don&rsquo;t have to buy in increments &mdash; so you can buy a gift card worth exactly $5.36 and have it sent to you via email the same day. You can then apply the gift card directly to your Amazon account balance, giving you an extra $5.36 of spending power the next time you shop. Some have reported this same kind of goodness with Walmart.com (which also allows you to buy iTunes gift cards and some restaurant cards like Chili&rsquo;s and Subway in select increments only).</p> <p>My personal experience with this method has been hit or miss. While the Amazon site doesn&rsquo;t mention anything about holding a particular amount of your gift card to ensure it&rsquo;s valid, it seems that this may be the case. Frequent purchasers of Amazon cards recommend holding back $1 of your balance in case of an &ldquo;authorization&rdquo; amount that will later be returned to your card balance. (Of course, who wants $1 left on their card?) Some have suggested immediately converting a $20 prepaid card into one $10 Amazon gift code, waiting until the purchase clears and the $1 authorization amount is credited back, and then buying another $10 code. (Apparently, the $1 authorization is only applied the first time you use a particular card.)</p> <h2>Be Kind</h2> <p>Perhaps the easiest way to use up gift card balances is to pass them on to others. It&rsquo;s kind of like dumping your problems on other people, except there&rsquo;s free money involved. If you don&rsquo;t want to deal with a $3.56 gift card balance, I&rsquo;m sure there&rsquo;s someone who would love to. Examples of places that will usually not turn down cards include local women&rsquo;s shelters and some churches. Be sure that you are upfront with the amount on the card, the date the balance must be used by (if any), and any fees that may be charged as a result of purchase.&nbsp;</p> <p>One way I&rsquo;ve recently used a $10 gift card to a store that closed in my area (so I couldn&rsquo;t use it) was as a &ldquo;bonus&rdquo; tip for a server at a restaurant. I wouldn&rsquo;t recommend substituting your cash tip for a gift card tip unless it&rsquo;s of such a generous portion that the inconvenience of using it is outweighed by the value, but &ldquo;bonusing&rdquo; on top of the cash tip probably would be well appreciated!</p> <h2>Cash Out</h2> <p>There are a few scattered reports of banks that will cash out any amount of gift card, provided you are a customer and show proper I.D (names mentioned included Chase). There may or may not be a fee attached. Also, residents of <a href="http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/s-11.shtml">California</a> can legally cash out any gift card with a balance of less than $10. See your state&rsquo;s Department of Consumer Affairs website to see if similar legislation has been passed in your area.</p> <h2>Sell, Trade, Recharge, or Regift</h2> <p>There are many people who try to sell their unused gift cards on Ebay. This may work for larger cards, but it&rsquo;s still a hassle. I&rsquo;d much rather make it work some other way. Also, sites that allow you to trade unused gift cards are becoming popular &mdash; but again, I don&rsquo;t want to have to mess with mailing addresses and postage for a tiny balance. There is still the possibility of &ldquo;reloading&rdquo; a card, if it&rsquo;s allowed (some cards aren&rsquo;t made for this).</p> <p>Maybe you could regift a card that had its original balance on it? (Giving a $5 balance on a clearly branded $25 card, for example, seems a bit tacky.) Any other ideas?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping debit cards gift cards prepaid cards unused balance Mon, 22 Mar 2010 14:00:01 +0000 Linsey Knerl 5952 at http://www.wisebread.com Ways to Make Extra Money: Share Your Tip to Win $10 http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong><i>What&rsquo;s a great way to make extra money?</i></strong></p> <p>We have our own favorite ways, but what would you recommend?</p> <p>We&rsquo;ve written on this topic a fair bit in the past, suggesting anything from <a href="../../../../../../8-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">mystery shopping</a> to <a href="../../../../../../the-business-of-ebay">selling things on Ebay</a> to having a <a href="../../../../../../easy-weekend-business-sell-used-books">used book business</a>.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We know that your tips will come largely from your experience, so tell us what&rsquo;s worked for you!<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Are you doing something unique to get by?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Have you found a simple way to scrape up a few bucks during difficult time?</p> <p>Share your money-making strategies, and be entered to win one of two $10 Amazon gift certificates.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The winning answers will be read live on <a href="http://www.blogtalkradio.com/WiseBread/2009/06/04/We-talk-the-Recession-with-Recessionwirecom">Wednesday&rsquo;s<i style=""> Living Large on a Small Budget</i> Blog Talk Radio Show</a>!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate</h2> <p>We're doing two giveaways -- one $10 Amazon gift certificate for a random comment, and another one for a random <a href="http://www.twitter.com/">tweet</a>.</p> <h3>How to Enter:</h3> <ol type="1" start="1"> <li style="" class="MsoNormal">Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li style="" class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer.&nbsp; Include &quot;<a title=" @wisebread #moneytippers" href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread</a>&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ol> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <p>At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.</p> <h3>Giveaway Rules:</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li style="" class="MsoNormal">Contest ends Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:59pm CST. Winners will be announced June 3<sup>rd</sup> between 8:00 &ndash; 9:00 pm CST during our live Blog Talk Radio broadcast, and will be contacted at the conclusion of the broadcast (or you can call in live to claim your prize!)</li> <li style="" class="MsoNormal">You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.</li> <li style="" class="MsoNormal">Only tweets with &quot;@wisebread&quot; will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;Good luck!<br /> </o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>*UPDATE:&nbsp; We have our winners!</strong></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: bold;"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1244497252_2">Twitter</span> winner:</span></p> <p><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/timeiscoffee"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1244497252_3">timeiscoffee</span></a>: <span><a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://twitter.com/wisebread"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1244497252_4">@wisebread</span></a> I do tech support for friends and get a lunch or a dinner out of it! Its not technically money but its still saving money!<br /> <br style="font-weight: bold;" /><br /> <span style="font-weight: bold;">Blog Post winner:<br /> </span><br /> <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="../../../../../../ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10#comment-300923"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1244497252_5">http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10#comment-300923</span></a>&nbsp; (comment 56 by simplysarah)</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <div class="content"> <p>&quot;I work in a university town where there are several teaching hospitals and research institutes. They offer many clinical studies (some involving medications, some just for observation). My friend did one (while she was unemployed) that involved her staying in a clinic for two weeks. They fed her and she watched tv and every four hours they would take a small sample of blood. At the end of two weeks she received $6000!</p> <p>In addition, the hospital connected to my work has a blood service where they take blood for research purposes and they pay up to $100 for each donation (depends on amount). This is less time consuming than plasma donation and as far as I know doesn't keep you from donating plasma.</p> <p>The next one is probably a more rare opportunity but I will most likely be doing this over the summer. I have had fire extinguisher training and will be able to make $50 for two hours being a &quot;safety&quot; during a fire performance act at a local amusement park.</p> <p>Another one, I take advantage of the tuition reimbursement at my work. They reimburse $2500 a year and also pay for books (which I sell at the end of the class if I won't need them). I finished my BA degree last year but now I have moved on to certificate programs, all on their dime. I am currently working on my copyediting certificate and a graphic design certificate. I am developing new skills which could result in a higher paycheck later and I can also do freelance work on the side (I've already done a few small copyediting jobs).&quot;</p> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-our-reader-survey-for-a-chance-to-win-one-of-five-amazon-gift-cards">Take Our Reader Survey for a Chance to Win One of Five Amazon Gift Cards!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hp-giving-away-500-to-a-lucky-wise-bread-reader">HP Giving Away $500 to a Lucky Wise Bread Reader</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways freebies gift cards make extra money Tue, 02 Jun 2009 14:15:41 +0000 Linsey Knerl 3222 at http://www.wisebread.com Inside the Shady World of Cheap iTunes Gift Cards http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4811696998_958d31a9fd_z.jpg" alt="iTunes gift card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It all started so innocently: I recently purchased an iPod Nano as a Christmas present, and also wanted to include the gift of music. A casual search on <a title="eBay" href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/ebay">eBay</a> led to attention-alarming auctions shouting at me, tantalizing me with <strong>the possibility of getting iTunes gift cards for <em>CHEAP!&nbsp;</em></strong> How cheap? Apparently, if I shelled out US $5-8, I could get a &quot;guide&quot; with info telling me where to purchase these cards for up to &quot;80% Off!!&quot;, one listing yelled. Yet another auction cautioned me while hawking its own ware, &quot;How to NOT get scammed w itunes gift card code auctions.&quot; What was going on here? (See also: <a title="How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a>)</p> <p>I had to admit, the in-your-face attitude and numerous typographical errors turned me off &mdash; and I'm <em>too</em> thrifty to plunk down a few bucks to be told what URL to type in. (Nevermind the fact that some of these discount cards are listed on eBay&hellip;duh, how obvious.) So I did the most natural next thing: a Google search, and soon dove deeper into the dubiousness.</p> <p>Several minutes later, I collected numerous pages pointing to <a title="iOffer" href="http://www.ioffer.com"><strong>iOffer</strong></a>, sort of like eBay, but a rockier road in terms of usability. <strong>Searching for &quot;itunes 200&quot; yielded numerous matches for $200 gift cards as low as $38.</strong> Alas, that seller was on vacation, so I had to settle for a $47 one. I placed an offer and watched the screen anxiously, refreshing the page and also checking my email. I noticed this seller was quite an inconsistent replier, attending to the newest offers bidding on his quantity of 50+ cards while not getting to first-come offers until much later. At last, I was served up an invoice, and PayPal'ed it through. A few minutes later, I received an email with the code. Terse, cryptic, and from a Chinese email address, it read:</p> <blockquote><p>Hi , here is the code .<br /> $200<br /> [CODE REMOVED]<br /> pls use it asap.<br /> and pls leave me a feedback.<br /> thanks!</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Too good to be true?</em> I pondered. Why the urgency to use it? Only one way to find out. After I refreshed the page again and noticed the hotbed of activity piling up, I mused &quot;They must really want their music!&quot; and booted up the iTunes Store myself. I plunked in the code, and without hesitation, it was credited. My account balance now stood at $200.00, and as any music fan would naturally do, I began snapping up tracks.</p> <p><strong>But is there a darker side to this? Some would say yes.</strong> Feeling ethically conflicted, my curiosity got the better of me and I dug deeper. More info-nuggets were just a google away, such as:</p> <ul> <li><a title="iTunes gift certificates" href="http://reviews.ebay.com/US-iTunes-gift-certificates-bought-with-stolen-cards_W0QQugidZ10000000006868109"><strong>US iTunes gift certificates bought with stolen cards</strong></a></li> <li><a title="iTunes gift cards 40% off" href="http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=6469109&amp;postcount=89"><strong>People on Ebay are selling itunes gift cards for %40 off?</strong></a> &mdash; Interesting behind-the-scenes report.</li> </ul> <p>For a brief moment, my pupils dilated as wide as <a title="Dramatic Lemur" href="http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1799458">Dramatic Lemur's</a>. Was I now linked to criminal activity? I don't want to be a knowing participant in the cycle of identity theft and fraud. Alas, it's hard to say.</p> <p>I contacted over a dozen of these gift card bulk sellers. A few replied with unhelpful or cryptic answers. I chalked part of it up to their non-native English (a disproportionate amount claim to be Chinese or Eastern European), and the other part up to wanting to keep a tight lid on their profitable secrets. The most &quot;comprehensive&quot; response I got, after asking <strong>&quot;How did you get such a great deal on these iTunes gift cards?&quot;</strong>&nbsp;was:</p> <blockquote><p>Hi, I bought it from my friend . hehe<br /> its price is realy low .<br /> if you like, you can buy from me and then selll it on ebay.<br /> I saw they sell about $100 for $200 card on ebay<br /> hehe<br /> thanks!</p> </blockquote> <p>No shortage of &quot;hehe&quot; in the responses I received, that's for sure. Like the myths behind <a title="gold farming" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_farming">virtual gold farming</a>, they add color to the tales, but that's where my trail went cold. <strong>Wherever there's riches, you can count on not just greed to be present, but bizarre human behavior.</strong></p> <p>Returning to eBay, I scoured around some more. I rummaged through the gift card auctions, and was hard-pressed to find any as popular or as below-expected-price as iTunes. I even found some big names that went substantially <em>above</em> their value, like <a title="eBay winning bid" href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=250346986547">this $530 winning bid on a $500 Amazon.com gift card</a>. (What's the point?) But <strong>iTunes ones can be consistently, suspiciously found for much lower</strong>. Since the majority of these sales are digital codes, not actual cards (as one seller made sure to remind me he couldn't send the card), a physical object isn't necessary to use them. Which makes them harder to trace.</p> <p>What's Apple's gospel word on this? None. <a title="Apple Gift Card FAQ" href="http://www.apple.com/support/itunes/store/giftcard/"><strong>Apple's Gift Card FAQ</strong></a><strong> says nothing about the matter yet, but it's been </strong><a href="http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?threadID=1000154506&amp;tstart=0&amp;mod=1227979752904"><strong>happening for years</strong></a><strong>.</strong> This has been bubbling beneath the surface and hasn't gotten broader attention. There's been articles about <a title="iTunes phishing" href="http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&amp;articleId=9087358">iTunes phishing</a>, but that's not the same as the underground gift card/code phenomenon.</p> <p>This is especially ambiguous because we can't rule out that there <em>is</em> a legit channel for these cards, or that they're so affordable for another, non-criminal reason which isn't understood by all parties involved. True, the factors I mentioned above make them look very <em>shady</em>. And even if you don't have a tight budget which strangles luxuries like music, the goal is always to buy low&hellip;so how low is too low? Branding someone as a crook just because they don't speak fluent English is unfair, considering that they may've genuinely gotten the codes from an associate and are genuinely unaware if it's unlawful. I'll understand if Apple gets in touch with me about my account, as they apparently have with some others, and in the meantime, I'll continue to use my store credit &mdash; and ethically, look for better ways to <strong>reward the artists directly</strong>. (Which is a discussion for another time.)</p> <p>The moral of the story: from &quot;it fell off the back of a truck&quot; to gift codes in cyberspace, there can be <strong>more than meets the eye when it comes to an unbelievable deal</strong>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay">7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted">Can cheap AppleCare on eBay be trusted?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price">Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping eBay gift cards ITunes music Tue, 06 Jan 2009 17:04:08 +0000 Torley Wong 2682 at http://www.wisebread.com Marshalls giving away $250 giftcards to 3 lucky Wise Bread readers http://www.wisebread.com/marshalls-giving-away-250-giftcards-to-3-lucky-wise-bread-readers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/marshalls-giving-away-250-giftcards-to-3-lucky-wise-bread-readers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/marshalls_shoes.png" alt="Marshalls shoes" title="Marshalls shoes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="203" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marshalls is giving away $250 gift cards to 3 of our lucky readers!</p> <p><strong>How to participate</strong> </p> <p>Post a comment on any of of these three threads in the forum:  </p> <ul> <li><a href="/forums/frugal-living/win-250-giftcard-what-your-favorite-stores-bargain-shopping-2779.html">What are your favorite stores for bargain shopping?</a> </li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/forums/deals-coupons/win-250-giftcard-what-best-buys-bargain-stores-like-marshalls-2780.html#post20338">What are the best buys at bargain stores like Marshalls/TJ Maxx?</a> </li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="/forums/general-discussion/win-250-giftcard-what-your-favorite-article-clothing-2781.html#post20339">What is your favorite article of clothing (shirt, shoes, earrings, etc)? </a> </li> </ul> <p>We&#39;ll randomly pick one winner from each thread on 9/15/08.  You must be a US resident and be 18 or over.  Yes, you can post in all thre threads if you want!  But you can only win once.</p> <div align="center"> <p><a href="http://www.marshalls.com"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/marshalls_logo.png" alt="Marshalls" title="Marshalls" width="172" height="42" /></a> </p> </div> <p><strong>What&#39;s new at Marshalls</strong></p> <p>Marshalls has opened up two new sections within some of their select stores: <strong><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/cube.asp">The CUBE</a></strong> and the <strong><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/megashoe.asp">Shoe Megashop</a></strong>.  Here&#39;s what Marshalls have to say about their new sections:</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/cube.asp">The CUBE</a></strong></p> <p>The CUBE is an in-store boutique with a collection of young, contemporary fashion.</p> <ul> <li>The CUBE provides a wide selection of current styles and hot brands </li> </ul> <ul> <li>The CUBE has all the fashion that you want in a cool, boutique-like atmosphere that is easy and fun to shop.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The CUBEhas more than just clothes… it’s all of your favorite shoes, bags, sunglasses and accessories taken from different parts of the store so you can shop for everything you love all at once.</li> </ul> <div align="center"> <p><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/cube.asp"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/the_cube.png" alt="marshalls the cube" title="marshalls the cube" width="400" height="239" /></a> </p> </div> <p> <p>Here&#39;s a rave from <a href="http://thedomesticdiva.org/blog/2008/07/31/marshalls-amazing-cube-boutique/">The Domestic Diva</a>: </p> <blockquote><p>I’m telling you, this Cube idea is awesome! .... If you are like me, you don’t want to spend big bucks on a fad that will be history next year, so that is why I shop at discounted stores like Marshall’s. Now all of those hot fads will be located in the cube, which is a section of Marshall’s dedicated to all of the top fashions that way you will have an easier time finding exactly what you are looking for. </p> </blockquote> <div align="center"> <p><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/megashoe.asp"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/marshalls_shoes.png" alt="marshalls shoe megashop" title="marshalls shoe megashop" width="346" height="281" /></a> </p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/megashoe.asp">Shoe Megashop </a></strong> </p> <p>You&#39;ll get top label selection, twice as many shoes as before, and a whiole new layout.  Of course, the most important thing to remember about Marshalls is that they sell brand name merchandise at up to 60% off department store prices. </p> <div align="center"> <p><a href="http://www.marshallsonline.com/megashoe.asp"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/blue_banner.png" alt="marshalls mega shoes giveaway" title="marshalls mega shoes giveaway" width="230" height="157" /></a> </p> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marshalls-giving-away-250-giftcards-to-3-lucky-wise-bread-readers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">How to Use Up Remaining Balances on Prepaid Gift Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gift-card-scam-of-2011-don-t-be-a-victim">The Gift Card Scam of 2011: Don’t Be a Victim</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-more-for-faster-shipping">Is it worth paying more for faster shipping?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kmart-settles-refunds-gift-card-fees">Kmart settles: refunds gift-card fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cool-funky-things-i-found-free-on-craigslist">Cool &amp; funky things I found FREE on Craigslist</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping free gift cards marshalls Fri, 15 Aug 2008 22:32:32 +0000 Will Chen 2334 at http://www.wisebread.com What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards? http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/giftcards.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In my house we try to spend gift cards as soon as possible because the longer they are held the less purchasing power they have. Sometimes there are just cards you are not interested in using and they may sit in your pocket for years. Here are some ideas for getting rid of these gift cards without wasting them.</p> <p><strong>1. Regift them</strong> - My husband comes from a very large family and there is always a birthday just around the corner. Sometimes we do regift gift cards that we receive from other people. There is nothing wrong with regifting as long as you repackage the gift card with an envelope or card for the new recipient. If you have an unusually large gift card you do not want it is also possible to ask the store to split it into several cards and give them to multiple people. Another way of regifting a gift card is to buy a gift with the card and then giving the gift away. Either way, you are reusing a gift.</p> <p><strong>2. Sell or trade them online </strong>- There are many gift card specific barter sites where you can sell, trade, or buy gift cards. Some of the popular sites include <a href="http://swapagift.com/" target="_blank">swapagift.com</a> , <a href="http://cardavenue.com">Cardavenue</a> , and <a href="http://plasticjungle.com">Plastic Jungle</a> . On these sites you can buy gift cards at a discount for free. Usually to sell or trade cards you need to pay a fee or take a discount to the value of the card. For example, on swapagift you can sell your cards from 60% to 70% of your value, and on Cardavenue you can list your card for auction and CardVenue charges a 3.95% transaction fee plus a 50 cent closing fee. These sites are generally better if you want to buy a card because you can get a discount and they do provide the valuable service of verifying that the card you are trading for is real. You can also sell or trade your cards on forums like <a href="http://www.giftcardcove.com/" target="_blank">Gift Card Cove</a> or <a href="http://craigslist.org">craigslist</a> where there are no transaction fees, but the transactions are more peer to peer and there are no verifications that the cards actually exist.</p> <p><strong>3. Donate them</strong> - Many charitable organizations such as the <a href="http://donate.wish.org/donate/spree" target="_blank">Make a Wish Foundation </a> accept gift cards as donations. There are also sites where you can choose a variety of charities to send your gift, but many of these sites are not non-profits themselves so you may not receive a tax deduction. I suggest that you find a charity that would accept gift cards directly so that you may deduct the whole value of the card on your taxes.</p> <p><strong>4. Cash out small amounts at the retailer (if available)</strong> - A new California law allows consumers to redeem gift cards for cash if the balance is less than $10. So if you are a Californian resident or if you are just visiting you can go to a store where you hold a gift card with a small amount and redeem it for cash. I have found that before the law existed I was able to get cash back when I asked nicely. In one situation the whole gift card amount was applied and I received $2 or so back in change. This is rare, but possible.</p> <p>The key is that you should not let a gift card sit idle for long because its value diminishes as time passes. It is easy to forget about the cards and lose them forever, and that is wasted money. In many states gift cards incur maintenance fees and even expire so it is best to deal with them as soon as you receive them. Since there are so many unwanted and unloved gift cards out there, I feel that cash is really the best gift. It is so much simpler to use and give cash, and cash is often more appreciated than a colorful gift card!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance General Tips Lifestyle Shopping gift cards Sat, 16 Feb 2008 09:01:04 +0000 Xin Lu 1808 at http://www.wisebread.com Swipe envy http://www.wisebread.com/swipe-envy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/swipe-envy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paid-value-card-poster.jpg" alt="Poster that says, &quot;Bad Credit? No Credit? Pay now so you can eat later&quot; with a picture of a paid-value card" title="Fast Food Poster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="270" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All the cool kids have credit cards. What if you don&#39;t? What if you are so young, so poor, so uncool that you can&#39;t get one? Do you have to stoop to paying for your food with actual money? Not any more! These guys have the cure for swipe envy!</p> <p>Look at the poster in the picture. This fast food company (name slightly obscured) is marketing their paid-value card to people who can&#39;t get a credit card, but wish they had one <strong>so bad</strong> that they&#39;ll settle for a paid-value card that kinda looks like a credit card.</p> <p>Of course, I understand the attraction <em>to the merchant</em> of a paid-value card. They&#39;ve already got your money, so they&#39;re pretty sure you&#39;re going to buy stuff from them. (And, if you don&#39;t, that&#39;s okay too--see above where they&#39;ve already got your money.)</p> <p>From the point of view of the purchaser, a paid-value card is a dead loser:</p> <ul> <li>You take perfectly good money that you can spend anywhere, and turn it into non-money that you can only spend at one place.</li> <li>You miss out on the chance to earn interest until you spend it.</li> <li>Most paid value cards charge &quot;inactivity&quot; fees (and other fees) to make it easy for them to keep the money that you&#39;ve given them without having to provide any goods or services.</li> <li>You have no protection in the event the company declares bankruptcy (or, for that matter, in the event the company just decides that they&#39;d rather keep your money and not give you anything).</li> </ul> <p>Now, the disadvantages of a paid-value card are pretty obvious. The <strong>only</strong> reason I can imagine wanting to get one is if I was paying for someone else&#39;s food, and worried that if I provided cash, the guy would blow it all on something like bus fare or laundry. (Of course, it doesn&#39;t really work even for that. The guy who would really rather spend the money on something frivolous like textbooks can always find someone who wants food to buy the paid-value card, perhaps at a small discount.)</p> <p>I feel sorry for the guy who&#39;s so ashamed of not having a credit card that he&#39;d fall for a marketing ploy like this. It also offends me to see companies behave this way--I couldn&#39;t patronize a company that ran an ad like this. I expect, though, as the credit squeeze makes credit a lot harder to come by (not just mortgages), we&#39;ll see more and more ads like this, marketing to the folks with swipe envy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/swipe-envy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-holidays-id-like-to-see">5 Financial Holidays I&#039;d Like to See</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-donate-a-blood-sucking-timeshare">Why You Should Donate a Blood Sucking Timeshare</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living cards credit card gift cards paid-value cards Sun, 23 Dec 2007 20:37:53 +0000 Philip Brewer 1533 at http://www.wisebread.com