I prefer shopping tips that let you save money on stuff you’d already buy anyway. Raise.com lets you buy and sell gift cards online, and according to them they are the largest online marketplace for gift cards (plus they’ve raised $25M in venture capital).
Raise just launched their new iPhone app (currently no Android app), and you can tell they put some thought into it with little things like scanning your credit card number via smartphone camera and storing all your past gift cards in their “wallet”. This app makes it even easier to buy a discounted gift card after you’ve already decided what to buy and are on the way to the register. Store your credit card info ahead of time, buy a discounted card for 5 to 10% off, and use up the gift card a minute later. Why wait for shipping? Definitely worth keeping on your phone, if only for big $100+ purchases.
Always check the gift card to make sure it will be delivered electronically. The fine print states that eGift cards will be delivered “within 1 hour” but they’ve always arrived within a minute for me. Even their press release states “A user standing in line for coffee, for instance, could quickly find and buy a corresponding gift card and redeem it at the store counter, pocketing instant savings.”
Raise also guarantees that the gift card you purchase will have the correct value upon redemption. The only “catch” is that you must tell them within 60 days of purchase. I wouldn’t recommend waiting nearly that long with any used gift card, as at least one other person has the code.
Their current promotion is new customers can get $5 off $60 using code RAISE60AF. Yes, you can use promo codes in the Raise app. Inventory is constantly changing, but I just found a Home Depot gift for $61.76 (face value $65.01). After the $5 off coupon, that would be $57.76 or 12.7% off face value.