DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – You hear of lots of ways to save money especially this time of year. Some work. Some don’t.
But we watched Plano mom, Dayna Farris, turn $132 into $150 in a matter of minutes.
“This is free money!” Farris said.
It worked. It was easy. And, she did it in about three clicks of a button.
Farris has the mastered the game of buying full priced gift cards at discounted prices on line.
She very rarely pays full price for groceries, pet food, restaurants, airline travel or holiday gifts.
She’s traveling US Airways next month so she has been waiting for a gift card to pop up for the airlines.
On the day we are shopping with her, it happens. She rushes to purchase a $100 gift card for $96.
“I’m buying this card now. They are very hard to come by and I know I’m going to spend the money,” said Farris.
She says airline gift cards pop up frequently. American Airlines cards are even cheaper right now. Farris says she has seen them at nine-percent off. She says she also finds Dallas-based Southwest Airlines gift cards.
Before she checks out, Farris decides to buy some teacher gifts for her children to give. She buys a $50 Starbucks card for $46. The sites gives her a $10 discount for buying more than one card. So, she checks out and pays $132 dollars for $150 dollars worth of cards.
“You’re going to be spending money anyway. Why not save the three, five, or 10-percent, because ultimately over the course of a year, all those percents add up?”
Farris has been shopping coupontrade.com, abcgiftcards.com, and cardpool.com for more than a year now. She estimates she’s saved more than $2000 buying cards to purchase items she would be buying anyway.
Farris has bought $100 Macy’s cards for $90. She’s paid $46 for a $50 Cheesecake Factory card. She buys cards for seven-percent off their face values at Toys R Us. And, she says she always saves five-precent on her groceries at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. She’s acquired a large stack of those cards that she carries with her for every grocery run.
The savings can be even bigger. While we’re shopping with Farris at her favorite sites, she calls a $100 Fearing’s Restaurant gift card for $80 the “deal of the day.”
“That’s 20-percent off at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, “ said Farris.
Gibson Bar & Steakhouse has the biggest discount at 34-percent less than the face value. It’s closely followed by cards at J. Jill’s Clothing for up to 26-percent off. Farris warns us this could all change in a matter of minutes. The cards are bought quickly.
Brad Wasz runs coupontrade.com. He describes his company as a marketplace for consumers to trade their cards with each other.
“It’s obviously our busy shopping season,” said Wasz.
Wasz says his sites offer fraud protection and a money back guarantee.
Farris has experienced a problem with a Subway card that did not work. Wasz’ company not only refunded her money but gave her an additional discount towards future purchases.
“Another thing that sets us apart from a site like Ebay is we also have on line coupon codes for our customers and members so you can buy a discount card and then also use an electronic coupon code at say, macys.com, to get an additional 15-percent off your order,” Wasz explained.
After the holidays, if you have some unwanted gift cards around the house, Wasz says you should turn them into cash. You can sell your cards on the site as well. You set the price. Coupontrade.com takes a percentage of the sell. And, the company pays for shipping the card.
Many of the sites also offer special bulk discounts for buying more than one card.
Farris says it’s a great way to buy gifts now and save big year-round.
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