One of the many ways that my husband and I stretch our budget is through purchasing gift cards for places we are already going or things we plan on buying. We buy the gift cards in advance to earn the incentive and then make our planned purchase. So what do I mean by this and how can you do it? Let me explain.

Gift cards are readily available almost everywhere you go these days. You can even find a lot of online only gift cards for many different retailers. I use gift cards for so many things to save us money every week. Most of these gift cards are earned through various frugal practices as I have outlined below.

Where can you buy gift cards that can help you save more money?

  • Watch your local stores for various deals offered with the purchase of select gift cards. Many grocery stores such as Kroger, Meijer, Giant Eagle, etc. offer great discounts when purchasing gift cards. Such as money off of gas or money back on groceries. Verify with your local stores what sort of incentives are available when purchasing gift cards. Some may require coupons or loading a deal using their coupon app so find out in advance what the requirements are and any restrictions.
  • Gas stations such as our favorite speedway gas station often offers points towards free products or money of gasoline for purchasing gift cards. In fact speedway even has a rewards program that can earn you free gift cards after you accrue so many points on your rewards card.
  • Costco and Sam’s club offer select gift cards at discounted rates. Check your local stores to see what is available. Our local Costco typically offers $100 gift cards for select restaurants or retailers for $79.99. They also offer discounted movie tickets at our Costco saving you off the cost of your next trip to the movie theatre. This can save you a lot over time on places you already frequent or on gift purchases for others.

Where can you earn free gift cards?

If you have never tried any of these ways to earn free gift cards I highly recommend them. My suggestion is to pick one or two to focus on at first until you get the hang of the new app or website.

  • Mypoints is one of my favorite websites to earn free gift cards. They offer gift cards for clicking through to websites through their emails, surveys, activities, games played, printable grocery coupons and purchases made through select retailers.
  • Swagbucks is very similar to mypoints offering gift cards for surveys, activities, games played, searching the Internet, printable grocery coupons and purchases made through select retailers.
  • Many online survey websites will pay you in gift cards or PayPal cash for participating in their market research surveys and projects. Some that I use and love are opinion outpost, survey spot, inspired opinions, Harris poll. You can check many of these out here
  • Microsoft rewards program is another easy way to earn rewards points redeemable for gift cards. You can earn these in various ways described on the website here.
  • Ibotta is a grocery app that I use frequently. I love the ease of taking a simple picture of my receipt and earning either PayPal cash or gift cards back for future purchases on items I was already buying. They also frequently offer free products on the app in the form of a rebate for the full amount. Look for these great offers occasional to really help stretch your grocery budget.
  • Certain pharmacies offer specials periodically that allow you to transfer or purchase a new prescription and get a gift card to use on future store purchases. If you already have prescriptions to be filled or fill one monthly this is an easy way to get a gift card to stretch your budget. I have seen Meijer, Kroger, Target, Rite Aid, CVS & Walgreens all offer these incentives from time to time. Be sure to read the fine print on the offers and follow the instructions.
  • Shopkick is an app that you can simply walk into stores and either score points for walk ins or earn points through scanning products throughout the store. You can also link a card you make purchases with or scan receipts to earn points on purchases in these stores.

So next time you decide to make a big purchase, go out to the movies or eat dinner out, remember to consider in advance where you could purchase a gift card that would help you earn incentives. Those incentives may be cash back, gift cards for future grocery purchases or money off your next gasoline fill up. Anyway you look at it this is still a far better deal than simply making the purchase the way you always do. You may even be able to purchase the gift cards using a rewards credit card and earn rewards in two ways. I always caution against the use of credit cards however even to earn rewards unless you can pay them off immediately. Don’t cost yourself more in interest just to save a few bucks today.