Try these tips for for some super savings this holiday season.
Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I thought you might like a window into how I go about getting a deal. In our local Kroger-owned supermarket, I saw that until December 13, certain gift cards were $10 off when you purchased $100. Later that day, I remembered that I was going to get a Barnes and Noble gift card for a class gift for my daughter's fifth grade teacher. I went online and saw that Barnes and Noble was giving an extra $10 certificate if you bought $100 worth of gift cards online. Okay, now this was getting interesting ... I would spend $90 and get a $100 gift card. I would use the $100 gift card to buy another $100 gift card online and get an extra $10 certificate. So I would be spending $90 and getting $110 in certificates.
I searched cash back for Barnes and Noble and found that Bing was giving 14% cashback for that site. Coupons void their cash back, but I wasn't using any -- the Barnes and Noble deal was an advertised special on the website. So, if I went through Bing to get to Barnes and Noble, I would get $14 back if I bought a $100 gift card. So now, my $110 in gift certificates was only costing $76! If I'm using the cards myself later, of course I am looking for items that are on sale, am using a printable coupon or an online coupon code.
I have to make sure the Barnes and Noble card is included in the Kroger deal, and that I can get Bing cashback for gift cards, but that's the general idea. I know that Applebee's and Bath and Body Works cards are also included in the Kroger deal. If I buy a $100 Applebee's card for $90, I can go to Applebee's and use that card to buy two $50 cards and get an extra $10 card for each $50 purchased, which is their current holiday promotion. You can use gift cards to buy other gift cards -- they are just like cash. You may not be able to use a merchandise credit to by gift cards, though -- that is at the store's discretion. So for spending $90, I'm getting $120 in gift cards.
For Bath and Body Works, there are currently a number of coupons that are good both online and in stores (search Bath and Body Works coupons on Google). Twenty percent off total purchase, free travel lotion and one free product up to $10 all came up. You may be able to use more than one per transaction, making those gift cards stretch pretty far. Also, I just found out that Coors is offering $10 mail-in rebate on $100 worth of gift cards (I'm not sure why since no Coors purchase is required ...) so that makes the deal even sweeter. You don't have to go through all these hoops yourself, but even a minimal research and effort can yield great savings and during these tough times, we all need to stretch our dollars.
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!