Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stretch Your Wallet Further With Raise

In addition to using coupon codes and taking advantage of sales, another strategy for stretching your shopping dollar is buying discounted gift cards through re-sellers, such as Raise.  Raise is a platform for buying and selling used or unused gift cards that the original recipient no longer wants.  A "used gift card" will have a portion of the original value, say $25 left from an original $100 gift card.  An "unused gift card" has the full value of what was originally on the card that was not partially spent. Think of it as re-gifting, but of the gift card sort.
619904_Raise Logo 120 x 60
Raise works like an auction, but with fixed prices.  Customers post the physical or virtual gift card (or e-gift card) that they are trying to sell and the discount they are offering.  A physical card is the actual plastic card you typically see, while an e-gift card is simply the long string of numbers and a pin code which is the same format as a physical gift card.  Typical discounts are 5-10%, depending on the retailer.  For some higher-end or more popular stores, such as Target, they are less.  Less known, less popular retailers can go much higher than 10%.

Depending on if you are ordering a physical gift card or an e-gift card, you can have your gift card within a few days or even minutes.  That can come in handy when you see a deal you want to pounce on quickly.

A great use for Raise is to buy gift cards for purchases you were already going to make, since shopping for things you don't need is a waste otherwise.  An example is Starbucks, and since I have a bad coffee habit, will use Raise to buy Starbucks gift cards and then add them to my existing stash by combining their balances.  The result is that I will be able to shave a few bucks off of typical purchashes of ground coffee, for just a few minutes of effort.  Over time, you start to save considerable money.

Bottom line: before making purchases at your favorite stores, see if you can get a discounted gift card first.  You might be able to save money that you didn't think was possible when coupons don't exist.