Free gift cards are a great way to treat yourself without tapping into your budget. They are surprisingly easy to come by if you know where to look.
Another great trick to have up your sleeve is using discounted gift cards. They can make a practical gift or you can use them to get a discount on items you were planning to buy.
But where can you get discounted or free gift cards? Here are our best tips and tricks to show you how to get free and discounted gift cards.
How To Get Free Gift Cards Online Without Completing Offers
There are many ways to get free gift cards, but some of them require going through a shopping portal or earning cash back. If you don’t want to spend money, it’s more difficult to get free gift cards, but it’s not impossible.
These ideas will work for some people and not for others. Where you live will impact your ability to get free gift cards. For example, surveys may only be available to U.S. residents.
Here are the best ways to get free gift cards without completing offers.
Take Surveys To Earn Free Gift Cards
Survey Junkie helps you make money by taking actions online–in this case, surveys. On average, users say they earn about $10-$15 per hour taking surveys and can cash out in the form of Amazon gift cards.
Another popular site is Pinecone Research . When new surveys come available, you’ll be sent email notifications to log in and answer some questions. With Pinecone Research you can expect to earn $3 in points per survey.
You may be able to do about five surveys in an hour since they are generally pretty short. After you rack up some points, you can cash them out for Amazon gift cards, merchandise, or a payout via PayPal.
While these are just two of the more popular options, there are tons of survey sites out there to help you get free gift cards. Just make sure you do a bit of research before you sign up.
You’ll want to ensure that the company is vetted to securely handle your information and payout your earnings on time!
Refer friends to services you love
Is there a service that you love such as Airbnb or Lyft ? Check to see if they have a referral program, which will allow you to earn credits or gift cards. You will get a unique tracking code that you can send to friends and family.
When someone signs up for the service using the code you provided, you will get a referral bonus. Most times your friend will also get a discount or bonus for signing up using your link, which is a win-win for both parties.
This also works with credit card bonuses. If there is a travel reward card you enjoy and recommend to friends, send them a referral link. You will often get extra points or miles for making the referral, which you can use for free travel.
Other Ways to Get Free Gift Cards (No Surveys!)
Surveys and referrals are not the only ways to get free gift cards. Here are other ways to score gift cards with no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Ask for free gift cards instead of gifts
This one may seem obvious, but many people don’t think about it. The easiest way to get free gift cards is by letting your family and friends know that you would prefer to get gift cards instead of gifts.
Many people are stumped for ideas of what to get someone for a special occasion. Make it easy on them by letting them know you would prefer gift cards to some of your favorite restaurants or even a Visa prepaid debit card.
Gift cards can make the perfect gift because they take the stress out of selecting a gift that the recipient may not like. They are easy and allow you to spend the money on something you enjoy.
Donate blood or plasma
If you live near a blood bank, you may be able to donate blood or plasma for free gift cards. Many blood banks offer theater gift cards or certificates to local restaurants for blood donations.
It takes a bit of planning to ensure you hydrate sufficiently. And don’t plan strenuous activities for the rest of the day, but you can do good and receive a gift card.
So if you’re not one to shy away from needles, this can be a regular part of your rotation.
Swap with friends
If you have extra gift cards in your junk drawer, chances are your coworkers or friends do too. You could set up a small get together at your house for a night of BYOB tastings and swapping gift cards for an interesting FI-friendly gathering.
Cards that don’t make the cut, can be passed along to a local charity. Shelters and foster care organizations always happily accept gift cards!
Free Gift Cards Apps
Want more ways to get free gift cards? We’ve got you covered. There are many apps that promise to help you earn free gift cards. Here is a list of our favorite options and how to use them to maximize your earnings.
First, download the Shopkick app on your smartphone (they have both an iOS and an Android version). Once you have the app, you there are several ways to earn Kicks (Shopkick’s version of points).
You get Kicks for walking into certain stores such as Walmart or Walgreens. In addition, you can earn Kicks by scanning products from a list in the app. This can be the most tedious part, especially at stores where you’re not familiar with the layout.
You can earn more Kicks for watching in-app videos so try it when you’re in line next time. You can redeem your Kicks for free gift cards to major retailers like Target at a rate of about 250 Kicks per $1.
There is also a cash out threshold of $20 so keep that in mind since you must wait until you have enough Kicks.
You can score a $5 bonus with InboxDollars just for signing up. From there, you can earn more by taking surveys that earn you about $1-$5 (sometimes up to $15-$20). Each one takes between 5 – 25 minutes.
Which surveys are available to you depend on your demographic profile. You can cash out your earnings for free gift cards once you hit the minimum payout of $30. If you’d rather have cash than a free gift card, you can opt to get paid via PayPal or a check in the mail.
Swagbucks offers another easy way to earn free gift cards by watching videos, taking surveys and doing other random activities in your spare time. You will earn points that can be traded in for gift cards after you reach a certain threshold.
Racking up points with Swagbucks can help you snag free gift cards to Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and other major retailers. With some basic interactions using the platform, you can expect to rack up about 7 to 10 Swagbucks a day.
The app makes it easier to earn extra Swagbucks while standing in line or waiting at the doctor’s office. After you accumulate around 450 points, you can cash them in for a $5 gift card.
In searching reviews of Swagbucks , many have reported being able to rack up $300-$600 in gift cards a year by watching videos and taking surveys when they have downtime.
Ibotta is the modern day answer to coupon clipping. It’s a much easier way to get discounts on what you already buy without having to remember to bring your coupon binder.
The Ibotta app offers cash back when you scan your receipt for certain retailers such as grocery stores, Walmart, Target and more.
Before each shopping trip, browse the app for cash back offers and select the ones you want. Complete the associated task such as reading a fact, watching a quick video, answering a poll, etc.
Once you purchase the items, take a photo of your receipt and upload it to the app to redeem your cash-back offer. You should see the money in your account within 48 hours of scanning your receipt.
Ibotta has a $20 cash out threshold. You can redeem your earnings for free gift cards to major retailers such as Starbucks, Target, iTunes and more. If you prefer cash, you will need a PayPal account.
Fetch is another app that will pay you for scanning your receipts. The great thing about Fetch is that you don’t have to worry about adding offers before you go shopping.
All you have to do is download the app, shop as usual and scan your receipts afterwards. Fetch partners with brands instead of stores so you will earn money for purchasing certain household brand names (for example, Capri Sun or Lays).
Another way to earn points is by referring family and friends. You will get a certain number of points every time someone uses your link to sign up and submits their first receipt.
When you reach at least 3,000 points (equal to $3), you can cash out for free gift cards to major retailers such as Best Buy, Banana Republic or Ulta. Some gift cards may have a higher threshold.
How to Find Discounted Gift Cards
While free gift cards are great, it may take some time to accumulate enough rewards. You can still save money by purchasing discounted gift cards for places where you shop regularly.
Stack the discounted gift cards with other offers such as coupons to save even more money. Here are the best places to find discounted gift cards.
Discounted Gift Cards From Club Stores
Big box stores often offer discounted gift cards for purchase. Club stores like Costco, Sam’s Club , and BJ’s offer all kinds of gift cards at a discount. You can usually pick up discounted gift cards for travel, restaurants, theme parks, and popular merchants.
If you already have a membership, then this can be a great deal. Getting a membership for this purpose alone will cut into your savings.
As of this writing, for Costco, the annual fee is $60 for “Gold Star” membership level and $120 annually for either of the two executive plans. For a basic membership to Sam’s Club, you’ll be shelling out $45 per year for the basic level, and up to $100+ for the higher tier.
Discounted Gift Cards on Ebay
There’s no shortage of discounted gift cards on Ebay. Play it safe by purchasing from professional sellers with a proven reputation that will guarantee your purchase.
Keep An Eye Out For Local Deals
If you want to dine out occasionally, keep an eye out for specials that allow you to purchase a gift card and get an additional bonus card. Kind of like a BOGO deal.
For some of your favorite restaurants, it’s likely you would spend the money anyway. Now you are increasing the value of the money spent.
These restaurant deals are most popular around holidays, such as Christmas and Mother’s day.
Target will often advertise bonus cards as an incentive to purchase a certain amount of product. For example, buy four products from a particular manufacturer and receive a $5 Target Card.
Our local grocery store chain will often offer gift card deals when you purchase a gift card to a particular restaurant chain at their kiosk. In turn, you’ll get a $5 or $10 gift card to the grocery store.
It might be worth keeping an eye out for gift card bonuses and get more value out of your everyday purchases!
Buy And Sell Discounted Gift Cards, Or Swap
If you find a few unloved gift cards that made it into the junk drawer, it’s time for a swap. Whether from an office gift exchange or a well-meant relative, we all have cards we will never use.
Just because the gift card is to a restaurant not quite worth the drive, don’t let that money go to waste. If you come across gift cards you no longer want, some websites will buy your unwanted gift cards.
And if you are in the market for discounted gift cards, you can buy and sell your cards on sites like Cardpool , Raise , Card Kangaroo and Gift Card Granny. It might be a good time to swap out some cards you don’t want and snatch up ones you’d like, at a discount.
Just know that some of these gift cards might have had one or two purchases made on them. Additionally, for gift card discount sites, you may only be able to use these cards for online purchases, and not in-store.
Keep this in mind before you pull the trigger on any discounted gift card purchases! As they say, read the fine print.
Related: How To Sell Unwanted Gift Cards
The Bottom Line
Free and discounted gift cards are a great way to reduce your expenses on things you already buy. Just keep in mind that there may be a tradeoff between your time and the benefits you earn.
Some options such as Ibotta and Fetch require a minimum commitment and no extra spending. Others such as buying discounted gift cards can require a bigger upfront commitment for more savings down the road.
There are so many ways to get discounted and free gift cards that one of them will probably work for you. Give a few of the options above a try to see what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Have you gotten discounted or free gift cards before? What was your experience? Share in the comments or on the ChooseFI Facebook page.
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