The title of this series boasts a big claim, but I’m not joking. In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you a few tips and tricks that can help you score discounts at most major US retailers with only minimal effort.

And in case you’re wondering, it’s all legal. 🙂

The first tip is: Start Cardpooling.

If you’re thinking, “Huh?” Read on!

Introducing Cardpool

Cardpool is a website that acts as a second-hand marketplace for partially used gift cards. So you can quickly and easily purchase gift cards for less money than their face value.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say Ben was given a $100 gift card for Macy’s department store. Problem is, Ben doesn’t live anywhere near Macy’s. So he visits Cardpool and they offer to buy his $100 gift card in exchange for $77 cash. Ben thinks $77 in hand is better than $100 on a gift card that he’ll forget he had. So he’s happy to get paid 77 cents on the dollar and Cardpool makes off like a bandit.

Then Cardpool turns around and offers Jerry that same $100 gift card for 13% off, meaning Jerry only has to pay $87 for it. Jerry is getting ready to shop at Macy’s so he buys it because he’s savvy like that.  This means Cardpool earned $10 on that transaction and everyone’s happy.

Why Didn’t I Think of That?!

A big crumb-saver high-five to whoever came up with this business model, since it’s one of those rare instances where everybody wins in the end.

Here are a few additional factoids to consider about Cardpool:

  • All gift cards have NO expiration dates.
  • All gift cards have NO activation fees, transaction fees, or fees of any kind.
  • There is NO sales tax on the purchase of the gift cards. (For now.)
  • There is FREE shipping on all orders.
  • They will guarantee your purchase and refund you if you are dissatisfied.
  • They offer gift cards for most of the major US retailers.
  • They offer both physical (card and paper) and e-cards.  (E-cards will arrive much faster than the physical cards.)
  • Some retailer gift cards have discounts as high as 35%!

What’s the Catch?

There really is no catch to any of this. I’ve purchased many gift cards from them and have never had any trouble. However, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • The percent discounted fluctuates over time. So a Home Depot gift card that’s discounted 12% today might only be discounted 4% tomorrow.
  • Since most gift cards are partially used, you may not always find the denominations that you want, especially the nice round numbers. So it may look a little awkward giving a gift card with $23.26 on it instead of $25. (But I don’t mind if you’re considering getting me a gift!)
  • You don’t get to see what design is on the card before it arrives.  So you may get a Hanukkah design when you actually preferred a birthday cake.
  • Popular gift cards can frequently be out-of-stock.

There are other gift card resellers online that you can check to compare discounts and in-stock inventory to mitigate some of these shortcomings. Overall, we generally have had a better experience with Cardpool, but that may vary depending on the retailers that you’re looking for.

How We’ve Used It

One of our strategies is to use these discounted gift cards to compound savings. Here’s one example:

  1. We purchase a $100 Walmart gift card at 3% discount for $97. $3.00 off.
  2. We pay for it with our 1.5% cash back credit card. $1.46 cash back.
  3. We purchase gasoline at the Walmart gas station and get a $0.10/gallon discount (a special at the time of this writing). Assuming gas is now $3.20 with the discount, we can buy 31.25 gallons of gas. For that same amount of gas, at the original price of $3.30, it would have cost us $103.13. So there’s another $3.13 savings there.

So the total savings would be $7.59 out of $100. Not earth shattering numbers, but the only effort it took was purchasing a gift card from Cardpool online, then going about life as usual. A routine 7.6% off of every gas purchase can sure add up over time!

Here’s another example. Let’s say that some friends are getting married and they have a wedding registry at JCPenney. Cardpool currently has JCP gift cards available for 21% off. So if you planned on purchasing something for $100, now it’ll only be $69. Plus you can earn rewards on your credit card. Not bad!

Start Cardpooling

You can start Cardpooling today by creating a free account over at their website. The links provided on this page are referral links, and we get a bonus if you choose to join up. So thank you in advance!

This strategy should cover most physical and online retailers who offer gift cards, but with e-commerce on the rise, is there more we can do to save more crumbs on our online purchases?  Stay tuned as we share more tips and tricks next time to (almost) never pay full price for anything, with special attention to online retailers.

The Rest of the Series

2. How to Never Pay Full Price for Anything (Almost): TopCashback – We share about an online rebate service that helps you get back a percentage of your purchase from thousands of online retailers.

3.  How to Never Pay Full Price for Anything (Almost): Swagbucks – We share how to earn virtual currency online by completing free activities that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards.  We’ve heard over $1460 with it.