Marc Siegal can save money with the click of a mouse. With a family of four children, he has to look for ways to save.
"Gift cards are not a coupon, they are basically cash," said Siegal.
Siegal says he doesn't purchase gift cards for actual gifts, but he does buy them to save for everyday items he needs around his home. Card sites like CardCash or Plastic Jungle allow users to buy or sell cards for cash or other gift cards they might need.
"If you need the product and decide the product you want, you can comparison shop," said Siegal.
With CardCash, a seller can sell a card for a percentage of what the card is actually worth. Sometimes the site pays as much as 90 percent of the value of the card and sometimes the final cost is much lower. If you want to purchase a card, you can really save money. You purchase the card for a fraction of the value, but you spend it for the full value.
For example, you can purchase a Bath and Body Works card for $21.75 or 13 percent off of retail value of $25. But when you spend it, you can treat it just like $25 cash. If you pair the discounted card with a coupon, you can cash in for even more.
Marc Siegal saves money by spending the gift card with a coupon for sometimes 35 percent off of full price. He routinely searches for J.C. Penney, Sears and Kmart cards, but you can also buy cards for restaurants and gas.
"Some cards are always there and you can get them so easy," said Siegal. "Some cards, like Zappos, are rare."
Shoppers can sign up for email alerts for gift cards that are rare.
The gift cards are mailed to your home or you can have vouchers emailed to you. Most sites offer free shipping for gift cards you buy.
When you do decide to purchase a gift card, check and make sure the site has a guarantee. Most will refund your purchase or give you another card if the card you receive turns out to be bogus.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Wednesday, August 31, 2011