Did you know there is one thing you need to buy for yourself in November and December that can save you money all year long?

I bet you didn’t because even the best of bargain shoppers overlook it.

Are you ready for it?

What to buy in December . . .

Gift Cards.

Yes, if you buy gift cards around the holidays you will likely receive free “money.”

Say what?!

Free money that can’t be right Megan.

How does that work?

Well, it’s easy and just requires a little extra cash. If you don’t have it now, plan for next year. You can save up just like you do for your regular Christmas savings.

Start to pay attention to the places you usually go to (i.e. restaurants, spas, car wash, stores).

This is how it usually works:

Chili’s offers you a free $5 gift card if you purchase $25 in gift cards.

Culvers offers you a free value basket if you purchase $25 in gift cards.

Maggiano’s offers you a $20 gift card if you purchase $100 in gift cards.

Many restaurants offer deals like this throughout November and December. I know for certain in years past Chipotle, and Red Robin also offered these deals.

The restaurants are trying to get you to buy gift cards for those on your shopping list by enticing you with a gift card with purchase.

You could purchase gift cards for those on your list. That is one way to take advantage of the free “money.”

The other thing you can do is buy gift cards for yourself to places you know you will eat in the following year. Then keep the bonus gift cards as well. For many places, it ends up being  10-20% back in free food.

Obviously, it means you are pre-paying for meals in the future. However, if you only get gift cards to places you know you frequent and you have the extra money on hand to buy them, it’s a win-win situation.

Be on the lookout for these deals, because they are everywhere and not just restaurants.

My favorite scrapbook retreat offers a $20 gift card with a $100 purchase. I know that I will spend a few hundred dollars on retreats every year so I can safely buy $200-$300 in gift cards and get $50-$75 free.

My favorite local car wash does a buy two car wash gift certificates get one free. I typically buy four, so I get two free and then can get my car washed every other month the following year. That’s a saving of $60.

Many spas offer similar deals.

No one cares if you are buying the gift card for yourself or someone else. To the business, it’s money in their pocket.

It’s very important that you don’t then lose the gift cards!

A great way to store gift cards and certificates is in a large business card binder.  We store all of our gift cards and rewards cards in one that is easily accessible.


What other places have you seen that offer these deals at the holidays?

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2 comments on “What To Buy in December To Save Money All Year”

  1. Costco and Sam’s will also sell bulk packs of gift cards for prices that are cheaper than face value. Like, I can usually buy 4 $10 Starbucks gift cards for $35. And you know I like my Starbucks!

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