This is a Guest Post by Donna Freedman, freelance writer and blogger who really knows how to stretch a buck—and willingly tells all. Donna writes for Money Talks News and blogs about money and midlife at

Black Friday ads are already starting to leak. Here’s a way to make this season’s hot deals even hotter: Pay with a discounted gift card.


Cheap cards are available through resellers such as Cardpool, ABC Gift Cards, Card Cash, Raise and Gift Card Zen. You’ll see discounts of 3 to 30 percent (sometimes more) for cards from your favorite retailers.

The former owners either got gift cards that didn’t fit (think “steakhouse scrip for a vegetarian”) or need the money more than the credit.

Buying a gift card does limit you to a specific retailer. But if you know you’ll be treating your BFF to hair-care goodies from Sephora or buying an Old Navy hoodie for your kid brother, why not make those buying dollars go further?

(Or just give the discounted card outright and let your recipients do their own shopping.)

The simplest way to shop is to go through an aggregator site called Gift Card Granny, which lists the discounts resellers are offering. Note, too, that these sites will buy your own unwanted cards for up to 95% of face value. (Great-Aunt Rose meant well, but you’re really not a Lands End kind of gal.)

The cards have all been checked to ensure the balances are correct. Depending on the reseller, they may be guaranteed only for a certain amount of time. Although I have never had a problem, you might want to time your card purchases closer to the actual use (Christmas, birthday, wedding-gift shopping).

Get a few cards for your own seasonal pleasures, be the end-of-the-year blockbusters or iTunes downloads of your favorite holiday music. Smart shoppers can use discounted gift cards year round for electronics, groceries, dinners out, pet products, gasoline, clothing, movie tickets and more. (Recently I saved more than $100 on a home-improvement project by using discounted Home Depot cards to pay for materials.)

The cards you receive might have seasonal or occasion-specific designs, such as Valentine hearts or wedding bells. They may also have been partially used before being sold—you’ll see cards with balances of $22.47 or $63.89 along with unused cards with round-number balances.

Your sister might think it’s funny to get a card with a graduation-cap logo. If you end up with a card design you don’t like, go to the retailer in question and use the card to purchase a plain one.

A cash-back site, Extrabux, offers a 1.5% rebate on cards purchased through the Cardpool reseller. I saved an additional $9.78 on that home improvement project by ordering the Home Depot cards from Cardpool.

Finally: When buying your discounted cards, don’t forget to pay for that discounted scrip with a rewards credit card. Win-win!

Question: Would you re-gift a gift card? Have you ever purchased one for discount from gift-card reseller? How did that turn out?