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How to Shop with CASH at Amazon

I can’t think of many things worse than waking up on Dec. 26 with a raging debt hangover—an all-too-common after-Christmas condition.

The only reason you paid for everything with a credit card is that it was convenient. Besides, it’s not safe to shop online with a debit card, so what were your options?

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Of course, you promised yourself that you would be paying the balance in full the minute the statement arrives, but who are we kidding here?

You were already carrying a balance on every card in your wallet, so now all of those new purchases will exacerbate the problem by plunging you even deeper into debt. Worse, you don’t even know for sure how much you spent because who keeps track when you pay for everything with a credit card?

Just imagine if you’d kept your promise that this year would be an all-cash Christmas—that you locked those credit cards away where they were safe from you. You’d be heading into the New Year with a much different attitude. No excuses, no hiding the holiday bills; no worries and no regrets.

I’ve got some good news for you. This year really can be an all-cash Christmas. You can do it and make your cash stretch even further when you take advantage of the lower prices when you shop online. You really can shop with CASH at Amazon, absolutely no credit card or debit card required.


Step 1: Stop into the nearest Walgreens drugstore (or select participating supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores nationwide, which sell Amazon Gift Cards with no fees) and purchase an Amazon Gift Card in any denomination from $15 to $500. Pay for it with cash.

Step 2: Go to Amazon.com and log in to your account (create a new account if you do not already have one.) Go to Redeem a Gift Card. Follow the simple instructions to add your Gift Card’s unique claim code to your account. It is super easy, takes only a minute. Now those funds will be available immediately or held safely in your account; will not expire, have no activation or maintenance fees, and will automatically apply to your next Amazon order.


Got a lot of loose change? You can take your change and cash to any of the 17,800 Coinstar kiosks around the country and have it converted to an Amazon Gift Card—with no fee deducted (but if you convert it to cash, a hefty fee will be deducted.) Every penny you put into the machine will be added to your Amazon Gift Card. Follow Step 2 above to add these funds to your Amazon account.


You can purchase an Amazon Claim Code with cash in any amount from $25 to $2,000 at 47,000 Western Union Agent locations across the US. Add the Claim Code to your Amazon account (follow the Step 2 instructions above).


Visit a participating MoneyGram agent location to purchase an Amazon Gift Card claim code with cash and no fees. Follow Step 2 above.

There you go. Simple, convenient ways you can enjoy the convenience of Amazon shopping while still experiencing an all-cash Christmas!

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6 replies
  1. Cathy Contino says:

    Thank you so much for the coinstar tip. I had never used that machine. Way better than rolling coins. I had a gallon jug half full of pennies (the receipt says there were 1883 pennies) and it also counted the number of the other coins. I did choose Amazon as my gift card. There were other choices such as Sears and whatnot.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Nice to know this was helpful to you, Cathy! If you’d taken the sum in cash you would have been charged a pretty hefy fee of about 9.5% as I recall. But it you opt for the Gift Card, no fee. You get every penny of your money!

      • Colleen Sturma Reynolds says:

        Love this tip…now to find a coinstar! I do a lot of surveys online and always pick the amazon gift card option as the reward if it is available. I then take them over to Amazon and soon they add up quite nicely. As I see things that would make a good gift, I add it to my wish list. That way when my rewards add up to a decent amount, I am ready to go through my wish list to what to purchase. I just spent $90 on Christmas presents that didn’t cost me a penny. I checked out coinstar, they are currently charging 11.9% fee!!!!

  2. Bonnie Carlston says:

    Hi all. A big thanks to Mary for all the great advice she gives! I made the mistake of having a good job at one point and trying to pay off bills with big payments without saving any money. I thought after I got them paid off I could save a lot. Big mistake so now I save in lots of ways. I pay myself first and also use gift cards I earn on Shopkick and shop all year for Christmas instead of at the holiday season. It really helps a lot. Thanks, Bonnie

  3. Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    Great idea. Can be expanded to grocery stores or pretty much anywhere. I plan to give gift cards to the 20 somethings on my list. They loved the Dunkin Donuts and Subway cards last year.

  4. peatwee says:

    We have been buying gift cards with cash at our grocery store (Kroger). The benefit for us is that our store gives us double (and sometimes quadruple!) fuel points with each gift card purchase. So, that $100 Amazon gift card also adds 200 to 400 to our store rewards card which we can use to redeem 20 to 40 cents off per gallon of gasoline we purchase at the Kroger gas station!


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