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Save your Christmas budget with these tips for finding cheap or free gift cards (plus how you can use them to save more money!).

Last time in the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series, we talked about making a list (and checking it twice!).  

So now you have a good plan started for saving lots of money this Christmas season.

Now, if you tally up your total budget for Christmas presents and your eyes pop out of your head like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon…


Well, that’s ok!

Now you see why we are planning ahead!  

Because you were so smart with that planning, we have time to get a little creative with that budget.  Here’s how…

7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money: Way #2- Gift Cards

7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money: Gift Cards

Gift cards can be a good gift idea for some people, but that’s not what I mean in this case.  I’m talking about getting gift cards that you can use to purchase gifts for others.  Here are some ways to do that.


Swagbucks has been around for a looong time (in internet history anyway).  You might even have an old account there that you had forgotten about.  

(If that’s the case, you should dust that puppy off and get back to earning free bucks!)

In case you haven’t heard about it, Swagbucks is a website that asks you to do various things to earn points which are called “swagbucks”.  

The tasks are simple things like answering a fun one question poll, watching videos, taking surveys, etc.

You can play videos while you do household chores like laundry or dishes, so it doesn’t require dedicated time.  You can also print coupons and play games to earn “bucks”.

Each “buck” works out to be roughly worth a penny, because once you earn 100 Swagbucks, you can redeem it for a $1 Amazon gift card.  They have a variety of increments of Amazon gift cards, but they pretty much work out to a 100 Swagbuck to $1 Amazon money ratio.  (500 Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon card, etc.)

I find it doable to earn $10 or more in Amazon money through Swagbucks each month.  It’s not a lot.  But if you had started in January, you could easily have $120 to spend at Amazon for Christmas this year.  

Even if you start now, you can probably purchase a gift or two with this money.  (Click here to get started!)

Loyalty Cards

The loyalty card I use at our local gas station not only earns me a free soda every time I purchase 7 (although I’ve cut way back on stopping in for a drink!).  

I can also get free gift cards once I have accumulated enough points.  I always hand them my card when I make a purchase, so I have a lot of points just sitting there on my card waiting to be cashed in.

Teenagers would love a gas gift card as a gift!  But if you don’t have anyone like that on your list, you can take the cash you would have spent on gas and add it to your Christmas present money envelope.

Check out any loyalty cards you use for regular purchases and see what surprises they might have for you!  You might find coupons or gift cards just waiting for you.


Online shoppers, get signed up for Rakuten, stat!

The next time you’re ready to shop, start at the Rakuten website.  They have rebates for tons of stores you already shop.

Plus…you know how you always look for coupon codes at the checkout?  Well, Rakuten always has a list of coupon codes right on their site! So it saves you extra time (and extra money…who doesn’t love that??).

They send you a big fat payment when you reach $20 each quarter.

Whenever you get that payment, save it for next year’s gifts!

Buy Gift Cards

Sometimes, buying gift cards yourself will still save you money.

My favorite place to get them is at Sam’s Club.  They have discounts on almost every kind of gift card!

If you aren’t a member there, no worries. You can basically get a membership for free with this special deal.

Grocery stores like Kroger will give you extra gas discounts when you buy gift cards from them.  When I’m on my way to the mall to shop, I’ll stop for a Kohl’s gift card at Kroger first just for that discount.

Sites like Card Cash link people buying gift cards with people getting rid of them.  

Bonus…use Card Cash to buy gift cards at a discount.

Or use it to sell that gift card you’ve had for-e-ver and you know you’re never gonna use it.

You could also buy one gift card each month, or every time you grocery shop.  That wraps your savings into your grocery bill, and makes it a little more automatic. 

Then save the cards until you are ready to do your Christmas shopping!  

There are so many ways you can use gift cards to help you find Christmas money!

With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your eyes inside their sockets the next time you tally up your Christmas budget.

Super savers will definitely want to get signed up for the Christmas money saving mini challenge! Check it out…


Do you have a tip about using gift cards for purchasing Christmas presents that I missed?  Be sure you share it with us in the comments!