Don’t Fall For Included Gift Card Sales!

11 months ago Jack 0
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Some stores sweeten their deals by throwing in a gift card with your purchase. That gift card might actually end up costing! Read on to find out why.

You’ve been shopping around for a new TV and you see a post on your favorite deal site:

4K TV – Retail price but it comes with a $250 gift card!

Maybe your first reaction is skepticism or maybe it’s “WOW free $250!” You really should think about how this deal is going to play out before you pull the trigger on that TV. Start by asking yourself a few questions.

Is the initial price of the TV good? If you could normally buy that TV for less without the gift card, you’ll have to consider that total cost later. You’re going to have to jump through hoops to use that gift card, so paying extra better be worth it.

What is the gift card for? There’s the rub; large gift cards given by stores often must be used at that store and have a time limit attached to using them. Is there something at that store that I need to buy and was going to buy anyway? If not, what good does the gift card do me? Many people will tell you to just buy something with the gift card and sell it on craigslist or eBay. That’s not typically wise, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

Is this the TV I want? Just because something is on sale or comes with freebies doesn’t mean you should run out and spend your hard earned money on it. The free gift card is meant to excite you and pump you up to buy the product just like it’s meant to suggest added value. If it’s not the one you want, be patient and keep looking.

Lets say you saw the same TV in two different stores. One was $850 with a $300 gift card. The other was $700. An obvious winner here? Not so fast.  You’re thinking you’ll just buy something with that gift card and resell it saving $150 over the $700 TV maybe?

You spend $850 on the TV. In my city, sales tax is 8.00%. That makes the TV $918. Then you take that gift card and buy something to resell. A $300 item? Nope! You’ll be paying tax on that too so the maximum sale price before tax will be around $277 (before shipping, if applicable). Now, you take that item you just bought and list it on craigslist. After a month of waiting you finally get someone to give you $180 for it because no one wants to pay you retail prices on craigslist. In the end, you spent $918 – 180 for a total of $738.

Had you just bought the $700 one, you spend $756 dollars. The bottom line is yes, you did save an extra $18 buying the TV that came with a gift card. $18 though, for a month worth of work. If you’re on this site you’re probably interested in saving a few bucks. I am too. Sometimes these gift card deals really can pay off. In this case though, I’d rather spend the $18 and keep my sanity.


Another example are the gift cards that clothing stores give you. Spend $50 and get $10! GREAT! Since you only have $35 worth of purchase, go back and buy more things you didn’t need to get the free $10! Oh, we forgot to mention that you can’t use the gift cards while you’re here today. You have to come back next week. There’s nothing in the store that you want for only $10, so you end up spending $10 of your own plus the gas to drive out a second time. You CAN gain value from these deal schemes, but plan it out before you do. Make sure you’re going to be in the area again and there’s something specific you know you want to use the gift cards on. Otherwise, you can turn a $35 purchase into a $65 one and have your closet filled with things you didn’t really want in the first place.



To keep your money in your wallet, you have to be realistic and keep your emotions in check and be patient. That way, you can find what you want at a price you can live with and don’t get suckered into spending extra time and money.