Buy gift cards for yourself to rack up some savings this season

When you can’t think of a Christmas gift that seems appropriate for a friend or family member, you might choose a gift card as your perfect present. In addition to offering an easy way to complete your holiday shopping, gift cards can also help you save money in 2012 on items you’re planning to buy anyway.

How? During the Christmas season, many retailers offer you a bonus for buying gift cards. By purchasing these cards for yourself, you can extend your buying power.

Here are some examples:

Kroger: Through Dec. 11, Kroger is offering quadruple fuel points for gift cards purchased at its grocery stores. If you frequent Starbucks every week, you could buy $100 worth of Starbucks gift cards and earn 400 fuel points. Those points translate to a 40-cent-per-gallon discount on gas. I stocked up on gift cards for places at which I know I will spend money in 2012 (Subway, Petsmart, Target, etc.) and earned enough fuel points to save $1 per gallon on my next gasoline purchase. The bonus points don’t apply to Kroger gift card purchases. Expect to pay a fee if you buy a gift card branded by a credit card company, such as Visa; the other cards do not have fees.

Barnes & Noble: If you buy a lot of printed books, e-books or music, consider a $100 gift card from Barnes & Noble. In return, you get a free $10 gift card, boosting your buying power. This deal ends at 2:59 a.m. on December 5. There is a limit of one free gift card per customer.

Restaurants: Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill will give you a free $20 gift card for every $100 worth of gift cards you purchase. The bonus cards can be used from Jan. 1 to Feb. 10, 2012. Chili’s is offering 10 percent off gift card purchases totaling $100 or more.

Whether you buy gift cards for others or yourself, the Christmas shopping season offers a great opportunity to get more for your money. What’s the best gift card deal you’ve seen this holiday season?

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Filed under Saving money, Shopping tips

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