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How To Turn an Unwanted Visa Gift Card Into Amazon Gold

July 3, 2015 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

I hate to waste money on ANYTHING! Being a self-proclaimed coupon nerd, this is probably pretty obvious to most of my loyal readers by now.

So when I stumbled upon an old Visa gift card in my desk drawer recently, which was about to expire (GASP!), it was clearly time to put my frugal skillz to work and figure out an easy way to get my money off the card. The original balance was $25 and I knew I only had a few bucks left on the card.

After doing some digging, I discovered that Amazon will let you buy an Amazon gift card by using an unwanted Visa gift card as your form of payment. Then you can simply spend the Amazon gift card whenever you’d like as they don’t expire. Here are the step-by-step instructions to make this happen:

Step 1: Add your Visa Gift Card to Amazon Wallet

  1. Simply log-in to “Your Account” on Amazon.com.
  2. On your account page, under “Amazon Wallet”, click on “Add a Credit or Debit Card”.
  3. Next, just add your Visa gift card to your account like you would with any debit or credit card.

Add Visa Gift Card

This should also work on any gift card with a MasterCard, American Express, or Discover logo on it.

Step 2: Get an Amazon Gift Card Delivered to Yourself

  1. First of all, you’ll want to know the exact remaining balance on your Visa gift card. If you’re not sure what it is, just call the number on the back and they’ll tell you.
  2. Next, visit the Gift Card page on Amazon.com.
  3. Then select any card that offers e-mail delivery.
  4. Under “Amount”, pick “Set my own” and enter the amount remaining on your Visa gift card.
  5. Enter your own e-mail address as the “Recipient E-Mail”.
  6. Once finalized, your Amazon gift card will show up in your e-mail inbox within a couple hours.

Buy Amazon Gift Card

Step 3: Shop at Amazon and Redeem your New Gift Card

This step is fairly self-explanatory. Just shop on Amazon like you normally would and when you reach the payment page, simply apply your new gift card to your purchase and you’re golden.

Scenarios When This Tip Works Best:

  1. If you have a Visa gift card with a small balance on it, and you’re not sure when you’ll ever use it, this tip is for you. Especially since many Visa gift cards have an expiration date on them. Get them turned into Amazon cash and use them up before they expire.
  2. Also, if you have a significant amount on a Visa gift card, let’s say $125, and you want to buy a new $600 HDTV from Amazon, this tip will also be beneficial. This is because Amazon does NOT let you split transactions on 2 different cards. But they do let you use a Amazon gift card in conjunction with a regular credit card.

Happy savings.

By Kyle James

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The Best 4th of July Weekend Coupons and Deals

June 30, 2015 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

The 4th of July weekend continues to be an excellent time to shop, as many retailers throw out some pretty enticing incentives and coupons. This year is no different as we’ve been finding some great coupons the past few days. So I thought I would add all of the best coupons from Rather-Be-Shopping.com in this post to help you navigate the coupons and quickly find what you’re looking for. Keep checking back to this page as I’ll be adding new coupons all weekend long. Hope it helps you save some money and have a great, and safe, holiday weekend.

U.S. Flag cupcakes

Apparel/Shoes Coupons

Computers & Electronics Coupons

Health/Beauty Coupons

House, Auto & Home Coupons

Sporting Goods Coupons

Travel Coupons

I hope you enjoy the weekend and happy savings!

By Kyle James

Photo by US Embassy Canada.

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Frugal Hack #27: 8 Cool Things You Can Do at Costco Without a Membership

June 29, 2015 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

Costco Alcohol

Costco is full of stuff you had no idea existed, but clearly cannot live another day without.

What if you’re on the fence about paying $55 for an annual membership? Perhaps the bulk aspect has you concerned you’ll end up wasting a lot of stuff. Or maybe you just aren’t sure if the savings is enough to justify the membership. If this is you, I have good news for ya. I recently discovered a bunch of really cool ways to take advantage of Costco without paying a dime for a membership.

Here are the cool things you can do, and buy, at Costco without a membership:

  1. Shop Via a Costco Gift Card. If you have a friend or family member who’s a current Costco member, you can have them buy you a Costco gift card which can be used to buy all items in the warehouse. This is a great option if you’re a college student or just want to test out the savings the warehouse could provide before diving in with an annual membership.
  2. Buy Prescription Meds from the Pharmacy. The pharmacy at Costco is available to members and non-members alike. Just bring the prescription from your doctor, tell the greeter/card checker that you’re using the pharmacy and they’ll let you in. You can even get your prescriptions filled online and have them delivered to your home at NO extra cost.
  3. Get an Immunization Shot. Along with filling prescriptions, Costco also offer immunizations to members and non-members. Be sure to call your local Costco ahead-of-time as an appointment may be required. If you don’t have medical coverage that covers basic immunizations and the flu shot, Costco has the reputation of being a very affordable option.
  4. Get Your Eyes Checked. Costco also has an optometrist on staff that you can call and schedule an appointment with. No membership is required, but you’ll need a membership or gift card to buy contacts and glasses.
  5. Buy Alcohol. Due to state laws, many states allow you to buy alcohol from “membership clubs” like Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, and Sam’s Club without a membership. Currently, according to Consumerist, membership is not required to purchase alcohol in the following states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Vermont.
  6. Browse the Store Before Deciding to Join. If you simply ask the greeter/card checker at the door if you can walk in and peruse the warehouse they’ll send you to the membership desk. Once you make it to the desk, you can pick up an application and get permission to walk around before signing-up. Great way to see if the warehouse club is right for your needs before dropping $55.
  7. Chow Down at the Food Court. If your local Costco has an outside food court you can absolutely take advantage without official membership. Makes for a great lunch stop for the $1.50 hot dog/soda meal deal or a couple slices of cheap, but quite good, pizza. If your location lacks an outside food court, just tell the card checker you’re there to get membership information and head for the food court as well. Be sure to bring cash as that’s all they’ll take.
  8. Shop on the Costco.com site. Anybody can shop on Costco.com, but if you’re not a current member, you’ll be hit with a 5% surcharge on all online purchases except for prescription drugs. So if you’re buying something over $1,100, you’ll want to buy the $55 basic membership, otherwise you’re losing money on the whole deal.

I’d also add that Costco has a strong reputation for treating their employees well and offering excellent benefits. They should be applauded for this and other companies should take notice. One way to support what Costco is doing, would be to go ahead and get the membership as it’ll easily pay for itself if you shop smart.

By Kyle James

Photo by Portal Abras.

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Amazon Price Protection

Amazon.com does not have an openly stated price protection policy. But most savvy Amazon shoppers are aware of their “somewhat unofficial” 7-day price protection policy which entitles you to money-back if the price is lowered on their site after you receive the item.

I was always under the impression that the item had to be sold directly by “Amazon.com LLC” to qualify for price protection. I recently discovered this is NOT the case and the only requirement is “order fulfillment” by Amazon. Pretty much every product that qualifies for Prime 2-day shipping is fulfilled by Amazon these days. Many of which are sold be 3rd party sellers, but have order fulfillment by Amazon.

So what does this mean for you? Well, the first thing it means is that almost all Prime eligible products will get 7-day price protection. Secondly, I also discovered that if you play your cards right, they’ll EVEN give you price protection on identical items sold by a different seller.

Here is what you need to know to make this happen:

  1. Keep an eye on your recent Amazon orders. If you order regularly, check current pricing of the stuff you’ve recently bought. I’ll login to my account and check prices at least once a week, especially during times of the year when my wife and I are doing a lot of purchasing (kids birthdays and Christmas).
  2. Found a lower price? Once you find an item you’ve recently purchased that is now being sold for less, simply go to the Amazon Contact Us page and start a chat session.
  3. Start a chat session. Specifically, on the Contact Us page, under “Step 2 – Tell us more about your issue”, select “Payment issues” followed by clicking the “Chat” button at the bottom.
  4. Be polite. Politely explain the situation and inform them of the new lower price. They’ll ask for your order number, so be sure to have it at the ready.
  5. 7-day policy is lenient. I recently started a chat session to test out their policy. I had bought some watch batteries and the price had gone down by 3 bucks so I thought it would be a good test subject. I figured it was a long shot as I was a week past their 7-day policy. Surprisingly, I was completely wrong as the chat rep didn’t even question the dates and immediately offered to refund the difference in price. Will this work every time? Probably not, especially if you take advantage of their price protection policy often, but don’t let the dates stop you from giving it a try.
  6. An items only requirement is Amazon fulfillment. My watch batteries were sold by a company called “The Perfect Deals”, but the order was fulfilled by Amazon via Prime 2-day shipping. I was happily surprised this was not an issue when it came to getting price protection. A good rule-of-thumb is to look for Prime shipping eligibility; if it’s an eligible item then it’s almost always going to be fulfilled by Amazon.
  7. You can EVEN get price protection if another Amazon seller has a lower price. When I told the chat rep that the price of my batteries had dropped, I failed to realize that the price I was quoting him was actually from a different seller. He informed me of this, and offered to give me the price of the other seller as a “one time exception”. Pretty awesome. Keep this knowledge in your “discount holster” and fire it on an expensive purchase so you can maximize your cash-back.

Below is a copy of my chat transcript that details exactly how the whole thing went down. The magically delicious parts of the chat are highlighted in yellow:

Amazon Price Protection

Ask the Reader: Have you ever been able to get some money back from Amazon after buying something and then noticing that the price was lowered? Was it easy? How did the whole deal go down? I look forward to your comments.

By Kyle James

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The Starbucks Menu Secrets Guaranteed To Save You Money

June 24, 2015 by Kyle 2 comments   •   Filed Under ,

The idea of walking into a Starbucks (see our Starbucks coupons) and shelling out $4 for a cup of coffee is something many of us dread like the plague. In the past we’ve talked about some practical ways to save money at Starbucks, but today I wanted to dissect their menu and tell you about some cool hacks that’ll save you money on your next coffee order.

Here are the Starbucks menu secrets worth knowing:
Order a “Short” in a […] Continue Reading…

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In an effort to reduce the strain caused by Amazon Prime Members taking advantage of free 2-day shipping, Amazon currently gives you $2 credit (recently up from $1) if you opt instead for “FREE No-Rush Shipping” when checking out. “No-Rush” shipping means it will take about a week to get your package delivered and the $2 credit can be used to buy Kindle eBooks, digital music, and movies. What if I were to tell you […] Continue Reading…

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Have you ever been shopping and stumbled upon an expensive item that’s stocked incorrectly with something much cheaper? If so, you’ve probably also wondered if the retailer would, or should, honor the cheaper price. It turns out some big-box stores absolutely will honor the cheaper price in certain circumstances. Here are the retailers that have been known to do it, and the details you need to know for each.

Best Buy
Be sure to know the “unwritten” rules […] Continue Reading…

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The topic of using technology to save money is a favorite around these parts. Either by using smartphone apps to save money at the store, or tapping into social media to save an extra buck or two, it’s just plain smart. With the release of the much anticipated Apple Watch, it opens up a whole new way to use technology to save money. If you currently have an Apple Watch, or are considering the purchase […] Continue Reading…

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Save Money by Knowing the 4 Items You Should Never Buy Brand New

June 18, 2015 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

There are certain items that are always worth buying brand new. Stuff that immediately leaps to mind includes mattresses, running shoes, and child car seats. But what are the used items in life that provide the best value? In other words, what stuff should always be on your radar at yard sales, thrift stores, and other non-traditional stores.

Daily Finance recently did a great job breaking down the four items that you should never buy […] Continue Reading…

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Target May Owe you $10,000 for 2013 Security Breach

June 17, 2015 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

Target is close to making right on their massive security breach from 2013. Court documents filed in March show they have set aside $10 million to pay victims, up to $10,000 each. To be eligible, you must be able to clearly prove actual harm. They have set up a dedicated website where you can file your claim and get more information on the class action lawsuit.

If you’ve experienced at least one of the following, and […] Continue Reading…

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