The gift card hacks that could save you money on your everyday purchases

Australian shoppers are missing out on some easy savings, with discounted gift cards becoming a surprise source to put more money back in your pocket.

Memberships and loyalty cards could give you access to savings you didn’t even know you had.

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“If you are a member of a club, especially like NRMA or RACQ, you can save around 5% when you buy gift cards at Woolies and Coles, which over $500 can easily save you around $20 at $25 on each store,” said Taylor Blackburn of Finder.

Taylor Blackburn of Finder. Credit: Sunrise

In fact, NRMA members can receive up to 10% off the price of e-gift cards at over 30 major national retailers, including Rebel Sport, JB HiFi, Priceline Pharmacy and Lorna Jane.

Most of the time, you can check balances online or over the phone, so you always know how much money you have set aside for groceries.

Scan and save

Your weekly store can also help you save.

Every time Melbourne mum Melanie Soklevski goes shopping, she scans her FlyBuys card, racking up points to redeem for gift cards.

“It comes in handy at Christmas, when the expenses go up,” Soklevski said. Sunrise.

“So because I’ve saved up points, I can use Coles gift cards to buy all the things for Christmas…and that frees up money to buy presents for other people.”

Gift cards serve multiple purposes for mom Melanie Soklevski. Credit: Sunrise

Gift cards can also be great for budgeting.

In fact, Melanie uses them to teach her kids to be smart with money.

“My youngest doesn’t have a part-time job yet, so she knows that when she goes up to the store, she’s limited to the amount of money that’s on the gift card, and she knows that whatever what’s left is what she gets to spend on treats for herself.

Discounted gift cards are often also available on sites such as Groupon or Gift Card Store.

Remember that offers may change depending on demand and other factors.

Use it or lose it

The only rule of thumb with gift cards is to remember them.

Under Australian consumer law, gift cards must be redeemable for at least three years from the date of purchase, but there are exclusions, meaning they always expire.

Gift cards don’t always have to be given as gifts. Credit: Sunrise

“In our Finder research, we found that about a third of people bought a gift card and didn’t use it,” Blackburn said.

“That’s millions of dollars that went to plastic and never came off.”

Using gift cards might be a better way to shop. Credit: Sunrise

If you receive a gift card that you don’t want, it’s one of the easiest things to resell.

Just don’t take a picture of the barcode or the numbers associated with it, as they can easily be lifted and spent.

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