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

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

Memberships and loyalty cards could be giving you access to savings you didn’t even know about.

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“If you’re a member of a club, specifically like NRMA or RACQ, you can save about 5 per cent when you buy gift cards to Woolies and Coles, which over the course of $500, can easily save you about $20 to $25 on every shop,” Finder’s Taylor Blackburn said.

Taylor Blackburn from Finder. Credit: Sunrise

In fact, NRMA members can receive up to 10 per cent on the price of eGift Cards at over 30 leading national retailers including Rebel Sport, JB HiFi, Priceline Pharmacy and Lorna Jane.

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

Scan and save

Your weekly shop can also help you save.

Every time Melbourne mum Melanie Soklevski does her grocery shopping, she scans her FlyBuys card, building up points to put towards gift cards.

“It comes in handy come Christmas time, when you have everything going up in expenses,” Soklevski told Sunrise.

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

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

Gift cards can also be great for budgeting.

In fact, Melanie is using 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 shop, she’s limited to the amount of the money that’s on the gift card, and she knows whatever’s left over is what she gets to spend on treats for herself.”

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

Just keep in mind that offers can change based on demand and other factors.

Use it or lose it

The one golden rule with gift cards is to not forget about them.

Under Australian Consumer Law, gift cards must be redeemable for at least three years from the date of purchase, but there are exclusions, and that means they still do expire.

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

“In our Finder research, we’ve found about a third of people have bought a gift card and not used it,” Blackburn said.

“That’s millions of dollars that have gone on to the plastic and never come off.”

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

If you receive a gift card 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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