This year, like every other one, you’ve no doubt doubt received at least one holiday gift card — if not many more. To some folks, they’re less personal than other gifts, while others love them for the freedom they offer to buy whatever you want.
But one of the undeniably good things all those plastic cards bring is the opportunity for big-time savings, because they can be used on after-holiday sales. Big annual after-holiday sales can sometimes rival even Black Friday discounts. So if it’s loot you’re after, you’re in luck: The post-new Year’s sales going on right now will bring as much bang for your buck as possible.
And if you’re really smart about where you spend, you’ll save even more on certain kinds of items that will be half as much as they were pre-holidays. A few examples: Tech retailers have marked down the previous year’s models to make room for newer versions, so you can score up to 50 percent off on HDTVs, video game consoles and a slew of other gadgets.
The same goes for exercise equipment: Stationary bikes, punching bags, weights and other gear goes for up to half off in January; this year look for big deals at NordicTrack.com, Walmart and Amazon.com.
Meanwhile, scores of sales on cold-weather gear and accessories at this point in the season mean you can nab 60 percent to 70 percent off on fur coats, cashmere scarves and leather gloves at national retailers such as J.Crew and Boden, and at luxury department stores like Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman
Also, don’t forget that retailers owned by the same company often accept each other’s gift cards for both in-store and online purchases. (Old Navy gift cards, for example, are equally good at The Gap and Athleta. Check the back of the card to see at which stores it’s valid.)
And if you can’t find anything you want at any of the store options, you might want to just swap it online. Sites such as plasticjungle.com and cardpool.com let you buy, sell and trade cards.
And what to do if you’re simply not in a shopping mood now that the holidays are over, and would rather do a good deed? Unused and partially used gift cards can be donated to charity. Check out plasticjungle.com’s service that offers gift card sellers the option of giving part or all of a gift card’s value to a nonprofit organization.