Bought the $20 Amazon card for $10? This frugal hack (almost) re-doubles your investment.

Maybe you were one of the 1,378,938 folks who recently bought a $20 Amazon gift card for $10 from Living Social.

If you haven’t already spent it, here’s a way to turn that $10 investment into as much as $18.40:

Re-sell it on a discount gift card website.

“People can actually make money on this,” says Anson Tsai, CEO of Cardpool.com.

His site is offering 85 cents on the dollar. Normally that would work out to $17 but only if it were for an actual Amazon card rather than a code. Selling your $20 code will net you $16.

Over at ABC Gift Cards they’re currently offering 92% — $18.40 – because Amazon is such a popular card. “It’s pretty much like cash,” says spokesman Elliot Klier.

But…How is that a profit?!?

Now wait a second, you may be thinking. Isn’t $20 in scrip worth more than $18.40?

It is if you’re planning to shop. But I can think of a couple of reasons to prefer the cash:

  • You can’t afford to buy anything right now and you know you can’t trust yourself to stay anywhere close to a $20 tab on Amazon.
  • You’re on a tight budget and regretting even an additional $10 on your credit card.
  • You’re in a financial pickle and realizing that $18.40 would keep you in gasoline/transit tickets until you get paid in 10 days.

Or suppose you got a $25 Amazon card for Christmas. It represents a quick infusion of cash. The same can be said for any other gift cards you received, although not all pay as high as that.

The percentages may change depending on supply and demand, so I’d recommend moving quickly. Most sites will send the money within a few business days. You may be able to opt for PayPal instead of a check if you prefer.

Frankly, you probably won’t do better than 92% but to be on the safe side you can check the rates at Gift Card Granny, a price comparison site.

And speaking of Gift Card Granny: Be sure to check out “Win a $250 gift card of your choice,” which shows you how to enter that site’s giveaway. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31.


8 Comments

  1. sell it on craiglist for 17 w/o any fees…

    • Donna Freedman

      @Sipote: That’s possible, true, but not everyone is comfortable using Craigslist, or lives in an area where Craigslist operates.
      Incidentally, there is no fee on the discount card sites.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  2. I already spent mine! :) ! It’s a good thing.

  3. Hmm…if you’re so hard up for cash that selling your gift card would be a better deal than using it on one of the many everyday household items sold on Amazon at a deep discount (with free super saver shipping), then you really shouldn’t have purchased the gift card in the first place.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Bonnie: I agree in theory, but sometimes things happen that require cash, not scrip. Someone who’d planned to use the gift card down the road may find himself with serious short-term cash-flow problems. As in, “The bills are paid but we have $30 between us until payday” or “I lost my job and was turned down for unemployment — how are we going to keep going during the appeal process?”
      That $20 could go toward peanut butter and bread, or a week’s worth of bus tickets to get you to work.
      Additionally, if someone was given a gift card (of any denomination) this is a way to get much-needed money to keep him going.
      (As a rule, don’t you need to buy more than $20 worth in order to get free shipping?)
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  4. In theory, it’s a good idea to sell it. But, IMHO, it may take more time to get the whole thing set up and completed than is worth it! (I try to sell higher ticket items only. Better cost-benefit for me.)

    • Donna Freedman

      @Barb Friedberg: That may be true for those who aren’t in a financial pickle. But when you’re trying to, say, scrape together the rent…Well, it would be the worth the two or three minutes it would take to click on the site, sign up as a seller and enter one Amazon code.
      Object lesson for me, though: Next time I see one of those Amazon (or any other) GC deals on social media I’m grabbin’ it! When I saw it I was on deadline and thought, “I’ll get it later.” All it would have taken was about 90 seconds for me to sign on and buy — and yeah, I might have sold it just for the delight of getting a $8.40 return on a 90-second investment.
      Or maybe I just would have given it away some Friday.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  5. I was so disapointed I had to miss out on that FABULOUS deal. I was broke! But that will change because of awesome financial blogs like yours and JD’s (I found you from his site) I am learning. Tired of living paycheck to paycheck for no reason except feeling some need to spend my whole check & then being broke. I’m going to stop the cycle. I have always loved a great deal though.

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