th6 Gift Card Exchange Day: A chance to fix Christmas.Show of hands: How many of you have received an inappropriate gift card at Christmas?

Maybe it’s a steakhouse card from the grandparent who doesn’t understand what “vegan” means, or a gift card to a store where you’d never willingly shop.

Or perhaps a well-meaning pal sent a movie theater gift card, but your new apartment is an hour-long bus ride away from that particular chain.

The easy answer: Sell the gift card on the secondary market.

The best day to do it: Dec. 26, aka Gift Card Exchange Day

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XMAS BLOGGIFT MOM FIN 300x230 wants to give you a $100 Amazon card.A couple of dozen bloggers were given the chance to participate in the Holiday Sweepstakes. I’m happy to be among them because of the possibility that one of my readers will be chosen as the winner of a $100 gift card to

The contest is designed to call attention to the site’s holiday gift guides, which offer ideas for presents for moms, dads, teens and younger kids. This being, online coupon codes are included with each gift idea.

Among the four holiday gift guides, my favorite is – naturally – the mom page. That’s because it includes a class of gifts I hope to see under the tree: skin-care items.

It’s cold and dry here in southcentral Alaska, which is hard on the skin. Looking at the moms’ gift guide I see a three-pack of fragranced body butters from Sephora. The  accompanying coupon codes bring free shipping and a gratis “deluxe sample” item. (Hint: Those small sample items are obviously good for travel but they also make very nice last-minute stocking stuffers.)

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th1 Interested in a free gift card?Looking to save money during your holiday shopping? Gift Card Granny can help. The aggregator site finds the best deals among the many discounted gift card resellers.

Shopping with a discounted gift card is like having a coupon without an expiration date. You can save anywhere from 2% to 20%, and sometimes more, depending on the retailer.

Gift cards are available for special purchases but also for everyday wants and needs such as groceries, gasoline, toiletries, vitamins, fast food, pet supplies and movie tickets. (My midnight movie jaunts — and their attendant buckets of kettle corn — are a bit more affordable this way.)

I shop with discounted gift cards all year round. Just about any time you check my wallet you’ll find at least one card; right now I have three (Walgreens, McDonald’s and Cinemark). However, these cards are particularly useful during the holidays — and Gift Card Granny is sponsoring a giveaway of a $25 gift card, to help defray your shopping costs.

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th1 Buy yourself a merry little Christmas?Fewer of us plan to “self-gift” this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Of the 6,415 U.S. consumers surveyed by the NRF, only 57% will buy themselves somethin’ pretty, compared to 59% in 2012.

Still, that’s quite a few folks assured of getting at least one gift they really, really like.

Nothing wrong with wanting to treat yourself, especially given some of the prices on Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and every other sale from now until Dec. 24. Not that every “sale” price is a good one; in fact, some aren’t really good deals at all.

But if you’ve been tracking prices, especially for bigger-ticket items like technology and appliances, then I can think of only one reason not to self-gift.

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card129 300x187 A pair of Swag Code Extravaganzas, starting Friday.The Swagbucks rewards program plans extra earning opportunities, starting at 5 a.m. PST on Black Friday. On that day you’ll see seven codes for a total of 50 Swagbucks.

I’ll be posting any that I can catch on the Surviving and Thriving Facebook page. (Hint: I won’t be up at 4 a.m. Alaska Time.)

Since I can’t promise to get them all, I suggest you also check the Swagbucks Facebook page from time to time during the day.

The second code party takes place on Cyber Monday. The start time hasn’t yet been announced, but the reward has: codes worth 60 SBs.

Note to those using the Shop & Earn portion of the Swagbucks site: Watch for double and even triple SBs for some retailers. Specifically, triple points happen from 5 to 9 a.m. PST on Black Friday and from 6 to 9 a.m. PST on Cyber Monday.

And if you’re not yet a member? Join in the next few weeks and you might win a bonus of 500 SBs. Here’s how:

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