If you’ve got kids in school or attend church, you’ve probably heard of SCRIP (Substitute Cash–Redeem In Person). It’s an easy way for non-profit groups to raise funds by selling gift cards. For each gift card sold, the non-profit will receive a percentage of the face value of the card back from the SCRIP clearinghouse. Depending upon the retailer, schools can earn as little as 1/2% to as much as 25% of the gift card value (the norm is usually in the 2-5% range, though).
One of the things I found out when I started buying SCRIP is that it’s a great way to budget! When I did the Super Saver Mom story for Channel 5 back in 2009, you can see me with gift cards at the checkout. I had $150 in SCRIP gift cards to Festival Foods and even mentioned the total for that huge trip was going to be pretty close to my monthly limit.
Some of my favorites include:
- Kwik Trip 10% back
- Lou’s Bootery: 10% back
- Gymboree: 13% back
There are literally hundreds of choices for stores, both online and brick-and-mortar stores, national retailers and many local stores participate, too. If your non-profit doesn’t have a list handy, you can always check the websites for some of the SCRIP companies like Great Lakes Scrip for a list of companies and what percentage they donate.
The hardest part is remembering to order and get started so you have your gift cards set aside BEFORE you need them. Depending on the gift card you want, there may be a few days lag time because the non-profit has to order them for you, but they do have many popular ones in stock, too. If you have a budget of $400 for groceries for the month, buy $400 worth of SCRIP to the grocery stores that you frequent. When those gift cards are used up, you’re done shopping for the month. And your non-profit of choice earns a little back, too!
Back in 2001, I saw a news report that mentioned a website where you could earn points for gift cards called My Points. I checked it out and found it was a match made in heaven. This April I celebrated ten years with the site. I have earned 557,173 points over that time. That’s a LOT of gift cards!
There are many ways to earn MyPoints:
- Reading email. Most emails will earn you 5 points if you click to visit the website mentioned.
- Shopping. By starting at the MyPoints site, you can earn between 1 and 20 points per dollar spent depending upon the retailer selected.
- Playing Games. The site will match your first $20 deposit and you can earn 50 points PLUS 5 points per dollar spent. Games can be played for as little as FREE (daily Free Play) or 75 cents and not only can you actually win cash, you can earn points with the game website which is run by World Winner. That’s right–you can earn rewards not only for My Points by playing online games, you can earn rewards for World Winner, too. It’s legal double dipping!
- Downloading the Toolbar which will net you 100 points. You can also activate the Point Finder. You’ll get a notification on the toolbar if you go to a site where you could be earning MyPoints.
- Searching the Web can earn you a maximum of 75 points per month
- Registrations at other partner websites or Subscriptions to things like book clubs
- Taking surveys or completing short questionnaires
- Bzz Agent rewards come in the form of My Points
- and more.
After registering and filling out the necessary demographic information, you choose how much communication you want from My Points. Obviously the more open you are, the more contact you’ll get from them.
You’ll begin to get emails. You earn 5 points per email if you visit the site mentioned. That’s all I did for almost a year and you think it wouldn’t add up but it did; I was able to redeem my accumulated points for a couple of $25 gift certificates (Target and Amazon.com, of course!)
There are tons of earning websites out there now and I’ll be honest, I don’t use My Points as much as I used to. But I still find find the Granddaddy of earning websites a valuable resource to earn rewards for things I am already doing (shopping, playing games, etc). You might want to check it out, too.
I used to think giving gift certificates was a cop-out. Until I got a lot older and wiser and realized that a carefully chosen gift card can be more thoughtful as a poorly-thought out gift of a singing trout (sorry–family joke crept in here).
This time of year, many retailers have gift card bonus buys. Which means you can get a reward for your purchase. Sometimes it’s a meal, or sometimes an extra gift card is issued. It is important to note that there might be an expiration date on the bonus gift card so make sure you are aware of it when you make your purchase.
Here’s a list of some national and local places that will give you a bonus when you buy gift cards. When it comes to national or chain-store deals, results may vary (meaning they may or may not offer the deal listed). I suggest calling ahead to make sure since I did not have the time to call every place listed.
- Applebee’s — Purchase $50 in gift cards, get a $10 bonus card (order in-store only)
- Arby’s – Buy a $20 gift card, get a FREE Combo meal
- The Children’s Place — Get a $10 e-gift card for every $40 you spend on e-gift cards
- Culver’s — Get a free double deluxe value basket for every $25 in gift cards you buy
- EXXON Mobil: Purchase $100 in gas cards, get a $10 bonus (thanks Michelle!)
- Fajita Republic: 50% more gift card w/printable coupon. Example: Buy a $30 gift card for only $20. Or Buy a $30 or more gift card and get a $10 gift card free w/Green Bay Press Gazette coupon in 12/15 paper
- Fazoli’s – Buy $20 gift card, get a $5 bonus card
- Fuddruckers (Appleton)— Spend $25 on gift cards, get a $5 bonus card
- Gap/Old Navy — 10% off gift cards when you use your Gap credit card to purchase and use coupon
- Grazies: $25 gift card at Grazies and they are giving an additional $10 bonus gift card (to be used between January 1, 2012 and February 29, 2012) (thanks Dan!)
- Half Price Books (Appleton)— get a $5 coupon with each $25 gift card you purchase
- Happy Joes: Buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus gift card
- Hooters: Buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus card; purchase $50 gift card, you get a $10 bonus
- IHOP — Give a $25 IHOP gift card, get $5.00 off your next visit
- Jo to Go: Spend $30 on gift cards, get a $5 bonus card
- LL Bean – Buy $50 worth of Gift Cards (or general purchases) and get$10 Bonus Gift Card
- Los Banditos: Buy $50 gift card get a $5 bonus
- Machine Shed Restaurant: Purchase $50 or more in gift cards and get a $10 gift card bonus (order in-store only)
- Marcus Movie Theaters: Purchase a gift card of $25 or more and receive a Buy One – Get One movie ticket and a coupon for two free admissions to Marcus Theatres Kids Dream Winter Film Series Powered by American Family Insurance beginning February 4, 2012 (Thanks Becky!)
- McDonalds: Buy $10 gift card and get a FREE McCafe beverage (thanks Michelle!)
- Melting Pot of Appleton: purchase $100 in gift cards and receive a $20 gift coupon for The Melting Pot of Appleton. Gift coupon valid January 1 to March 31. Or stop in for $100 in gift cards on Saturdays or Sundays and select from either the $20 gift coupon or enjoy a free lunch (thanks Becky!)
- Moe’s Southwest Grill — Buy $25 Gift Card, get a $5 bonus card (not available online, so call first)
- Noodles & Co. — Buy $25 in gift cards, get a card for a free sandwich duo
- Outback Steakhouse (Appleton)— Buy $100 worth of gift cards, get a $20 bonus gift card
- Papa Murphy’s: Get a free cookie dough when you buy $20 in Papa Murphy’s gift cards. Available now through 12/31/11 at participating US locations
- Pullmans (Appleton): $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus gift card
- Red Robin: Buy $25 – $45 gift card and get a $5 bonus card
- Surfin Bird Skateshop: Spend $100 and get a $20 gift certificate
- Taco Bell — Buy a $20 gift card in store, get a free taco flatbread sandwich combo
- TGI Friday’s (Appleton) — Spend $25 on gift cards, get a $5 bonus card
- Tilted Kilt: Buy $50 in gift cards and get a $5 bonus
- Tucson’s: Spend $50 get a $10 gift card
- Uno Chicago Grill — Buy a $25 gift card, get a $5 bonus voucher
If you know of any other bonus deals in the Green Bay area, please feel free to contact me and I’ll update the list.
SaveMore Daily has a $10 gift card to Subway stores for only $5.00. Here are the details:
- First-time buyers only.
- Offer not valid for purchase with referral or sign-up credit.
- Voucher will be available for redemption on 11/7, 12pm.
- Please allow 5 business days for shipping of gift card.
- Limit one per household.
Gift cards are always great ideas for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, Secret Santa exchanges at work and more.
As with any daily deal, make sure you read all rules and restrictions before you buy.