Card reward tips to save on baby and bridal shower gifts

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Discounted gift cards, shopping portals, rewards stacking can cut your costs

 

For many
twenty and thirtysomethings, spring brings a flurry of invitations to bridal
and baby showers. And with coed Jack and Jill showers gaining popularity, these
events are no longer reserved for women.

The amount you spend on a shower
gift typically varies depending on your budget, your relationship to the
recipient and how much you’ve spent on related events. 

For instance, if you’ve already
bought an engagement gift and plan to get a wedding gift or if you’re shelling
out money to be in the wedding party, then it’s perfectly acceptable to choose
a less-expensive bridal shower gift.

But if
you’re reading this, then you probably want to give the nicest gift you can
while minimizing your out-of-pocket costs through credit card rewards or other
means. 

Here are five
strategies to consider: 

1. Buy discounted gift cards.

Say your co-worker registered at Williams-Sonoma. If you purchased a discounted
retailer gift card from a reputable online marketplace, you could purchase the
shower gift with that or just give the gift card and let the recipient shop.

“Instead of buying a gift card from Williams-Sonoma, I’ll see which of those
secondary gift card marketplaces have one,” says Andrea Woroch, consumer
savings expert at AndreaWoroch.com.

“I can save anywhere from about 5 to 25 percent. Buy it with your credit
card, so you’re earning rewards.”

You may also be able to exchange credit card rewards for gift cards.

However, in
either scenario, you may not be able to choose a gift card with a wedding or
baby-themed design.

And if you’re redeeming credit card points or cash back for gift cards, keep in mind that
some retailer gift cards will offer a better redemption value than others. For
instance, your credit card might charge 2,500 points for a $25 gift card at one
retailer, while another retailer card charges 2,900.

“One of my credit cards allows better point transfers to a Barnes &
Noble gift card over a Target gift card,” says Ashley Eneriz, a mom of almost three, finance writer
and blogger at MamaHustleRepeat.com.

“I went with the Barnes & Noble gift card, then just bought the books my
mom’s friend had on her Target registry.”

Tip: Some registries let you purchase items from other retailers and mark that item
as purchased so the recipient doesn’t get duplicates. If that’s not an option,
you can always notify the recipient. 

2. Order through a shopping portal.

If you’re buying shower gifts online, your credit card issuer may have a shopping
portal that offers extra rewards, or you can shop through an airline shopping
portal or a cash back portal such as Ebates.com or TopCashBack.com.

“That’s a super easy way to double down on your points,” Woroch says.

When Eneriz purchased shower gifts
through BN.com, she first stopped at Ebates to earn a small percentage of cash
back on her purchase. (As of April 2018, Ebates’ cash back rate for Barnes
& Noble was 2 percent.)

Dawn Allcot, a mom and business owner in West Babylon, New York, combined
several of these strategies when she purchased baby shower gifts for her niece
through the Toys R Us website.

“The bassinet was around $110, but I had a coupon for 20 percent off,” she says.
“Then I bought sheets that were like $20 or so and, again, 20 percent off.

“I used my Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a $50 gift card, so my total purchase
was reduced to $70. I then used my Chase rewards through the Chase portal for the
$70 balance to earn double rewards back.”

Tip: Online
shopping portals often have discount codes available to boost your savings, but
if you enter a discount code you found elsewhere at checkout, it may disqualify
you from earning cash back. 

3. Time your purchase.

You typically have some advance notice before a bridal or baby shower, so time your gift purchase strategically.

For example, if you’ve just opened a new credit card and need to spend a
certain amount within the first few months to earn the sign-up bonus, now’s the
time to hit the registry!

Also
look for ways to earn greater rewards with existing cards.

“Some
credit cards will offer bonus categories, and they may change monthly or
quarterly. Look at those recurring offers,” Woroch says. “Oftentimes you have
to opt in to get those points.”

Maybe your credit card is offering department stores as a bonus category that
month, or if you have an American Express or Chase card, check your online
account for offers with specific retailers. You’ll typically need to opt in for these
offers before your purchase, and you may be required to spend a minimum dollar
amount to qualify.

If you’re going in
on a group gift, which can be a good way to get nicer items without blowing
your budget, Woroch suggests putting the present on your card to get all the
rewards. “You can request everyone send you money through Venmo or PayPal or
just give you cash to cover the purchase,” Woroch says.

Tip: Only put a group gift on your credit card if you trust the people going in on the present will pay you back. 

4. Use a store card (but don’t get it
for a one-time purchase).

If you already have a Target Redcard or a credit card with another retailer,
you often can reap a greater discount by using a store credit card for a shower
gift.

But don’t sign up just for a one-time discount.

“I wouldn’t go out of my way to get a store card or any other cards offered by
a site where a bride might be registered,” Woroch says. “I would recommend you don’t do that unless you shop at that retailer often.”

Store cards aren’t as practical as more general use cards, and it’s easy to
forget about a bill if you almost never use that card. 


“I can save anywhere from about 5 to 25 percent off. Buy it with your credit card, so you’re earning rewards.”

5. Bonus tip for gift recipients: Get
a registry completion discount.

Some retailers offer newlyweds or new parents a discount for purchasing items
left on their registry.

Stephanie “Stephonee” Kibler,
founder of the blog Poorer
Than You
, used this strategy to place a massive order
for additional baby items, including a changing table and high chair from
Amazon.

“You don’t have to buy all the remaining items on your registry to get the
discount, but it is only good on a single order, and only on items in
the ‘baby’ category that are shipped by Amazon,” Kibler explains.

The non-Prime
completion discount for baby registries is 10 percent, but since someone gifted
her an Amazon Prime subscription, she got the higher Prime discount of 15
percent. 


Kibler estimates that the completion discount saved them $150, plus credit card
rewards and 3 percent cash back from Ebates. 

See related: How not to go broke as a wedding guest, 4 easy ways to stack your card rewards 





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