How to Buy Everything You Need For Less


I’ve been trying to do a post like this for a while–it was actually one of the main reasons I wanted to start blogging. But I forgot that I love to write and got sidetracked with recipes and workouts and documenting our mundane weekend trips. Plus I had to get my husband involved, since he’s the keeper of the Sweet Family Discounts, and he can be hard to track down.

My husband and I both have expensive taste–my grocery store of choice is Whole Foods, I love shoes, pricey workout classes and 10$ green juices and John is more at home in luxury hotels and with VIP concert and event tickets. I can’t complain, but between a Navy and an analyst salary, we also can’t outright afford them. Yet, each trip we take our hotels get nicer, our seats get closer (we were second row George Strait in Austin!) and our reservations get more exclusive (anyone heard of the French Laundry? We’re going in two weeks).

On a limited budget, with expenses like a mortgage and daycare, how can we afford to splurge? It’s simple. John is an incredible consumer. He has an ability to find deals and collect credit card points that allows us to both save money every day and get these rooms, flights and tickets at a heavy discount. I asked John to give me some tricks to write about and he sat down and wrote an entire post. This first installment of Sweet Deals is about something everyone can do daily to save a little money. Enjoy!


The Sale That NEVER Ends!

It took a lot of convincing. A lot. The walls were 12 ft of Teal. “Charleston” Teal they call it. And it was paired with brown.
A little over two years ago Mollie and I jumped into home ownership. We did as much research as we could, asked our poor realtor a thousand questions (ok, I did most of the asking, while Mollie tried to figure out the quickest way back to San Diego) and ultimately settled because the realtor took us to lunch in a bar/restaurant by our soon-to-be house and it had a Nebraska flag hanging over the door! It was meant to be! **Side note, John is from Nebraska. Enough said.
Our home was built in 2003 and by no means was a fixer upper; however, as everyone knows, the abundant projects are inevitable. First order of business was to paint–the whole house! Many paint chips later, we found our color.
Coming from a 500 sq ft, one bedroom apartment in San Diego, we did not have the home ownership stuff that most people accumulate over time. The Lowe’s trips were getting frequent and expensive. I am very grateful that Lowes offers a 10% military discount, and I was literally saving hundreds of dollars, but I was trying to do a little better.
After reaching out to the google machine, I stumbled upon a website called
Discounted gift cards??  I, like many other people, thought that it must be a scam or a joke.
Gift Card Granny is a site that tracks multiple other sites that actually sell discounted gift cards.
There are a lot, and I think we have frequented just about all of them:
To name a few.
Discounted Gift cards are a big business. Billions-of-dollars-a-year-big. The Sweet family has literally spent tens of thousands of dollars buying these gift cards.
A quick overview: the stores buy gift cards from people like you or me. Maybe Grandma got you a gift card for Christmas that you didn’t want, or you returned something to Lowes and got merchandise credit and no longer want to shop there.
There are two types of cards they sell. Physical and Electronic (more on this later) and literally every store that sells gift cards (everything from Home Depot to Gap) will be available.
Say it is a lazy Saturday morning and you are shopping at There is a “buy one get one sale” and your purchase ends up coming to 87.32. You could then hop on over to your favorite discounted gift card website and they might have a Gap gift card that is selling for 82.38 at 15% off, you noticed it is electronic (most of these stores ship the electronic gift cards almost immediately, or within the hour) you order it, and BAM another 15% saved!
That is the great thing about DGC, its like a stackable coupon that also acts as a payment.
I know your mind is reeling right now, the savings are endless!
The Do and Dont’s of Gift Carding
  • Regardless of how good of a deal you are getting on that $500 Gap Gift card, unless you have a huge purchase coming up, you aren’t really saving any more if your sitting on a huge gift card for months. Don’t worry, there will be more.
  • The wedding gift registry is already picked over, and you don’t want to give cash–DGC probably aren’t the best choice. Most of the cards are mechanise credit and the PIN numbers on the back have been scratched off. Unless the person you are giving this to knows just how thrifty you are, this probably isn’t the best gift idea.
  • Make sure you are paying close attention to the Electronic or Physical part. They do a very good job of letting you know which kind you will be getting. Physical gift cards do take a week or so to get there, so the big sale might already be over.
  • First dates–buying a 12% Ruth Chris Steakhouse gift card might be a little awkward when you whip it out to pay with.
  • Lots of stores are owned by one company and the gift cards can be interchanged between the two. For example Gap, Baby Gap, Athletica, Old Navy and Banana Republic gift cards are interchangeable. As are Pottery Barn and William Sonoma. And they might be selling at drastically different percentages off, which is an easy way to save an extra couple of bucks.
  • Gift cards are easily misplaced, save them in a drawer where you won’t lose them. Preferably not your junk drawer.

Lastly, every once in a while you might get a gift card that, for whatever reason, is $0. All of these companies have pretty good customer service, and a guarantee policy says for 100 days they guarantee the amount. Usually a quick call or email and you will be refunded or they will send you a new card.


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3 Responses to How to Buy Everything You Need For Less

  1. Deasy Noel January 21, 2016 at 3:38 am #

    Great tip! I’ve recently just heard of discounted gift cards and I wasn’t sure how legit they actually were. Good to know, and I might be needing them in the future!

  2. callie January 23, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    Love this! It’s always good to save some money.

  3. Carla January 23, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Great tips 🙂

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