The gift you really wanted, on your budget


If you’ve ever bought or sold second-hand clothing, electronics, furniture, video games, toys, or anything else, you’ve participated in the second-hand economy. And you’re not alone! 82% of Canadians traded at least one good through the second-hand economy in 2016.

When most people think of the second-hand economy, they think they can utilize it to drum up extra cash to use towards a financial goal, usually with the added benefit of de-cluttering their home at the same time. It’s also a great way to save money on an item you would like to own, but is out of your budget at its regular retail price.

But there is one way use the second-hand economy in order to get the brand-new items you want, especially, right after the holidays: gift cards.

Whether you want to do a little discount shopping for yourself, or you want extra cash on hand, Kijiji is a great place to buy and sell gift cards to help you meet your financial goals while keeping your budget in check.

Discount gift cards were my original money-saving hack

When I had graduated from my Bachelors degree and was carrying the $20,000 student loan balance that inspired Money After Graduation in the first place, my budget was tight. There was no wiggle room for extraneous purchases of any kind. The problem was, I still really loved new clothes and dining out.

I couldn’t afford to save money, pay my debt, and go shopping, so for a long time I went without. Until I realized I could still have all the new clothes and lattes I wanted, so long as I was strategic about their acquisition.

I found many people on Kijiji were selling gift cards, usually at 10-25% below face value. There’s a 66% jump in searches for gift cards on Kijiji in January, which means there’s plenty of people looking to buy, sell, or trade their holiday gift cards.

This gave me away to afford the brand-new items I wanted, at a fraction of the cost. If I wanted something expensive from a retailer, I slowly acquired gift cards in different dollar increments over weeks or months until I could afford it. For example, if there was a dress at Aritizia that cost $100, I’d spend the next few weeks picking up $25 or $50 Aritzia gift cards for 10-20% off their face value until I had enough to make my purchase.

I often took it a step even further, and only used my gift cards during major sales. Sephora has a semi-annual VIB sale that gives members 20% off. When I shop this sale twice a year with Sephora gift cards I bought for 10% off, my actual savings is 30%. It takes some planning, but if you spend as much as I do on make-up, it’s worth it.

How to buy discounted gift cards

Depending what store you’re hoping to shop at, finding a discounted gift card on the second-hand economy can vary in difficulty. However, January is always the best month to find everything they’re looking for, because so many people are trying to unload unwanted gift cards they received as gifts over the holidays. For some people, they received a gift card to a store they don’t shop at, but for others, you can simply make cash for that Christmas credit card bill. Alternatively, if you have gift cards of your own you want to unload, you can look for someone willing to do a swap with a card of the same value.

When looking for gift cards on Kijiji, search for cards priced 10-25% less than their face value. You should always get a discount when buying a gift card second-hand. If you wanted to pay full value, you’d purchase one directly from the store.

Here are Kijiji tips you can take to ensure you’re getting what you pay for:

  • Set up an alert on Kijiji (your desktop or app) based on the gift card that you’re looking for. This will notify you of sellers in your area so you can easily inquire
  • After using the platform to agree on a price and place to meet, complete the transaction in person. While meeting up you can send the money through cash or PayPal.
  • My biggest piece of advice is to meet at the store the gift card is for. this way, you can have a cashier verify the gift card balance before you hand over your money to the seller.

How to make money selling unwanted gift cards

Likewise, if you’re looking to put some extra cash in your budget, you can sell unwanted gift cards you’ve received. To do so, follow the same rules above: list the card at a discount and meet the buyer at the store where a clerk can verify the balance. You might hate to part with a $25 gift card for only $20, but remember that $20 of cash is more useful to your debt repayment or savings goals than a gift card you won’t use!

The firsthand impact of the Second-Hand Economy

The second-hand economy is having a growing impact on how Canadians manage their money and their possessions. The secondhand market is currently estimated at $29 billion!

More than half of Canadians use the money they save through the second-hand economy to make everyday purchases. They earned an average $1,037 from the secondhand marketplace in 2016, and saved another $843 by making purchases there. That’s $1,880 that you can potentially add to your budget by participating in the secondhand economy!

Discounted gift cards are my favorite way to get new items by way of the second-hand economy, but I’m no stranger to buying everything from clothes to baby toys on Kijiji, too. The second-hand economy has earned and saved me thousands over the years… especially with the discounted gift cards!

This post was sponsored by Kijiji, but all the views and opinions expressed (and money-saving hacks!) are my own.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Oooh, thanks for letting us know about this! I’ve heard about people saving money like crazy on this stuff. You can double dip and purchase these with a rewards credit card, and also get money off your purchase with the discounted card in the first place.

    I might have to give this a go. 🙂

  • Nice post! I think that when you have gift cards for places you usually shop at, it’s a win-win situation. I definitely want to get better at selling gift cards that I won’t use (because they aren’t for places I need anything from) and buying gift cards for stores that are a good fit.


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