Post-Christmas Shopping Tips


I haven’t even finished clearing the sea of ripped holiday wrapping paper from the living room floor and I’m already being flooded with post-Christmas sale reminders.

My email inbox is filled with alerts heralding major day after Christmas deals. Macy’s sent me a link to a WOW! Pass, which allows me to take $10 off my purchase of $25 or more. JCPenney is offering the same deal, while Old Navy is selling women’s jeans for just $15 all-day tomorrow.

In addition to the after-Christmas discounts, retailers are poised for an onslaught of shoppers looking to redeem gift cards they’ve collected in the last 24 hours.

I was fortunate to get a few of the convenient cards this morning, and I’m sure it won’t take me long to burn through them. However, not everyone bleeds through gift cards as fast as I do. The downside to spending just a fraction of the cards’ worth over a long period of time is that it’s harder to keep track of them and their value.

Unless you have an iPhone.

Yes, there are apps for keeping track of store gift cards.

For a mere 99 cents you can purchase the “Gift Cards Balance Tracker” app. It’s easy to use, though you have to complete some legwork (or, in this case, finger work) in order to get things going. You start by entering the store’s name and card value, and then as you use the card to make purchases you enter the transaction amounts. The app does the math for you, so you know how much you have left on the card after you redeem part of it.

Another 99-cent app, which caters to gift card recipients, is called “Gift Card.” This app does a bit more than simply act as a calculator. Rather, you take photos of your gift cards and any receipts you get when you redeem the cards. The app allows you to store the information in a file which you can then email to yourself.

For frugalistas with gift cards, consider a free app called “Wildcard.” It allows you to create a barcode for each of your gift cards. When it comes time to redeem one, you just take out your phone so the cashier can scan the barcode instead of your gift card.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.