Saving by taking advantage of gift cards.

Popular Gift Cards in a UK store.
Popular Gift Cards in a UK store.

We live in an App world where there is an app for everything. A lot of popular apps have a free lite version and a full featured premium version. I recently I fell in love with the Private Diary app and decided to purchase the premium version which is available in the Play Store for a reasonable price of $1.99. Unfortunately because of bank charges and government tax I ended up paying $4.04 with these charges exceeding the cost of the app itself.

The proliferation of virtual goods like songs, apps, T.V shows and eBooks has led to an increase in the number of micro-transactions for the average user who may end up paying more in bank charges and transaction charges than the original cost of the item. This ends up increasing the actual cost of the virtual item.  One easy way of avoiding this pain is to purchase a gift card from your favorite store and using it to make purchases. Gift cards are especially useful if you intend to make repeat purchases at your chosen store.



For example if you are into music and you decide to buy your MP3 tracks from a single MP3 track typically costs  $0.99. If you were to buy 8 tracks on 8 separate occasions you will end up paying:

8($0.99+$2.05)= $24 for the music assuming your bank charges are $2 per transaction like mine. The formula for total cost is:  N(Cost+Bank Charges) where N is the number of transactions. If you were to make such purchases your transaction fees would greatly exceed the cost of the music itself.

If you were to purchase an Amazon gift card ,instead, you would only have to pay the transaction fees and government taxes once and only pay the listed price for subsequent purchases. Using the example above, you can make use of an $8 Amazon gift card and use it to purchase the 8 songs as multiple transactions.

Card purchasing expenses: $8+2.05=$10.05

Purchase expenses: 8x$0.99+$2.05=$10. 

This results in saving of $24-$10=$14. Which translates to a saving of 140%! Which is, I am sure you would agree, huge.


  • You need to anticipate your monthly needs and make sure you purchase gifts cards that will adequately cover these expenses without wasting your money by having some of it unnecessarily tied up in gift cards. You can use your past expenditure patterns in various stores to decide which gift cards to buy and the amounts on these gift cards.
  • You should only buy gift cards for those shops that you frequent.
  • As usual some gift cards are difficult to purchase or redeem if you live in Zimbabwe. For example Google Play gift cards need you to apply some work-arounds. We will look at these in more detail in a future article.
  • Some gift cards can only be purchased using PayPal. For example, Ebay Gift cards and we all know that PayPal does not like Zimbabweans at all.

Happy shopping and saving.

Picture from Cult of Android.


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