Thursday, July 4, 2013

$500 Visa Gift Cards at Parthmark in Teaneck - Free Money

Free Money - Teaneck Style

Update 7/4 - Reader SW astutely pointed out that Pathmark is part of the company known as A&P.  They sell under the following labels:

Food Basics USA
Food Emporium
Super Fresh

Look out for the $500 visa gift cards in all of their stores.  Hey, you never know.

In addition, $500 visa gift cards have been found at Stop & Shop stores.

As part of my continual research for free money in Teaneck, NJ I have been looking for $500 gift cards at grocery stores.  Even before I moved I asked a couple people to look out for them.  Thanks IB for checking it out for me.

I went to Pathmark on 80 New Bridge Road in Bergenfield and found the Holy Grail.  Pathmark stocks  $500 Visa gift cards that can be bought with a credit card.  The most amazing part for me was that I saw veyr intelligent people walking right past them and not buying them.  There were a couple racks of them.  How could this be?

This is what you should look for.

As you can see from my online account, the purchase has been categorized as a grocery purchase

Who Cares?

I'm making quite a fuss about this, but why do I care and more importantly why should you care?  The answer is simple, this is an easy opportunity to have a free lunch.

There are credit cards that have special cashback rates for grocery stores.  The two big ones are American Express Blue Preferred and American Express Blue Everyday.

The Blue Everyday card gets you 3% cashback at grocery stores up to $6,000 a year.  If you buy one single $500 gift card there is a $6 fee.  You will get $15 in cashback so a net of $9 or 1.8% cashback.  A nice haul, but not incredible.

The Math for the year.  3% of $6,000 is $180.  $72 of fees brings it down to $108.  Probably not worth your time unless you go to Pathmark and Walmart anyways.

The Blue Preferred gets you 6% cashback on groceries up to $6,000 a year but with a $75 annual fee.  One $500 gift card gets you $30, a net of $24 or 4.8% cashback.  That is very exciting!

The math for the year.  6% of $6,000 is $360.  Annual brings it down to $285 (I got the sign up bonus so annual fee doesn't bother me).  $72 of fees for buying the gift cards and your total haul is $213 per card for not much work.  I have 2 cards so that will be $426 a year extra.  Not too shabby!

Using the Gift cards

What should you do with the gift cards once you buy them?

  • Use them like a credit card.  
    • You are now getting 4.8% cashback everywhere up to $6000 a year!
    • Gift cards can be annoying to keep track of as they start to get in the $20 or less range.  You also want to hold on to them in case you return anything because it usually will go right back on that card.

  • Cash them out with Bluebird at Walmart
    • These cards are issued by Metabank so you can add a pin to the gift card by calling up (the last 4 digits of the account number should also work but I haven't tried it yet).
    • Once you have a pin you can bring it to Walmart and add to your Bluebird account and pay your credit card bill with it. If you bring two cards at a time you have just made $48

Maximizing The Deal - Easy There Cowboy

There are natural limits to this.  You get 6% back on up to $6,000 at grocery stores, after that you only get 1%.  

I have two Blue Preferred cards, one for me and one for my wife.  I now buy one $500 gift card every month.  Once I max out the $6000, I will begin to use my Blue Everyday card for my grocery purchases and get 3% on groceries + over $400 a year!

If that gets maxed out too (life is expensive but unlikely) I will switch my grocery purchases to the Bank of America Cash Rewards, which I normally only use for gas, but gives you back 2.2% at groceries if you have a Bank of America Checking Account.

Don't be an idiot - don't buy $6,000 worth of gift cards in one month.  You have the same $6,000 max for the year whether you buy $500 at a time or $3,000.  If you don't live in Teaneck, I would feel comfortable buying $1,000-$1,500 at a time to avoid extra trips and to minimize the chances that I've already cleared their shelves, jk.