This guest post comes from Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of Card Hub, a leading website that helps consumers find the best credit cards and save money on gift cards.
How do you spot a shoeaholic? Well, if you’re the type of person who needs a separate closet just for your shoes, you’re a shoeaholic. If your shoe budget is bigger than your food budget, you’re a shoeaholic. If the Most Interesting Man Alive and Chuck Norris ask where you go shoe shopping, you’re a shoeaholic. The real question, though, is what separates a functioning shoeaholic from one who will let their habit consume them and, most importantly, their bank account?
The answer: The right credit card and knowing your way around a gift card exchange. Let me explain.
The Right Credit Card
Plastic can indeed be a shoeaholic’s best friend, but not because it’ll let you buy those Jimmy Choos now and worry about the bill later. Racking up a bunch of debt is actually a surefire way to ensure that your shoe habit dies quickly. Instead, the right credit card can effectively subsidize every purchase that you make.
Ever since the economic downturn, credit card companies have been offering sweet signing bonuses to people with excellent credit who open new accounts. They do so to increase the stability of their customer base, but you probably care less about the reasoning behind this trend than how you can benefit from it. Well, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the best initial bonus around, as it gives you 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 during the first three months, which can be redeemed for $400 in cash. That’s one pair of Stuart Weitzmans or a couple of new pairs from Tory Burch, and just imagine the damage you could do at Payless!
Complementing the Sapphire Preferred Card’s initial bonus with a card that offers attractive ongoing rewards on shoe purchases can supercharge your savings:
- Blue Cash Preferred from American Express: Offers 3% cash back at department stores in addition to 6% at supermarkets, 3% at gas stations, and 1% on everything else; you don’t have to worry about the $75 annual fee for the first two years either, thanks to its $150 annual bonus.
- Credit Card Tied to Your Favorite Store: If, like most shopaholics, you’re addicted to the free shipping and friendly customer service from Zappos.com, you could open the Zappos.com Credit Card in order to earn 3 points per $1 on Zappos.com purchases without paying an annual fee. If Ann Taylor is more your style, you could get the Ann Taylor Credit Card and benefit from the 5 points per $1 spent at Ann Taylor or Ann Taylor Loft that it offers, a 15% discount the first time you use your card at an Ann Taylor store, and a birthday bonus. We could go on and on about the rewarding store-affiliated credit cards that you could open, but you get the point.
Gift Card Exchanges
An online gift card exchange is a place where consumers can go to unload unwanted gift cards and buy their favorite gift cards at a discount. These sites therefore present a rare opportunity for shoeaholics to up their buying power or replenish their bank accounts after a major splurge.
For example, check out the savings currently available on gift cards for major shoe brands/retailers through Card Hub’s gift card exchange:
- Frederick’s of Hollywood: 33% off
- The Limited: 28% off
- PacSun: 25% off
- JC Penny: 20% off
You can therefore save a decent amount of money every time you buy a pair of shoes simply by planning ahead and looking for a good deal on a gift card before finding a good deal on your footwear. The fact that gift cards you buy at a discount are indistinguishable from those you buy at full price means that you can become a really generous gift giver as well, without even altering how much you spend.
Considering the fact that gift cards are also the most requested type of present in recent years, according to the National Retail Federation, you’re also likely to end up with a few you don’t like during the holiday season or when your birthday rolls around. Well, selling them for cash to use however you please is certainly preferable to letting them collect dust in your drawer.
It’s very important that you use these saving tips to remain within a specified budget for shoe shopping, and all other spending for that matter. People are racking up debt at a record clip, and not only will building a large balance inevitably cost you a lot in interest, but it will also make you feel guilty every time you look at a new pair of shoes. In other words, aim to be a fiscally responsible shoeaholic so your wallet can feel good while you look great!