A dollar is a dollar, right? However, gift cards may be worth a lot more than what they say on the front. And if you play your gift cards right, you might end up slashing the cost of gas on your next fill-up.

KSL Producer Sloan Schrage is a bit of a vinyl connoisseur. And as hard as it is to say goodbye to vintage high fidelity gear, he has decided it is time to upgrade from his 1980s stereo system to the latest and greatest. And for Sloan, that means just slightly less vintage.

“I’ve decided to move from the ’80s to the ’90s,” he said.

Sloan knows exactly what he wants — Pioneer PL-930 direct drive turntable. It looks the same as his PL-720 turntable, only it is in black – thus matching his ’90s stereo components.

But the only place he can seem to find it is on eBay, where it’ll run him $150. Sloan said he was contemplating the purchase when an opportunity presented itself.

“Just walking past the gift card aisle in Smith’s, I saw there was an eBay gift card,” he said.

Sloan knows that when you buy stuff at Smith’s, dollars spent add up to points. And those points get you discounted gas. Save up 100 points, that’s 10 cents off a gallon at a Smith’s gas pump. Two hundred points gets you 30 cents off, 400 points is a 40-cent discount, all the way up 1,000 points or $1 off for each gallon. And sometimes, the grocery store chain runs specials where certain items earn more points.

“I looked up and noticed there was four times point (promotion) if I bought a gift card,” Sloan said.

Yeah, so $150 in eBay gift cards equals 150 points, multiply by four:

“Six hundred points — that’s 60 cents off,” Sloan calculated. “I thought, well that’s a great way to save a few bucks on gas.”

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We already know you buy gift cards. Time and again, they are at the top of the lists for what people give and receive for birthdays, holidays, teacher appreciation days. But buy them for yourself, and you have yourself an inflation buster.

Your next date night, maybe a restaurant gift card? Your summer vacation, maybe an airline gift card? Heck, they even have gift cards for gas stations.

Smith’s holds 4x points promotions periodically through the year. But the chain does offer 2x points for gift purchases every day.

It’s not the only retailer with loyalty program that earns benefits for shoppers. Harmons Grocery has one where you earn free stuff, including fuel points. At Fresh Market, you can earn cash discounts. Wherever you shop, buying gift cards for purchases you are planning to make is certainly worth considering.

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