With so many benefits to love about gift cards, it’s easy to overlook the biggest benefit of all: gift cards make sticking to a budget much easier! I love using re-loadable gift cards and think they’re a great digital alternative to the “cash in the envelope” monthly budget method so popular with financial experts today. Plus, gift cards that can only be spent on certain essentials (food, gas, clothing, college supplies) are also a handy, fun way to teach college students how to manage their own budget. Now, with a new app called Gyft, you can get all these benefits and more. Gyft not only helps me manage my budget, keep track of my gift cards, and shop digitally for others, but Gyft also gives me more for each gift card I redeem or purchase.

The Gyft 411

1. What is Gyft?

Gyft is a new app-based gift card program that helps you maximize all the perks of receiving, giving, and using gift cards. If you use Passbook, Gyft syncs perfectly with it. The app/website has received high praise from Forbes, the Ellen Show, Gizmodo, and others.

2. How do I get started with Gyft?

It’s easy to get started with Gyft—just follow this how-to guide!

  1. Choose the app you want and download it to your phone.
  2. Register using your social media accounts or an email address.
  3. Now you can begin to instantly upload your plastic gift cards into the Gyft digital wallet.
  4. When you’re ready to use a gift card, just pull up the digital card version within Gyft, and click on "redeem."
  5. You can also use Gyft to purchase and send gift cards to friends—instantly.

3. What about earning and using points?

Points can be earned each time you shop with Gyft. You get 1 point for each $1 you spend with a credit/debit card, and you get 2 points for every $1 you spend with PayPal. If you use Bitcoin, every $1 spent earns you 3 points. Overall, each point equals $0.01 (100 points = $1). Once you accumulate enough points, you can spend them on anything.

How to save by using Gyft 

There are several great ways to save by using Gyft.

  • Keep all your gift cards with you while on the go: You can scan and store every gift card you receive and keep it safe in the Gyft app.
  • Get discounts by making Gyft card purchases: When you use Gyft to make purchases, you earn discounts off of your future purchases (you can also earn an extra 500 points just for making your first purchase on Gyft).
  • Keep shopping time to a minimum: Gyft makes gift card giving as easy as sending an email, text message, or Facebook email (with more than 200 retailers to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect gift card for each recipient).
  • Use Bitcoin for deeper discounts: If you’re a Bitcoin early adopter, using Bitcoin gives you even deeper discounts (if you don't know what Bitcoin is,  it’s the first digital currency—super interesting)!