Did you know you can buy discounted iTunes Gift Cards? They allow you to buy apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books at a discount. I've seen discounts between 5 and 25 percent, which means you get that same discount on the stuff you buy from the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the Mac App Store. I even found a place to buy discounted iTunes cards with Bitcoin.
There are a lot of different ways to get these discounted cards, and I've put together a guide to help you find navigate these deals.
Let's Get Physical. Or Digital.
Apple has both physical iTunes Gift Cards and iTunes Digital Gift Cards, and both are subject to discounts from a variety of retailers.
Physical iTunes Cards are printed out with a unique code hidden by a peel-off strip—that code is activated when you pay for the card. iTunes Digital Gift Cards are essentially just that activation code, usually delivered via email after you've bought the card.
When you buy a Digital Gift Card, you'll get a receipt almost immediately, but the activation code won't arrive for a few hours. Some retailers do a little CYA and say it can take up to 24 hours, but I've always received them within 2-4 hours no matter who I'm buying from.
Generally speaking, I like giving physical cards as gifts, but lots of people send digital cards as gifts, too. Either way, you can get both types at a discount.
The one place you can't get a discounted iTunes card is from Apple, either online or the company's fleet of Apple Stores. It's third party retailers who want to discount them because they are using them as loss leaders.
The following retailers regularly cycle through discounts: Ebay, Target, Staples, Office Depot, Home Depot, Toys-R-Us, Meijir, Costco, Best Buy, B&H, Safeway, and Dollar General. There are surely others—especially local and regional stores, but these are the ones I see the most.
Tip: Discounts come and go every few days and weeks. I follow @iTunesCardDeals on Twitter to keep up current offers. The operator of that account—which isn't affiliated with Apple—"Likes" only current offers, making it easy to see what's out there.
Ebay usually has the best discounted iTunes Gift Cards, but their deals last only a few days every few weeks. Ebay is offering the discounts through its subsidiary PayPal, at 15, 20, and sometimes 25 percent off. 20 percent is the most common discount, and once per quarter or so, the company will do 25 percent off.
Denominations are usually $100, meaning you can get a $100 iTunes Digital Gift Card for $85, $80, or $75, depending on the discount. Sometimes they'll offer $50 denominations, too. To take advantage, you'll need both an Ebay account and a PayPal account.
In addition to the Twitter account I mentioned above, you can subscribe to Ebay's email announcements or check Ebay's Gift Cards landing page for those deals. Here's what the email delivery looks like:
PayPal Digital Gifts Receipt
Target most commonly offers 10 percent off online and in-store—sometimes 15 percent, and sometimes buy one and get the second for 20 percent off (that's an effective discount of 10 percent). The big box retailer mixes it up between physical and digital gift cards.
Costco is probably the most frequent discounter, with discounts between 10 and 20 percent on physical iTunes Gift Cards. These cards are usually available in-store—sometimes online—and 15 percent is that retailer's most common discount. They also require a Costco membership.
And The Rest
Most of the other retailers I listed above offer discounts on physical gift cards. Some require in-store purchases, and some of them will mail them to you. Last Christmas I ordered some discounted cards for the staff here at TMO, and it took several weeks for them to be delivered, so plan in advance if this is what you're doing.
Gyft.com and RewardsPay used to sell iTunes Digital Gift Cards for Bitcoin, but neither is doing so currently. I went looking and found another retailer called Yotta Electronics that sells a variety of things for Bitcoin, including iTunes Cards. In addition to accepting Bitcoin, they sell at a slight discount, 5 percent in my experience.
This is a small company that I hadn't heard of before I went looking, so buyer beware. But, I've ordered a couple of cards from them and everything went as it should.
The last note is that Yotta Electronics keep only a few cards "in stock" at any given moment, but they add new ones once they run through that stock.
My biggest piece of advice is to simply look for discounted cards and keep your account loaded with credits. That means more often than not that you have to think ahead and buy before you need them. If you do so, you can save a considerable amount of money.