I remember when I first got bit by the Bitcoin bug. I had been interested for some time but it wasn’t until this little digital currency reached parity with silver (at the time 30 USD) that I decided to jump in. At the time, I could buy Alpaca socks and donate to Fr33 Aid but not much else.
Fast forward to 2016. It’s now easier than ever before to not only spend bitcoin but actually save money while doing so. Thanks to innovators like Gyft, Fold App, Airbitz, and Purse.io, and not to mention the merchants who want to “hodl” bitcoin, the barrier to bitcoin entry has less friction and more incentives to use bitcoin over dollars.
My first favorite way to save money with bitcoin is by supporting local merchants who give discounts when you pay with bitcoin. When browsing a merchant directory, like the one featured in the Airbitz app, you can find businesses that believe in bitcoin and show that support by offering discounts. This has the added benefit of bolstering the bitcoin ecosystem because you are using bitcoin with merchants who want to hold onto the currency instead of cashing out into fiat. I’ve supported local farmers in the Pensacola and San Diego areas in this exact way and enjoyed delicious free range chicken, salmon, and local raw honey. Farmer’s markets are a great place to talk to people about bitcoin because it is easy tech to set up and costs them nothing to start taking. Bitcoin has offers advantages for merchants who are trying to avoid credit card fees.
Another great feature recently added to the Airbitz app is the ability to buy discounted gift cards for Target and Starbucks. As someone who frequents Target and drinks coffee like it’s a food group, I love that I don’t have to spend full price. Starbucks cards are reliably 20% off and Target gets up to about 10%. Even just factoring this discount into your coffee budget for the month could help you save money long term. According to Fold App, the discounts for Target should increase and other major retailers will be added soon.
Gyft is another gift card service I’ve used since they announced they were taking bitcoin. Their CEO is such of fan of the digital currency that all cards bought with bitcoin earn you 3% in points you can use for future purchases. With merchants like Amazon, CVS, and Whole Foods, along with dozens of other restaurants and retailers Gyft takes the cake for providing a simple way you can use bitcoin immediately and be rewarded for it.
Speaking of Amazon, I’ve been able to almost completely avoid going to many stores in person with the vast amount of items I can order online through Amazon with Purse.io. Purse.io allows you to get up to 20% off on Amazon items through their service. You can find just about anything on Amazon for less expensive than brick and mortar stores and I’ve primarily switched to it over the past three years for this very reason.
When traveling, another service I use is CheapAir.com for booking flights and hotel rooms. They offer a bitcoin payment option and I’ve found their prices very competitive. I’d like to see more hotels/lodging areas and airlines accept bitcoin because it is safer to take than credit cards (especially in light of not so distant hacks on hotel databases).
There are so many services now that not only take bitcoin but reward people for paying with it. They are extremely useful for me as someone who gets paid in bitcoin and especially when I want to save money. I look forward to the vast amount of services like the ones I mentioned increasing in 2016 and believe it’s only a matter of time before more people begin to use bitcoin in their daily lives because the benefits are superior to other currency alternatives.
Written by MK Lords from Airbitz.
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