Quite often you receive gift cards as a present from relatives or friends when they are unsure of what you would like as a present. Most cards have an expiry date so it is important to use them as soon as possible.
1. Wait for sales.
If you have been given a store card, resist the urge to go shopping with nothing in mind at the time. You will probably buy something on the spur of the moment which may sit unused in the cupboard for years on end. Use the card instead for when the store has sales. Buy items that get a lot of use and end up being thrown out when well worn. Such items that come to mind are bath towels, face washers, bed linen and underwear. It should be an easy task to spend over the card’s value and pay cash for the difference.
2. Buy petrol
Does your card allow you to buy petrol from a service station run by the store which issued the card? Given the cost of filling your petrol tank you would most likely spend more than the value of the gift card in one filling.
3. Celebrate an occasion
If you are given several gift cards that have issued by restaurants it is quite possible that you may not get to use all of them before expiry. Say, for instance, your son graduates from college and you want to mark the occasion. Use your gift cards to pay for a dinner celebration and invite several relatives and friends to the party.
4. Gift the card to someone else
Gift cards do not have your name on it. Pick out the cards you probably won’t use yourself and gift them out to relatives or friends who you think may use them. Obviously you would check the expiry date and not gift a card with a very short time before it expires.
5. Sell the cards
EBay is a great place to sell unwanted items. People who shop on E Bay do not expect to pay full price. They want a bargain. If you have a card with a value of fifty dollars don’t expect to get fifty dollars from a buyer. You may have to let the card go at say thirty dollars but that is far better than spending the full value of the card on some item that you would have purchased of no particular use.
If the thought of gifting a card to someone else or the thought of not getting full value for the card by selling it doesn’t appeal to you then you may wish to donate the card to a worth cause. There are numerous charities always looking for money or items that can be used to raise money.
It would be surprising to learn the total amount wasted on gift cards issued and not used before expiry. To make the most of our gift cards, it may be just a simple matter of listing the expiry date manually on a calender or electronically one month beforehand as a reminder and actually using the card for something that makes us happy rather than making the store happy by adding unnecessarily to its profit.