According to the very official Gift Card Exchange Day website, gift cards – the next best thing to cold hard cash – have been the #1 requested item on wish lists since 2005. Given this fact, we’re betting more than a few of you received the coveted plastic cards as a gift this year, and if you haven’t already spent it, we’ve rounded up 6 tips to help you milk that sucker for all its worth – even if it’s for a store you hate!
1. Use “open” gift cards first. An “open” gift card is one issued by a bank or a credit card company and can be used at any store or online, just as as you would use a credit card. Most, if not all, of these cards have an expiration date and if it is reached, the value of the card will either begin to decline or be voided. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make it a priority to use those cards first.
2. No expiration date? Save it for a big sale event. Determine whether or not your gift card has an expiration date. If your gift card is for a specific store, then it’s likely it won’t have one. In this case, save it for that store’s biggest sale events. For example, J.Crew nearly always runs a 30% off promotion in the weeks before Christmas, Nordstrom lists its annual sales on its website, and if the sale information for your favorite store or boutique isn’t listed on the ‘net, ask a sales associate – they’ll know and will probably be willing to share their intel.
3. Register your gift card. Since 2005, over $41 billion of gift cards has gone unused, due mostly to loss. Take action and check to see if you can register your gift card online. Doing so will allow you to reclaim the card’s value in case of loss or theft.
4. Need cash? Sell it on Plastic Jungle. Sometimes you just want cash. In that case, sell your gift card to Plastic Jungle, the top-rated gift card exchange/sale site. Just enter your card’s info and sell it to the site for a percentage of its value, it’s that easy!
5. Regift. As Benjamin Franklin always said “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Save your unwanted gift card and re-gift to a friend who’d love it. P.S. More re-gifting tips here.
6. Donate It. Websites like DonorsChoose.org, allow you to donate remaining gift card balances to worthy causes.
Moral of the story: there’s nothing better than spending (or giving away) someone else’s money! So hop to it and don’t let that gift card go to waste.
For more tips, read about how to solve all your winter beauty problems, how to throw an easy cocktail party, and how to avoid looking like a walking Pinterest board.