What Should You Do With Your Gift Cards?

Written by , March 12, 2012

What Should You Do With Your Gift CardsIf you’re like most people, then there’s a good chance you received at least a few gift cards during the recent Christmas and holiday gift giving seasons. Each year it seems that gift cards are an increasingly popular option for people who may be pressed for time, aren’t sure what to give as gifts or simply want to let the recipient choose a gift themselves.

So now that you have a small stack of gift cards, what do you do with them? If the gift cards are for stores that you don’t normally shop at, for example, you may feel a little bit lost.

Here is some information and advice for getting the most out of those gift cards.

  • Exchange Them. If you received a gift card for a store or merchants that you truly have no interest in, don’t worry. There are numerous online gift card exchange and trading markets where you can exchange your gift card with someone who has a gift card for a store or merchants that you are interested in. You’ll have to pay a small fee to participate in these online exchanges, but if you can trade your unwanted cards for cards that you’ll actually use, then it’s a small price to pay. You might also be able to skip the online exchanges altogether and simply trade cards with your friends or family.
  • “Re-gift” it. The tradition of “re-gifting” – taking something you received as a gift and giving it to someone else as a gift – shows no signs of slowing down doing. With a gift card the practice is even easier, since gift cards generally have a broader range of appeal then a particular individual product. This means that you have more opportunities to re-gift cards that you’re not interested in using yourself. But be aware that many gift cards have expiration dates, so you wouldn’t want to re-gift a card that is nearing (or past) its expiration date.
  • Save Them Until You Need Them. Just because you’ve got the gift card in your pocket doesn’t mean that you have to use it right away. Keep the card in your wallet or your purse, and the next time you happen to need something from that store, you’ll have some or perhaps all of your purchase covered by the gift card.
  • Go Ahead and Splurge. Chances are the person who gave you the gift card wanted to treat you to something, perhaps something extravagant, and almost certainly something that you might not have bought for yourself. Even if the store isn’t one that you normally shop at, go ahead and shop there anyway. Buy something crazy and enjoy it in the way the gift giver intended.
  • There are many different ways to use gift cards that you received over the holidays. Whatever you do with your gift cards, just make sure you don’t let them expire! Finding out that you’ve simply let a gift card become worthless can be very frustrating and a wasted opportunity.

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