Did you get a gift card for Christmas?
They can be really handy for some of us (I love getting crafting gift cards) but sometimes they’re almost useless.
Consider, for example, receiving a $20 gift card to Williams-Sonoma. If you’re not familiar with them, they make rather expensive cookware, etc. If you’re my brother and sister-in-law, you treasure this gift and save it for your next trip there. Or perhaps you combine it with other W-S gift cards because people know how much you like it.
If you’re me, on the other hand, you won’t be shopping there and you probably can’t find something which will use up the whole $20 (see this article by LifeHack, which reminds us that spending an even $20, and only that, in one place is unlikely). You also have a tight budget, so you don’t want to spend more money than you have to.
Here are some ideas for dealing with such gift cards.
1. Sell it.
Use eBay or Craigslist to get rid of your unwanted gift card. For a $20 one, offer it at $15 or $16 with $1 S&H. (should only cost you $0.41 to ship). Hopefully, someone who uses that store will come along and be delighted by the deal!
2. Swap it.
Remember my BIL & SIL? Well, suppose I know they got a $20 Target gift card. I might offer them a swap. Target’s a bit more useful to me than W-S. Ideally, you’d be able to swap it for a store you frequent and would already be shopping at. For me, that’d be Joann fabrics, crafts, and whatnot.
Cash in hand is best, but you may be able to get even value for a swap. That’s better than you can hope for in most sales. (You might be able to sell it in person to someone who’ll pay $19.50 if you’re lucky. Perhaps a friend who’d definitely use it.)
3. Regift it.
It’s a gift card, after all! Of course, it helps if you don’t give someone a Christmas-themed gift card for their birthday (unless it’s in Dec) but you can always use some excuse, like they still had a few and you thought it was cute.
The original gifter wrote on the accompanying paperwork? Make your own neat little card to go with it…be creative.
And if you’re nervous, give it to someone like me who’d be cool with regifts.
4. Reframe it.
If it’s a Visa or Amex card, you might want to use it only once and right away to avoid losing money through fees. Reframe it as your grocery budget money. Use it at the store and then (if you want) move the same amount of money in your budget from grocery to “entertainment” “dates” or “debt-repayment/savings.”
5. Send it to your favorite blogger!
You don’t want it? Send it to me!!! *ahem* Sorry.
Did you get an unwanted gift card this year? How did you handle it?
As for me, all my gift cards this year were for our coffee dates. Thanks to friends and family, we’ve got at least 1/3 of the year’s dates covered. Thank you, awesome people!!!
photo by rahims