It’s nearly Christmas and every year people exchange millions of dollars in gift cards. Billions? And of that, millions goes unclaimed. I’m a big proponent of giving cash if you’re going to give money and dressing it up if you like the presentation of a gift card. Including notes if you have intentions for where it’s going to be spent.
But, of course, you can’t control what other people give you. So if over the Christmas holiday (or for your birthday or any time) you end up with a gift card you have no way of using it, or know you probably won’t get around to using, here are some ideas for other things you can do with it:
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 cost you less than $0.50 to ship). Hopefully, someone who uses that store will come along and be delighted by the deal!
Or sell it in person to a friend who thinks they could use it. This might get you an even deal (or $0.50 short) on the gift amount.
2. Swap it.
Maybe you know someone who shops there often. See what they have to trade. Or put an ad on Craigslist. Or carefully use a website like Swapagift.com, StarGiftCardExchange.com, or try the list at Gift Card Advocate
Ideally you’ll get something that you can use as well. Some swap sites offer cash too, though at lower values.
3. Regift it.
It’s a gift card, after all!
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.
Or if you’re a blogger…hold a giveaway on your blog.
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.
There are so many options. Don’t let it expire unused.