A lot of you probably received gift cards over the Holidays and might need some help making sure you get every penny of your gift. Here are a few tips you may want to consider to get the most out of your present.
DON’T HOARD THE CARD: Use the card; don’t just put it in your wallet or on your desk to use at a later date. “The chances of knowing where you placed that gift card in two or three months is slim. The giver gave you that card because they want you to spend it, not just put it in your wallet.
STRATEGIZE WHAT YOU’LL BUY: Think about how you want to spend the gift card before you use it. Do you want to splurge on yourself, as the gift card giver probably intended? Do you want to use the extra money on the card to buy necessities and basics? Either way, try to look for discounts to maximize the value of the card. A lot of stores are offering post-Christmas discounts right now, so it may be a good time to head back to the mall…..YEAH!
USE THE WHOLE CARD: Leaving a few dollars on a card is akin to throwing a couple dollar bills in the trash. Use the whole card, even if the remaining value just goes toward paying for something that costs more than a few dollars.
EXCHANGE CARDS: If you don’t like the store that Aunt Gina gave you a gift card to, try to swap it for another gift card. CardHub.com just launched a Gift Card Exchange App on Facebook where you can list and exchange gift cards with all your friends. Other sites, such as PlasticJungle.com and GiftCardRescue also let you exchange gift cards or donate them to charity, although you often lose a percentage of the value of the card in the process. Or, you can just re-gift an unwanted card instead of buying someone a gift.
CHECK EXPIRATION DATES: Most gift cards don’t have this anymore, although a few do. Check to see if any fees kick in if you haven’t used up the card’s balance by a certain time. Also, check to see if there’s anything you or the retailer can do before you throw out a card that says it’s expired. Sometimes, you can reactivate an expired card.