Expiration Dates: Letting Money Spill Down the Drain!

June 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM 5 comments

I hate letting gift cards, coupons or prepaid credit cards expire. In order to prevent this I keep a document on my home computer that includes a chronological list of things I need to use or spend. My current list includes items like Groupons, Living Social deals and prepaid gift card expiration dates.

At the beginning of every week I review the list and make certain that I spend, buy or use anything that is set to expire that week. I usually use the items long before the expiration date, but every once in awhile I find myself scrounging to make use of something at the very last moment. Up until last week my system was working for me.

Unfortunately, a few days ago it did not. I forgot to review the list prior to going on vacation and I did not have a local copy in Google docs, my iPhone or anywhere else that I could access it. I’d made a mental note the week before to use a gift card, but I got caught up packing and preparing for my trip and the idea of using it completely slipped my mind.

The minute I returned home I remembered. I didn’t even need to look at the list. It just popped into my head. I was so frustrated by my mistake, but there was nothing that could be done about it. I contacted the appropriate party but they said the expiration date could not be extended.

As I reviewed the list I realized there were a bunch of other items that needed to be addressed sooner than later. I have a Groupon for a photo album that needs to be created in the next week. It’ll take me at least that long to find the photos I want to include in it. Add on the extra time to choose where in the book to place the photos and what text to include and I might not be able to make this deadline either. It’s now at the top of my to-do list. In fact, I’m considering giving up sleep to complete it. (I don’t get much sleep these days as my son still isn’t sleeping through the night. So the thought of giving up sleep shows just how desperate I am to use it.)

In an effort, to prevent making similar mistakes in the future. I added Google calendar events and alerts for all of my gift cards, Groupons and Social Living deals that have expiration dates. That way I’ll be alerted to the event even if I’m on vacation. I hate making mistakes like this, but I’ll kick myself even more if I make a similar mistake in the future. I hope my new plan works. I don’t want to let more money spill down the drain.

Entry filed under: coupons, frustration. Tags: .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ruby Leigh  |  June 6, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    I lost a couple LivingSocial vouchers due to ill planning – super frustrating. Groupon is nice enough to send you a reminder e-mail. Also, you can still use the value you paid for it post deadline.

    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  June 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      @Ruby Leigh – That is a nice aspect of Groupon. Especially compared to similar collective buying sites.

  • […] One Frugal Girl shares a smart tactic she’s using to make sure she doesn’t forget to redeem gift cards or coupons before they expire and lose […]

  • 4. Cindy Brick  |  June 9, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Don’t give up on that gift card! Just contact the president of the company the card pertains to…make a photocopy of the gift card, explain that you meant to use it but are the mommy of a new baby, didn’t have time, etc etc. I would say the odds are very good that this person will pull some strings — and you’ll suddenly be able to use the card. Especially when you mention you host a popular blog.
    Trust me on this. I’ve had several iffy situations like this work out when they realized I was a writer, had a blog and wrote for other people, as well. It can for you, too…

    Ok, and then make sure you’ve got the expiration list updated! (It’s a good idea…) Good luck.

    • 5. One Frugal Girl  |  June 10, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      No such luck Cindy. I tried that approach and it didn’t fly at all. They said tough luck the policy is the policy. It was certainly worth the effort to call though.


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