What Do You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?

January 27, 2013 at 10:18 PM 4 comments

I have a stack of gift cards in my home. I bought a few of them at discounted prices and received a bunch of others as gifts over the years. If you name a place I probably own a gift card for it.

You know how it is, you return an unwanted gift to a store you rarely frequent and they hand over a shiny merchandise card. You don’t have time to shop for anything right then and there so you vow to return to the store at a later point in time. You think even if you can’t find something for yourself you’ll surely find gifts for other friends or family members. The only trouble is you never return to the store and that gift card sits in your wallet, safe, desk drawer or some other random location for months or possibly years.

I used to have a couple of gift cards that fit neatly inside my wallet. Then one day I realized I needed an entirely separate wallet just to house all my cards.

I checked the balances, wrote down the amount remaining and placed them in the safe where some of them have sat untouched for years.

I’m torn on what to do with them now. If I sell them I’ll probably receive somewhere between 60 and 90% of their value. If I sell them at an auction site I may receive even less when I subtract out eBay and PayPal fees.

Part of me thinks I may actually use these cards even though I haven’t touched many of them for years. I don’t have an immediate need for the money, but I also hate the idea of letting those cards sit idle for so long. I suppose by selling them I would earn interest on the money, though rates are so low these days that wouldn’t amount to very much.

Part of me thinks I should go on a spending splurge armed with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards, but the practical part of me knows I really don’t need anything right now. I also hate the idea of buying things I don’t really want or need, because I absolutely despite unwanted clutter.

So what do you think? Do you have unwanted gift cards sitting around in your purse, wallet or desk drawer? If so do you have any immediate plans for them? Do you think I should try to sell the cards I have or hold on to them in the hopes that they’ll be used some day? If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Entry filed under: gifts. Tags: .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Katie  |  January 27, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I would suggest taking a peek around your house for those items that you only buy new every 5+ years and see if they need replacing. For me, it was bath towels, oven mitts and kitchen rugs. The ones that I have are still usable but getting to the point where I’m a tad embarrassed for visitors to see them. And sometimes a girl just needs to say “Yes” to herself, especially when she has to say “No” so often to her toddler. 🙂

    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  January 28, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      I actually LOVE this idea. There are lots of items in the house that could use a little updating. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with what we have, but a nice set of ‘new’ whatever using gift cards we already have sounds like a lovely idea. New underwear might make the top of that list. Ha! Ha!

  • 3. Elizabeth  |  January 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I like to use my gift card stash for one of three things:
    – to buy gifts for other people
    – to *give* as gifts to other people, namely my nieces and nephews (I do this often with odd leftover bits from merchandise credits – I’ll give them the merchandise credit and usually buy a gift card to make it an even amount)
    – infrequent splurges for myself

    I like to get gift cards out of my house as quickly as possible now to avoid the “stress” of having gift card clutter. I’ve sold some online in the past for about 90% of their value, but only when I knew I would never, ever shop at the store in question

    • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  January 28, 2013 at 10:26 PM

      I thought I would use them for gifts, but never did so. Maybe I need to make a more conscious effort about it or even buy gifts for folks even though there isn’t any special occasion looming.

      I never thought about regifting the cards, but maybe I could add money to some of them. Rounding up to a more even number before handing them over. There are a few that other family members would like. I could either say, “hey, I’m not using this do you want it” or round up. I have given my dad a bunch for restaurants because he and my mom like to eat out. I don’t give it to them as a gift, more like a just because it’s burning a hole in my pocket.

      Thanks for commenting!


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