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.