January 4, 2011

Be Smart with Your Gift Cards

What if you opened up a Christmas present and found an invoice to Best Buy? I'm guessing you'd be pretty upset.  We'll if you're not smart about your gift cards, then you might be getting just that.

Let say that if you get a gift card to a store that you're going to go shopping at any way, then great! You're friend, family, or whoever sure knows you right.  Unfortunately, it never seems to be the case...(Mom's are awful about this).  

So what to do with those gift cards to places you don't love:

Sell 'em!
Cash always beats a gift card...you can spend it on whatever you want, or if you're like me, put it in the bank.There are some really great websites these days that will buy second-hand gift cards and resell them at a discount to people who want them.  These sites are becoming more common, so just be careful that you're dealing with a reputable company.  Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Rescue are great places to get started.  Cardpool is another that's been in the press lately.  Of course you might be able to get a better price on Craigslist or Ebay, but you may have a bit of a hassle finding an immediate buyer.  Put some cash in your pocket instead of ever stepping a foot into a store you don't give two hoots about!

Use your Cards Wisely...
Not getting enough bang for your buck selling your gift cards?  Maybe you kind-of like the store that you've got $20 to?  Well, whatever your reason, if you end up shopping for something with your gift card, be smart!  Your budget for your trip to the store should be the amount on your card.  Don't go in and buy a $100 outfit with your $20 gift card cause now you're out $80.  Remember...somebody gave you something, and it wasn't a bill.  Don't turn it into one.  Get something within your budget and get out.  

Give it to a Charity
Got a favorite 501(c)3 that could use your office supplies card?  It's not too early to be thinking about your 2011 tax deductions.  Get a receipt and write it off! 

What's the most a gift card you received as a present has cost you?

Edit 1/5/11: I just learned about ScripSmart, a neat site that helps you track your gift cards, read and understand the fine print, and receive alerts when they're about to expire.  If everybody and their mother gave you a gift card this year, it may be worth signing up.

    1 comment:

    1. Thank you for mentioning ScripSmart! We appreciate your help in getting the word out to consumers.


      Judd Lillestrand
      Founder, ScripSmart.com