If you’re like me, over the years you’ve received gift cards to various places and some of them collect dust in a miscellaneous drawer. This happiness hack will help you organize your gift cards and get cash!
Two reasons to organize your gift cards and use them quickly!
Having a drawer full of unused or unorganized gift cards, while certainly not a major problem, can create mental and physical clutter. When we have a drawer full of 1) something we don’t use, 2) unorganized items or 3) items we aren’t sure where to place, it takes up a tiny space in our brain every time we set eyes on it. Or think about it. Those little moments cause mental clutter. They are little decision unresolved decisions. And of course, if it’s physical items, it creates physical clutter as well.
Secondly, gift cards without organization and a plan can be money down the drain!
This article from theblance.com says: “One survey found that, in 2018, while 70% of all gift cards are redeemed within 180 days of purchase, about three in 10 go unused. In total, an estimated $3.5 billion in gift cards goes unredeemed each year.”
If you don’t use your gift cards right away, catalog them!
Start a list for anytime you receive a gift card, or store credits, and for how much it’s worth. Also, if it doesn’t already say, make sure to write how much it’s for in sharpie. This will save you the time of looking up the balance a couple years later online or at the store location.
Lastly, take note of the expiration date. From my research (and personal experience), some gift cards do expire. Note: There seems to be some state variation to this law. I received a gift card as a part of a rebate program. Sadly, it expired after a couple years and that $50 was gone (lesson learned the hard way!). It’s also frustrating when the card itself expires, even if the funds do not. You have to call the number on the back of the card to get a new card issued.
Also, some cards may decrease in value due to a service fee after a year. Again, different states have different laws regarding the fees associated with a gift cards so please be mindful of this.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests using your gift card right away. If you don’t use them right away, catalog them! I would go the extra mile and add any expiration dates to your calendar with a reminder. Then, make note of which cards you want to keep, sell and any that you want regift or donate.
How to sell your gift cards
If you have gift cards you don’t see yourself using, obviously a generous option is to donate them or gift them to someone. First, make sure to check the balance to confirm it hasn’t been used. Important: use a safe website to check the balance. There are fraudulent balance sites that look legit, but end up stealing your gift card. This article from USA Today online suggests using the website on the back of the card, or going to the retailers site. They have a list of sites here.
Now for the resource I’ve been so excited to share. I’m not sure if I’m totally late to the game, but I wasn’t aware of this resources until I researched what to do with a stack of gift cards I may not use.
There’s a website called Raise that allows you to sell your gift card to someone else. First, you enter the company of the gift card to see if it’s on their list of sellable gift cards. If so, you can check your balance, and enter the code on the card. Then select the amount you want to get for it and post!
It’s so easy!
I sold two movie theater gift cards in the first couple hours of trying this website. It’s that easy!
There are other sites that offer the same service, but Raise seems to be one of the best. It was selected as the top gift card exchange site by toptenreview.com.
If you have any unused gift cards, I hope this motivates you to first and foremost, catalog them. And if you want to trade one out for some cash, give the Raise website a try and let me know how it works for you. If you’re interested in more gift card stats, check out this article from Bankrate.com.