Editor’s Note: This story was originally live on the cheap.
Gift cards and vouchers are popular holiday and birthday gifts for many people who want their loved ones to choose their favorite gift.
Gift cards are high on the list of requested gifts, but not many people forget to use them or use up the full amount.
What’s more, people don’t realize that they can use gift cards to budget their daily spending.
Using these flat rate cards benefits shoppers who tend to spend money in the wrong places when using cash and who tend to overspend when using credit cards.
Whether you buy or receive a gift card from a department store, restaurant, coffee shop, or other retailer or service provider, adopt these strategies to get the most out of your gift card and save money. please.
Use your gift card – don’t waste it
according to investigation Nearly half of adults have unused gift cards, according to CreditCards.com. Who wants to waste perfectly usable money?
The best way to avoid wasting money on gift cards is to use them right away. An unused gift card is equivalent to cash, but unlike cash, it can expire if forgotten.
Additionally, the vendor may go out of business or simply lose the card.
Either way, the longer you wait to use it, the less valuable your card will be. Prices increase over time, and some gift cards lose their value after being unused for a while.
To avoid wasting gift cards you’ve purchased or received as gifts, follow these tips.
Keep your cards in one place
Anything not found cannot be used. Create a designated box or file for physical gift cards and printouts, or put them in a special wallet in your wallet.
If you have digital gift cards in your email inbox, create a specific folder to store them. That way, when you’re ready to shop, you’ll always know where you can find them.
Check out our collection of gift cards each month to remember what you haven’t used yet.
Check expiration date
Once you’ve found all your gift cards, check their expiration dates. The same goes for gift certificates and vouchers on groceries sites like Groupon and Living Social.
Log in to your Daily Deals site account to review the deals you have purchased and their expiration dates, then plan ahead, especially for dining deals, attraction visits, or vacation breaks.
Mark the expiration date on your calendar and set a reminder a few weeks in advance. That way you won’t be trying to use them last minute when they might not be very convenient for you and your family.
use what you paid for
If you have an unused and expired Daily Deal Site Certificate, please note that some will retain the purchase value beyond their official expiration date.
For example, in a half-price restaurant deal, if you paid $10 for $20 worth of food, you may still be able to use the certificate for the original $10 even after the expiration date.
Check the fine print.
Finally, if you’re unlikely to use your gift card because you don’t like the restaurant, venue, or retailer, re-gift the gift card to someone else, trade it with a friend, or buy one in your neighborhood. Consider selling or bartering at shopping. / Swap groups.
Sites like CardCash also let you trade in some gift cards, but they usually don’t give you enough value.
Best bet? Use gift cards. It’s a classic case of use or lose.
Tips for budgeting and growing your money with gift cards
Don’t think you can buy a gift card just to use it as a gift for someone else. You can use them for your own benefit.
With a gift card, you can avoid impulse purchases and shopping elsewhere by locking in a specified amount of spending.
In addition, gift card discounts and cashback sites and bonus offers help you earn more dollars when purchasing cards. Be sure to purchase a free gift card.
Follow this advice and use gift cards to protect your budget.
Take a look at your current budget
Determine how much you will spend each month on variable expenses such as groceries, personal items, gas, and entertainment. Determines how often the amount allocated to the gift card is purchased.
You might want to start every other week and see how it goes. If you want to purchase cards less frequently, you can fine-tune the frequency. Experiment to find the pacing that works best for you.
Buy a gift card at a store you shop regularly
Purchase cards in advance to fit your budget category. Start one area at a time. This will help stabilize your spending and allow you to budget more efficiently.
No matter how much you buy in advance, use the allotted amount for the week. Please do not use only
Buy multiple gift cards within your weekly budget instead of one large gift card per month.
Keep in mind that some months are longer than others, so plan accordingly. If the month is long, you should spend less per week.
A physical card, as opposed to a digital certificate, is a useful tool to prevent overuse of credit cards. It acts as a visual reminder in your wallet so you can reach for your prepaid card instead of your credit card.
track your balance
Avoid unused gift card balances by attaching the receipt to the card or placing the card back in the business card holder with the receipt. Her daughter remembers the balance by writing the amount on the back of the card with permanent marker.
Whatever you decide, it will help you remember what you left on the card. You can also budget digitally. Just remember how many goals you can spend.
Get more out of your dollars
If you want to stay within the limit, but also want to stretch the amount allocated for the category a bit, challenge yourself to drop below the gift card amount.
Start by shaving small amounts of money, like $5. To free up cash on your budget, you can also put back items you don’t really need to buy on this trip.
If you find you can stick to the new lower bound, you can reload with a smaller amount and use the extra money in your budget to save or get out of debt.
Take advantage of bonus offers
During the holiday season, many restaurants and retail stores gift card bonus.
For example, when you spend $50 on a $50 gift card, you get a bonus $10 gift card for free. Target is famous for its pre-Christmas gift card bonus sales.
If your budget allows, stock up on a few of these to make more money, or buy gift cards for others, but keep the bonuses for yourself.
Find gift cards from other retailers with the same parent company
Suppose you want to buy furniture from Pottery Barn using a gift card. Raise.com offered a 2.2% discount on Pottery Barn gift cards.
However, Pottery Barn also accepts West Elm or Williams Sonoma gift cards, which offer discounts of up to 4.4% or 4.7% respectively.
A sister company gift card gives you a better deal, but most people wouldn’t consider doing so.
Take the time to research your sister company or parent company and their policies regarding using other cards in brick-and-mortar stores as a way to save money.
take baby steps
Start small with one area of your budget, like the grocery store. This way, you can experiment with routines that work well for you and your habits.
Once you understand the process, you can apply the same steps to other stores, such as your regular pharmacy or a large store like Walmart.
beware of fraud
Online marketplaces let you resell your unwanted gift cards for money you can spend anywhere you want. Budget-conscious customers can buy other people’s gift cards from retailers for less than the face value of the gift card.
However, the gift card resale market has its share of scammers. Here are some strategies to avoid getting scammed.
Shop from places that offer buyer protection
Avoid purchasing gift cards from individuals. Purchase gift him cards through marketplaces that offer buyer protection and check online reviews for these reseller sites.
Use the gift card within the warranty period
Treat gift cards like cash. Use them as soon as possible before you lose your cards or ruin your business.
Do not combine gift card balances
A few years ago Starbucks voided a gift card I purchased from Cardpool (which is no longer in business) and gave me vague descriptions. My guess is that the card was purchased with a stolen credit card.
Unfortunately, Starbucks had already transferred the balance to my existing Starbucks account balance which was frozen.
I was finally able to get my Starbucks funds back and Cardpool resolved their card issue after contacting customer service. But it would have been easier if I hadn’t combined the gift card balance.
Check for signs of tampering
Occasionally, warehouse clubs may sell discounted gift cards and other retailers may offer gift card promotions during the holiday season.
If you buy physical gift cards in stores, make sure there are no signs of tampering. Do not purchase if the cardboard is torn or if the PIN is removed.
These could be signs that the scammer has written down the gift card code. If so, you can use it online after the card is activated at the cash register.
But don’t be discouraged. The majority of gift card purchases go without a hitch, with customers finding gift card discounts and saving money.