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Don’t Forget to Use Your Gift Cards

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This year for the holidays, I received gift cards for Circuit City, Amazon.com, Best Buy, JCPenney, and even Wendy’s. Besides the usual warnings with gifts cards (watch out for purchasing fees, reduction of value over time, and expiration dates), the most basic tip goes often overlooked:

Don’t forget to use them.

I’ve heard that many retail stores are offering discounts and sales right now, so it might be a good time to make the most of the money on the gift cards. Companies are encourage gift card use right now as well, so they can record the sales before the year ends.

I don’t buy stuff often, so until gift buying season, I had an Amazon.com gift certificate that had gone unused for about a year. Part of the problem is my lack of organization, but I used the gift certificate to help pay for some of the gifts I purchased.

The challenge now will be to use the gift cards, and when I do, use them in such a way I’ll be making the most out of the money. My girlfriend, A., has already used some of her gift certificates to buy deeply discounted items.

Have you used your holiday gift cards yet?

Updated February 10, 2011 and originally published December 28, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Aaron

I saw on the news the other night that there is a website that establishes a market for trading gift cards. If you have a gift card for a store that you do not want to use you can find someone with a card of the same value and a store/restaurant you desire to trade with. They indicated that the commission was small. Seems like a good idea. However, I forget the web address.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

One of the sites that facilitate gift card trading is CardAvenue.com. There are other sites that allow you to sell your gift cards, but they’ll only give you a percentage… if going this route, you may be better off with eBay.

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avatar Juston Garland

Most of the gift cards offered by retailers should hold their value. It is almost a rip off for the gift cards that lose value. If you pay $25 you should get $25 no matter how long it takes you to use it. I wouldn’t buy one of these cards for anyone.

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avatar Nagel

New House=Home Depot gift cards
Yes, I have spent them.

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avatar David

And if you live in California, don’t forget that under California law, gift cards do not expire, so thats one thing this crazy place has going for it!

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