Gift giving and receiving can be a touchy subject for 365’ers and their relatives. The best compromise to date, is the gift card or vouchers. However, reports show that $1 billion dollars worth in 2013 weren’t redeemed and $2 billionÂ dollars worth in 2014. No wonder retailers love gift cards! Money for nothing!
This made me consider the gift cards that were floating around myÂ kitchen drawerÂ and decided to use these as part of myÂ decluttering mini-missions. It turns out I had three – one for $25 to a supermarket, one for $20 at the shopping mall and one for $100 dinner at a local restaurant.
The restaurant one (received Jan 2014)Â was due to expire later this week so we made a booking. As for the supermarket gift card (May 2014)Â – it isn’t my usual supermarket, which is why I didn’t have an arrangement in place to redeem it and the shopping mall one is fairly recent (Nov 2014)Â but I didn’t have anything in mind for it.
Why do so many gift cards expire?Â Â Why did what amounted to cash sit in the drawer?Â Â Dollar notes wouldn’t lie around for 6-12 months.Â Â Colleen noted that once upon a time such things would have been a gift from heaven for the average family, especially the grocery card.
Colleen brought to my attention an interesting angle.Â Why do we keep so many ‘just in case’ items in our house, if we struggle to use up virtual money, surely this provesÂ we don’t need to keep stuff we don’t use.
So how do we avoid expiring gift cards?
Keep gift cards in your wallet, not the kitchen drawerÂ and try to plan purchasing around them.Â Â My usual supermarket sends loyalty vouchers twice a year and I wrap it around my loyalty card so it gets used at first opportunity.Â If it isn’t a store that you frequent, note the expiry date and load a reminder into your phone.Â Â There are also sites such as Cardpool.com, Swapagift.comand GiftCardRescue.comÂ to sell or trade, but as I live in New Zealand I checked on Trademe (like eBay) and people are selling their cards there too.
Another idea I feel deserves mention, for small residual amounts left on a card, instead of letting that money expire, use it to make a donation.Websites such as…
Charity Choice ~Â www.charitygiftcertificates.org/GCE/default.aspx
andÂ Gift Card Giver ~ Â http://plywoodpeople.com/projects/gift-card-giver/
…stockpile cards and combine them into higher-value gift cards that are donated to the needy and worthy charities.
Is there something as a gift card giver that I can do toÂ make it easierÂ for the receiver to redeem?Â Â Â Low end cards got the thumbs up in my research.Â A $25 Wendy’s gift card is more ‘do-able’ than a $25 gift card to an expensive fashion store which will require the receivee to spend more than they were gifted to buy anything.Â Cards that required the receivee to travel out of their way to redeem were listed as the nextÂ most likely to expire and ‘unlikely candidate’Â also got a mentionÂ ie if Grandma isn’t an iPad aficionado, don’t give her an iTunes app card..
So what did I do with my remaining two gift cards?Â Â I don’t actually need anything at the moment but my daughter is off to Tech this year and needed to set up an iCloud account which requiredÂ her own Apple ID which in turnÂ required some sort of credit card to attach to the account.Â Â As she doesn’t have a Visa card, she was unable to complete the setup.Â Â I had a moment of inspiration, what if I used the two gift cards to purchase iTune gift cards to load against her AppleID?Â I purchased two $20 cards and a chocolate bar, both of which were gratefully received.
I’m not sure what to call this….re-gifting-gift-cards? Re-purposed-gift-cards? Re-redemption-cards? The gift-card-that-kept-on-giving?
I wasn’t keen on the swapping this bit of plastic for a new bit of plastic, but on the other hand I didn’t receive gifts that I didn’t need and I am grateful as I was able to use them to create a solution and saved me parting with cash.
Â As for the restaurant voucher, I’m looking forward to dinner on a balcony overlooking the white sand of our local beach, and even better to express her appreciationÂ my daughter has offered to drive us to and from the restaurant, as long as we don’t mind travelling in her ancient two door small Nissan Pulsar with no air-con and listening to her music. Eminem is a small price to pay compared to a taxi in the holiday season in a beach town and it means my husband and I can both enjoy a bottle of wine that was also a gift.
So 365’ers, what gift cards and vouchers do you have lurking in your home that you could setÂ a goal toÂ use up over the next week or two?Â Â Do you have any clever suggestions for gift cards whether as the giver or the receivee?
Today’s Mini Mission
Wednesday â€“ Declutter and item of clothing. I decluttered a dress, not because I wanted to it simply worn out. Split down the back worn out and not worth repairing because the fabric had worn so thin.