Best ways to use gift cards after Christmas

Girls With Coupons

Many people receive gift cards as presents for Christmas, but what are the best ways of using them after Christmas is over?

Here are six tips on getting the most out of gift cards this season.

  1. Patience is key. Retailers try to get another surge of shoppers with “after-Christmas” deals however, waiting until January or February can rack up the absolute best deals. If you’re wanting a new sweater or needing a new coat, waiting a few weeks can be to your advantage. This is when stores are getting ready for their Spring shipments and anything from the Fall and Winter must go…and sometimes at 80-90% off! Patience is key. You can read an article I wrote called When to Score the Best Deals on Clothes for Your Family to get a better idea how the sales cycles work. Popping by that store once a week can give you a better idea of how quickly they are marking down their winter items. Some do it sooner than others. By keeping an eye on the deals you want, you will also get a better idea of the quantity. If there are only two left of an item you want, you’ll be out of luck if you wait too long.
  2. Shopping online can score you better deals. Many times, an online deal is far better than shopping in person so do your homework before you venture out. Some stores offer free shipping to your local store or offer coupon codes for free shipping to your home. Getting a good deal isn’t as good if you have to pay shipping costs.
  3. Beware of bankrupt retailers. If a store is planning to go belly up, you could be stuck with a gift card you can never use. If this is the case, I recommend using it as soon as possible. Do your due diligence ahead of time if it’s a store your not very familiar with.
  4. Try not to spend your own money. Stores make a killing on gift cards because there is often a small balance left on the card. For example, if someone has a $20 gift card, and only spends $18 of it, that $2 balance is forgotten about. Additionally, a card holder may spend as little as $10 out of their own pocket for transaction costing $30 on something they really don’t need. Stay focused on your balance and adding any additional money to a transaction. It can be challenging to only spend the allotted amount so keep sales tax in mind too. Anytime you have to spend a significant amount of your own cash in conjunction with a gift card isn’t always the best scenario for the card holder.
  5. Be sure to know in advance if and when the gift card expires. If you can hold it for several months, using it on something you can really use in the Summer is better than wasting it on something you’ll never use now. Have a plan of what you really want to use it on. Running out on a whim to spend it for the sake of spending it, isn’t taking full advantage of the gift you received. If you aren’t aware that the gift card expires in six months, you could be left holding a card that can be easily forgotten about and never used. Once you find out when your gift card expires, write it down on a calender as a reminder to use it before it expires. If you forget it, you’ll lose it.
  6. Keep your gift cards in a safe place. If you plan to hold onto them for a while, putting them in a safe place is better than letting them fall to the abyss of your purse, only to fall out or possibly get stolen. If you’re like me and are not comfortable walking around with cash, why do it with gift cards? For children who have received gift cards, it’s usually better for the parents to hold them. If your children are like mine and they’re the types that can’t find their shoes, they’re probably not the most reliable when it comes to keeping track of a gift card. Remember, gift cards are like cash and respecting them as such will only be to your benefit.
  7. After all, receiving a gift card was a thoughtful gesture that someone wanted you to get the most out of and enjoy.

    I hope my top six tips for the best ways of using gift cards after Christmas, helps you get the most out of them!

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