6 ways to get more from your gift cards

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This article, entitled "6 Ways to Get More From Your Gift Cards," comes from SavingsAngel.com.

Although they aren’t very creative or original, gift cards are one of the most popular gifts given for holidays, birthdays and other events. If you’re the lucky recipient of a gift card, being smart about how you use it can help you get more from the card.

Here are 6 ways to get the most out of your gift cards.

Know The Details

While laws ensure that your gift card won’t expire for at least 5 years, it’s a good idea to still read up on the rules. Gift cards from card companies can include redemption fees and reloadable cards aren’t covered under the CARD Act, so they can expire or fees may be charged.

Register The Card

Registering the card will protect you in case it’s lost or stolen. Often, companies will replace lost or stolen gift cards with the funds that had remained on the card when it was lost. Having an old card replaced is one way to make sure you never lose out on money.

Stay Informed

There’s nothing worse than losing out on a gift card because the company it was for went out of business. Keep on top of your gift cards and spend them if you hear the business is in trouble. Sometimes a business can go under with very little warning, so be well informed and you’ll never lose out on your gift card dollars.

Shop During Sales

Stretch your card balance by shopping when there are sales. Treat the gift card as if it was your own money, looking for the best bargains to stretch your dollar. Shopping after season or in clearance sections can get you twice as much bang for your buck.

Exchange Unwanted Cards

If you get a gift card for a store that’s too far away or if it’s just for someplace you don’t frequent, you can always exchange it online for a card you will use. Sure you’ll get less than the face value of the card, but that’s better than not getting anything out of it at all.

Re-Gift It

If it’s a card you won’t use or don’t like, re-gift it. That way you won’t have to spend cash on another gift and someone else can enjoy the card. You can also use the gift card to buy a gift from the store it’s for to give to someone else. Sometimes if you shop sales or clearance sections, you can get 2 gifts with the card balance, saving you money in the long run.

About the author: For more personal finance tips written by Edwin C, check out his personal finance blog: Stack The Chips.

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