Did you get a gift card for Christmas or another gift giving occasion? Me, too! Gift cards are great aren’t they?
How do you spend your gift cards? A big blowout use them all and every cent of their balance at once?
I usually don’t do that. I mean if I drank $25 worth of Starbucks coffee all at once, well, I don’t think the results would be pretty. Full of energy maybe but definitely, not a scenario I see ending pleasantly.
My problem with gift cards is once I’ve used them the first time, I never can remember the remaining balance. I end up with a purse full of random cards that I give to the clerks going there might be something left on this but I’ m not sure. Sometimes, it’s 50 cents and sometimes it’s $5. Sometimes, the balance is zero and I’ve been carrying a worthless gift card around for no reason.
I end up not bothering with the gift card because it is so much easier to just pay the cash amount rather than fumbling around for a card that may have 50 cents or nothing at all on it. I suppose it explains why when I went to clean out my purse today, I found 6 random (well, not the Starbucks cards…those were much-loved and appreciated birthday gifts!) gift cards floating around in there.
Since we need to save a bit (a bunch) of money in 2016 for a trip in 2017, I decided perhaps I should start putting these cards to use. Step one of course, find out the balance of each gift card.
3 Steps to for Gift Card Organization:
*Have a Sharpie handy for this.
- Check balance on all gift cards. Most cards have a number to call on the back or a website where you can check the balance.
- Throw away any cards with a balance of zero! I don’t get the whole reload a gift card thing.
- As you check the balance of each gift card, use the Sharpie to write the balance on the front of the card.
I also plan to carry my Sharpie with me and update the balances as I use the gift cards.
Do you register your gift cards? Some places will send you extra goodies for doing this. I know Panera is good about it. Of course, I’m not good about getting to the places to get my extras before they expire.
One last thought on checking gift card balances. I did have an experience a few years ago with a gift where the gift card was not valid. Whenever I buy gift cards, I like to ask them to scan it for a balance receipt. It’s nice to put with the card and it also helps keep everyone honest. If I forget, I make sure to check my receipt and include it with the card.
How do you keep track of your gift cards?