Life-Changing Gift Wrapping Hacks
How to Make the Most of Gift Cards
Gift cards are a popular gift these days, but some store-specific cards may be inconvenient for you to shop at. In other cases, you may have more of a need for cash than a gift card. Whatever your situation, you can get the most from your gift card by doing things like pairing them with coupons or using them on sale items. However, until your gift card is used, you'll want to protect it from theft or fraud, which can be done easily by familiarizing yourself with basic gift card law, going digital, and more.
Utilizing Your Gift Cards Fully
Re-gift general gift cards.You can save yourself the expense of having to buy another gift for a birthday, holiday, and so on by re-gifting your gift card. Earn extra points with the recipient of the card by prioritizing cards for stores they shop at often.
- For example, if you need to buy a present for a friend who's interested in design, you might give that person a gift card from Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, or Pottery Barn.
- You may want to avoid re-gifting any gift cards that have your name written or engraved on them.
Buffer your expenses with gift cards.Save your gift cards up for expensive or lean times of the year. Many gift cards endorsed by major networks, like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and so on, can even be used for paying bills.
- Major network endorsed cards can sometimes be used to add to the balance of some online accounts, like Amazon or PayPal.
Economize by using gift cards on sale items.Gift cards can almost always be used on sale items. By waiting for an item you want to go on sale, you can stretch the value of your gift card. After major holidays and when items are out of season (like winter clothes in spring), are common sale times.
- You might coordinate your gift card shopping by doing an online keyword search for "best time of the year to buy [item category]" as in "best time of the year to buy winter clothes/electronics/etc."
Pair gift card purchases with coupons.You don't have to waste time cutting out physical coupons from the newspaper or magazines, though these can be combined with gift card purchases to save your gift card balance, too. Electronic coupons or rebates paired with your gift card purchases can make your card balance last longer than it would have otherwise.
- If you don't have a coupon but have found an item you plan on purchasing with a gift card, take a quick moment to check online for "coupons, discounts, or rebates for [item]".
- Unless a coupon specifically says "online only," the store is legally obligated to honor the coupon or coupon code.
Add gift card money to returns to buy more expensive items.You can boost the purchasing power of your gift card by adding money or credit you've earned back for a returned item to it. If you receive a gift you don't like, return it and combine the return money with your gift card to buy things outside of the range of your gift card balance.
Get double or extras whenever possible with gift cards.Frequently, stores will run special buy one get one free or two for one deals. These are an excellent investment for your gift cards. Even if you don't need an extra of whatever item you are buying, you could always re-gift the second item, sell it on an online marketplace, like Amazon or Ebay, and so on.
- Online sellers and overstock sites are common places you'll find buy one get one and two for one deals.
Exchanging Your Gift Cards for Cash
Research gift card exchange sites and services.You'll want at least a few reliable sites on which you can exchange your gift card for cash. This will help you get the most money from your exchange. Some popular gift card resale sites include:
Compare exchange rates before selling.Some sites offer a more favorable exchange rate for certain gift cards over others. Because of this, you should always comparatively shop around before selling your gift card. You may get a better exchange rate, and more cash, for selling the same card on a different site.
- Some online services check several sites to find the best deals, or in some cases you may be able to set alerts for certain gift cards you want. Use these services and alerts to get the most out of your gift cards.
Save gift cards with unfavorable exchange rates.After checking a few different gift card resale sites, you may have found that you're losing more money on the sale of the gift card than you're comfortable. If you're in this situation, you might want to keep the card until the exchange rate is more favorable.
- If, after a while, you notice the exchange rate stays unfavorable, you might try exchanging gift cards with a friend for an equal value one usable at a store you frequent.
- There are card exchange sites, where you can swap your card for other cards. Two such sites are CardAvenue.com and GiftCardGranny.com.
Keep personalized gift cards for yourself.Gift cards that have your name engraved or written on them are often times impossible to exchange for money. In these cases, you should keep the gift card for yourself.
- Even if your gift card is personalized, you can still use it to buy presents, to pay for bills, and so on.
Protecting Your Gift Card and Balance
Keep gift cards in an easily noticeable place.You might be tempted to hide your gift cards away in a sock drawer for a rainy day or an item youreallywant, but by doing so you might forget about the card. You might want to keep gift cards in a special sleeve or compartment of your purse or wallet so that you're less likely to forget about them.
- Millennials are twice as likely to lose gift cards.If you're in this age group, you may want to be extra careful about where you keep your gift cards.
Go digital with your cards.More and more these days, digital equivalent of physical products, like gift cards, are available. Digital gift cards are usually linked to an account or email and most are accessible with your cell phone, so these are harder to lose. Be sure you enter the recipient's information (like name and address) correctly. Otherwise, they might not get it.
- In some cases, recipients might mistake your e-gift card for spam. To prevent this from happening, you might want to say something like, "I wanted to get you this e-gift card. I'll be sending it, so keep an eye out for it."
Protect yourself from fraud or illegal fees.To help prevent dishonesty and fraud, laws were pass in 2009 in the USA for gift card fees and expiration. If you live outside the US, your home country might have similar laws in place. Track your balance on your card and fight unfair fees and premature card cancellations. Generally, in the US, where gift card fees and cancellations are concerned:
- All cards must be valid for at least five years. Any money added to the card must be valid for a full five years starting from the date it was added to the card.
- In most cases, issuing companies cannot charge service fees and so on to the card in the first year after its purchase. However, you may be charged an initial fee or a fee for card replacement, should it be stolen or lost.
- Following the first year after the card's purchase, card fees from the issuing company are limited to one fee per month.
Choose between closed and open loop cards.Closed loop cards are only valid for a specific retailer or retailer group. Open loop cards are general, network-branded cards that you can use wherever the network is accepted. Both closed and open loop cards have upsides and downsides:
- Closed loop cards, in most cases, have no fees. However, if a retailer doesn't have convenient locations nearby or an online store, these can be inconvenient. Also, if the retailer closes, your card could become worthless.
- Open loop cards are frequently stamped with a major card network, like Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and so on. Expect to pay a fee to purchase the card, and potentially more fees a year after purchasing it.
Video: 25 EASY GIFT WRAPPING IDEAS AND HACKS
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