Well, following the popular life hack trend, a gift card hack is a bunch of tips and tricks to make it easier to use your gift cards, remember to use your gift cards, buy the best gift cards, save on gift cards, get rid of unwanted gift cards and even how to dispose of the plastic after the gift card is used.
There are so many ways to make life better and easier with gift cards, the challenge for me is knowing when to stop!
So below is my starter list of gift card hacks you have to try.
1. Sell Your Gift Cards for Cash
The gift card reseller market has been around for several years now, but still, I have friends who come up to me (ME! I am the Gift Card Girlfriend! They come up to ME, of all people…) and ask if I know that you can sell a gift card for cash. YES! I do know that and it’s a trick I use whenever I get a gift card that is difficult for me to spend.
Here’s how it works.
People sometimes get gift cards they don’t want. There’s nothing wrong with the card, they’d just rather have cash instead.
Those people sell their unwanted gift cards for cash (or the increasingly popular Amazon gift card) to a gift card reseller.
The seller doesn’t get full value for the gift card, but he or she receives enough cash in the trade to make selling the gift card better than holding onto it.
Here’s Gift Card Girlfriend’s Complete Guide to Buying and Selling Discount Gift Cards.
3. Stack Gift Cards to Save More
This is my last tip on saving, but it’s a good one.
Have you ever gotten up to the cash register at a store with merchandise to buy and a coupon to use, only to be told that the coupon won’t work? I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.
The coupon may be expired, not good for a few more days, or worse, has exclusions written in the fine print.
(That seriously gets me every time and it’s so disappointing!)
The most beautiful thing about shopping with discount gift cards, however, is that there are no exclusions to the savings.
If the gift card is redeemable in the store, you can pretty much use it to buy whatever you want (except sometimes another gift card).
This creates an opportunity to stack discount gift card savings onto in-store sales, coupons, online promotions, loyalty rewards, and more.
Here’s an example of how combining discount gift cards with in-store promotions can make the savings stack up.
If I buy a discount gift card to Old Navy, combine it with an “Everyday Steal” and add a promo code of 40% off a single item, I’ll save 59% on 5 pairs of shorts for the school year.
Do you know what that means? I’ll buy another discount gift card before redeeming my Super Cash coupon next month. If you spend more, your Super Cash coupon will be even greater!
4. Never Lose Your Gift Card Again
If you lose a gift card, there is very little chance you’ll get it back unless you can remember the numbers printed on the front or back of the card.
To avoid losing a card for good, you can write the information down or organize your gift cards electronically in a gift card app, but a simple solution is to take a picture of the front and the back of every gift card you receive, remembering to scratch off the personal identification number (PIN) as well.
When you use the card (and won’t be returning an item purchased with it), then delete the images.
Though you might not be able to present the image for payment at a store, you can use the gift card online or call the issuing company to ask for a replacement card.
5. Remember to Use Your Gift Cards
Again, you can always use a gift card app or a digital wallet to store your gift cards electronically with the hope that doing so will help you remember to use your gift cards, but this simple trick works best for me.
I store gift cards in my wallet vertically next to the payment cards I use most often. For example, I put a Regal gift card next to my Regal Club Card because I never fail to pull that out when I’m going to a movie.
(I love getting free popcorn!) I store Target gift cards next to my Target Red Card so I remember to use the gift cards before paying the remaining balance.
I store other gift cards next to my debit card so I’m always reminded that I have gift cards to use.
If you don’t use a clutch or checkbook style wallet as I have, then put your gift cards next to the debit and credit cards that you use most often so you are reminded of the gift cards you have every time you reach into your billfold to pay for something.
6. Keep Track of Gift Card Balances
I’ve got three ways to help you track the balance on a gift card. The first is to check online before using the card. (Many gift card apps have this feature as well.)
The next choice is to keep some type of a log for your gift card like this “Sleeve Pal” gift card balance log you can buy.
A less lovely, but alternative solution is to get out a permanent marker and write the balance on the card itself.
Just be sure not to cover up any pertinent details such as the PIN or the balance inquiry website.