Don’t Save Gift Cards for Special Occasions

If you’ve received a holiday gift card and haven’t used it yet, why not? Maybe it’s a logistics issue – for example, you have a card for a store or restaurant that you haven’t visited in person – but perhaps you are deliberately (or unknowingly) holding on to this gift card because you want to save it for such special event, such as the one in which it was presented.

As Soo Young explains in Lily , many of us fall into the “coincidence by chance” trap with our gift cards. For example, if we received a gift card for our birthday, we do not want to spend it on anything; we want to save it for something that looks like a real birthday treat.

Su Yong quotes UCLA professor Suzanne Shue:

“People put off using gift cards because they want to use them at the ‘right’ time,” Shu said. “For example, if someone received a Starbucks gift card, they might think they’ll save it for a special spend instead of using it for their everyday coffee.”

The problem is that no single coffee seems special enough – and when that special occasion does, we either forget we have a gift card or forget where it is.

If you would like to pamper yourself with a gift card, purchase this treat as soon as possible. (Even with restaurants; just order and walk away .) Otherwise, spend your gift card the next time you’re at Starbucks, Target, a retail store that accepts Visa cards, you’ve got it.

Gift cards are the type of currency that should burn a hole in your pocket, because if you forget about them, lose them, or don’t get a chance to use them before they expire, you might as well be tossing otherwise. a thoughtful gift straight into the trash heap.

(Not to mention, as I wrote last year , clinging to gift cards is like giving the card company an interest-free loan.)

And if you haven’t used up all the money on your prepaid gift card, see if you can use the last few dollars to buy an Amazon gift card that will automatically apply to your next purchase, no matter the case.


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