Gift Card Management: Holiday Hack #10

Welcome to the Holiday Hacks blog series, where we quickly describe ways to get kids more involved in the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah – for, yes, less. Our tenth hack is designed to help you manage gift cards. Stored value gift cards are an attempt to honor gift-giving traditions, but still ensure that their recipient has the ability to choose exactly what they will really use or appreciate. But what can you do if your child receives a gift card from a store they never frequent?

There are actually lots of options. Gift cards can be sold (at a discount) for cash or even aggregated at places like allows you to exchange Visa, MasterCard or Amex gift cards for Amazon gift cards, which can be aggregated towards one larger purchase. Many charities will accept gift card donations to help them purchase operating supplies. Some stores will even allow you to return a gift card, although there is often an administrative fee for doing so. The point is not to let a gift card go to waste. An estimated $43 billion (yes, you are reading correctly) of unredeemed gift cards are currently residing in kitchen drawers and at the bottom of purses.

Perhaps the best thing about receiving a gift card that isn’t immediately useable in a child’s mind is the incentive it provides to “thoughtfully prefer” gifts on a go-forward basis. Almost every grandparent, aunt and uncle we have spoken to would far rather buy their grandchild, niece or nephew a specific much-wanted gift, but they need help to figure out exactly what that is. To learn how your kids can research and graciously ask for the “right gift”, click on the pink or green button below.

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