Now that the 2012 holidays are over, do you have a drawer full of gift cards?
Chances are some are for stores or restaurants you never visit, meaning they will probably go unused. But that doesnt have to happen.
Like so many of us, Trista Popper and Amber Patchman of Northern Kentucky each received a wallet full of gift cards over the holidays. And they already know they wont spend all of them. Amber said some usually go unused. I forget theyre there.
Popper told me I usually just leave them in my purse for months.
Beth Baldner told me I try to use them as soon as possible, otherwise I will forget them.
But rather than buying stuff you dont want right now, or just leaving them to collect dust and expire, why not cash them in?
Sell your Gift Cards for Cash
An entire gift card trading industry has popped up in recent years:
The websites Swap-a-Gift , Plastic Jungle, and Card Avenue are the big 3 of card trading sites (click above links). Card Avenue, however, is currently undergoing a redesign.
Some newer sites getting good reviews include Card Hub, Gift Card Rescue , and Card Pool .
How they Work
Card Pool recently tied Plastic Jungle for top ratings from Consumer Reports Magazine.
Card Hub is unique in that it uses Facebook to trade cards.
At Swap-a-Gift, youll pay $1.99 to list a card you want to sell. List it at a slight discount, and someone will take it off your hands.
If you want an immediate sale, without haggling, then you may want to try Plastic Jungle , which will buy your card immediately for a commission fee. I tested the site by offering it a $30 Best Buy Gift card. Plastic Jungle made me an immediate offer of $30. Not a great deal, but fast and easy.
Sure, these may not be the best business deal, compared with getting the full value, but it sure beats leaving that card unused forever.
Viewers have asked me if you can return a gift card: No: Stores wont take them back. The bottom line: The only way to get full value out of a gift card is to use it at the store that issued it.
But if you cant do that, you may want to try these sites, so you Dont Waste Your Money.
For more Dont Waste Your Money Reports, click here.
Dont Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co
Like John Matarese on Facebook.
Follow John on Twitter @DWYM