Gift cards are very popular presents. They are a convenient and great way to ensure the recipient gets exactly what they want! Gift cards are also a popular tool for companies to provide rebates to consumers.

Let's review a few key points to help make sure you are getting the most out of your gift cards.

If you've ever received a gift card, you know that they can be useful tools to help pay for goods and services. But they also come with a few limitations. Let's review a few key points to help make sure you are getting the most out of your gift cards.

  • Try to use the card all at once.
    It's hard to get that last buck or two off of it. Plus, you won't have to remember how much is left on the card!

  • If you don't use it at once, remember the balance.
    Store the balance amount some place where you will see it—in a note on your phone, email reminder, or even directly on the back of the card!

  • If you're gifting, buy a gift card that doesn't come with fees and additional charges.
    Some merchants may charge processing or activation fees. Fees are "money out the window", and can be avoided if you do your research before purchasing.

  • Make sure you're not losing out on other discounts.
    For example, I might avoid using a store specific gift card because I have a store credit card which saves me 5% on each purchase. If I use a gift card there instead, I'll lose the 5% back. But if you use the gift card, that's free money!

  • Plan ahead.
    If you're making a large purchase, find out if the store will take a split payment, meaning some of the charge can be paid with a gift card and the rest with cash or another type of card. If so, you can use the gift/rebate card and your debit card or cash to cover the full amount.

  • Last but not least, be sure to check out our other resources on gift cards and generic prepaid cards.

Remember, if you don't use the entire gift card, you're LITERALLY throwing money away. Make sure you spend it wisely!

Good luck!