You May Have Extra Money Lurking in Your Wallet

You May Have Extra Money Lurking in Your Wallet

The holidays are over, the presents are unwrapped, and there's a good chance you're now in possession of a shiny new gift card or two, or three, that you haven't used yet.

On top of that, you're positive you still have the gift cards Aunt Sue gave you two Christmases ago—but you're not sure if you left them in your junk drawer or your other wallet.

You're certainly not alone. Gift cards may be a practical present, but they also tend to go to waste: MarketWatch reports that Americans leave more than $1 billion in gift cards unredeemed every year.

So while your bank account is still recovering from holiday spending, now's the time to make sure you're not letting this money languish. That restaurant certificate could be good for a free meal out while you're still trying to recover from all your holiday home cooking. Or you might be able to spare your credit card $20 by using the remnants of your Amazon gift card toward your next online purchase.

Simply round up all those plastic cards now—while their locations are still fresh in your memory—and place them all in one envelope. Clearly label the type of card, the amount, and the expiration date of each on the outside of the envelope, and cross cards off your list as you use them. Keeping them all in one place helps keep stock of what you have left to redeem. And the sooner you use your gift, the less likely you are to let any holiday money go to waste.

RELATED: Your New Secret Weapon for Getting Financially Organized

Another option? If you were never too keen on the present in the first place, check out sites like Gift Card Granny or Cardpool, where you can sell your gift card for up to 90% of its value.


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