Now that the 2013 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 doesn't 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 won't spend all of them. Amber said "some usually go unused. I forget they're 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 don't 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:
Four popular websites are:
The original gift card trading site , Plastic Jungle, shut down in May 2013, and now simply re-directs you to other trading sites
Card Avenue, another popular site in the past, has changed to an online bridal registry for gift cards.
How they Work
Most of these sites will buy your card immediately for a commission fee.
Last year, I tested one by offering it a $50 Best Buy Gift card. A trading site 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 won't 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 can't do that, you may want to try these sites, so you don't waste your money.