HomePersonal FinanceWhat to do with a Semi-Used Gift Card

What to do with a Semi-Used Gift Card

For special occasions my mom is likely to give me a Gift Card with a major corporation behind it (Visa, Amex, etc.).  It is likely she does it because I am a PAIN to shop for (just ask THE WIFE) – I don’t have any REAL hobbies, I hate spending money, and I hate others spending money on me for things that I don’t want.

I like these gift cards because I use them like cash (as compared to lets say a best buy card where I have to buy something there), so I’ll use it to get gas, pay insurance, pay the cell phone bill, etc.  What can’t I do with them that I wish I could? Put them directly towards debt.  But, if nothing else, credit card companies aren’t stupid.

Well it happens each year, I end up with $2 bucks and change on one of these cards, and it sits in my wallet mocking me with its very existence.   Why you ask? Because if you spend more than what is on the card in a store, it gets rejected, so you end up standing there like an idiot.  Similarly, and this is my issue, but I hate telling someone at the store to charge this card with $2.62 then I will give you another card for another $2.34 and another for $1.87, etc.

The Wife makes fun of me, but for whatever reason I CAN’T DO IT.  It should be noted that if you have a gift card from a retailer then you don’t have to embarrassingly state the exact amount – their computers will know it, and for whatever reason it makes me feel better – when they ask rather than me get rejected or have to hand multiple cards.

Used Gift Card – What to do with Small Amounts?

So, if you share my issues I found a solution a couple months back!

 I do the multiple card thing for ridiculous amounts, but with the computer rather than in the store.   So today, I signed onto (my mom’s main choice PROBABLY because she thinks I have to buy something at a Simon Mall with it rather than pay bills) pulled all the amounts from each of the cards (wrote them down on the card very important part) then signed into where I have the best plan ever (wrote a post about it here)  and started plugging away!

Next thing I knew over 50% of my monthly bill was taken care of by gift cards which would have been inevitably destroyed, lost, thrown away, or expire worthless.

Considering tomorrow is Christmas think about this tip as you open random gift cards!

Merry Christmas!



  1. Would it really work to use up small balances at retailers? Because there’s usually a “minumum charge” of ~$10, so I’m still not sure what to do with my $3.28…

  2. Kate,

    Thats exactly my point! you have $3.28 on a gift card…go pay your Cell phone bill with it. This way you aren’t wasting the money, and you don’t have to bother handing over 4 cards to an annoyed 18 year old asking her to minus random small amounts from your bill.

    I do this with my sprint account every time I find an old gift card. I sign on and pay the bill with the random small amount and then when it is automatically debited from my account it is less the amount I paid off with the gift card.


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