Regardless, I’m sort of looking forward to the day when I’ll walk into a store and a hologram will greet me. “Hello Lindy, Welcome to Toys R Us! Will you be spending that $16.08 balance on your gift card today?”
And then maybe another one at the register will slap away my debit card when I’ve forgotten again.
“Remember, the gift card?!” *wink*
Forgetfulness. It’s what’s causing this massive pileup of half-used gift cards in my wallet right now.
I’m a visual person. So when I put them away, hidden in the center compartment of my wallet, they tend to stay there. If I don’t have a specific purpose for them right away, they’re out of sight and out of mind.
Laziness may also be at play. Because sometimes gift cards require extra effort to use.
Like the prepaid gas card my mom so kindly gave to us right before our summer vacation. The fine print on the back says it can only be used for gas, and you have to go inside the station to use it.
It worked great for our road trip, but that remaining $28 balance was pretty hard to use up after we returned home. How often are you willing to forgo the convenience of pay-at-the pump and walk all the way to the register instead?
Then there’s the case of the too-small balance. Have you ever tried to buy a $4.50 latte using a Visa gift card with only $4 on it, and the barista tells you it’s DECLINED? That may have happened to me. It may have been semi-embarrassing, even though it was a freaking gift card and not my fault.
As a result, I have a lot of Visa gift cards with $4 balances on them.
After Christmas this year, when I was stuffing the newest batch of cards into my wallet that was still fat with cards from last year, I decided to tackle this problem once and for all.
Operation: Spend Gift Cards (a First World Problem)
Here’s what I had in my wallet:
- Rubio’s free taco card – estimated value of $3.50
- Starbucks – $15 (how on earth did I forget about this one?!)
- Starbucks – $0.62
- Danny’s Car Wash – $2.00 off voucher
- Visa Gas Card – $27.26
- Toys R Us – $16.72
- Visa – $4.06
- Visa – $4.19
- Visa – $18.63
Total – $91.98. That’s quite the wad of plastic.
But now I’m proud to report that after a lot of hard work, focus, dedication and stick-to-itiveness, most of these gift cards have been spent. The only ones left are:
- Rubio’s – I gave it to A-Rob to use, and he forgot about it. I think it’s sitting in his car.
- Danny’s Car Wash – because I never wash my car.
- Toys R Us – I’ll be honest, that store gives me the heebes.
And I learned something new. If you use your $4 Visa cards at Target, they don’t come up as declined. I used all three of mine in one transaction. Or maybe everywhere is like this now and I’m only just figuring it out.
So tell me, am I the only one with this problem? How do you remember to use your gift cards? When will the iPhone have the ability to sound alarms when I walk into Toys R Us? Wait, can it do this now?