A couple of years ago, I wrote a post all about conquering gift card clutter. And upon reviewing said post I was all, “This is great, Annie, good job.” Yet, the matter can not, I regret to inform you, be put to rest at that. The gift cards loom large and in charge, and too many clients overwhelmed by too many gift cards recently has convinced me of the need to rehash the subject. So that’s where we are today, my fronds. Specifically: me giving you four questions to help guide your edit of gift cards, gift certificates, and loyalty cards. Let’s get into it.
1. Has it expired?
I’m willing to bet that a good handful of the coupons, gift certificates and maybe even gift cards you’ve been stowing away for the last century are out of date, and therefore worth nothing. Check those expiration dates, and feel relieved, rather than cheated, when you find ones that are dead. No longer something you have to worry about, lucky you!
2. But do you shop/dine/stay there anyway??
A gift card that you’ve had in your collection for the last as-long-as-you-can-remember might be trying to tell you that you have no real interest in or need for the funds chained to their respective establishments. If having an excuse to try someplace new is thrilling for you, then by all means, actually put that card to work. But if you’re inevitably going to head to your tried and true coffee shop, rather than one you’ve never been to, then keeping the gift card is merely weighing you down. Acknowledge the reality of your shopping/dining/traveling habits and preferences, and move on with your life.
3. How much is it worth?
I know that in some respects, money is money. You would hardly ever throw away a five dollar bill because it was only five dollars. But gift cards and gift certificates are not really money, outright. Now, even a piddly amount at a place you consistently visit is worth holding on to, since it’s inevitable you’re going to be spending whatever small amount the gift card is for, and then some. But a small amount at a place you rarely, if ever, visit? It might actually be worth more to lighten your gift card load than to hold onto that small amount at a foreign store/dining establishment/etc.
It’s also important to consider how much the gift card is for in relation to the price point of the establishment. If the gift card is for $25, and the only thing one could purchase for that amount at the respective store is half a pair of socks (and it’s a place you wouldn’t normally shop/dine at), then the gift card is serves the interest of the store/restaurant than it does you.
4. Do you need the physical card?
Nowadays, more things are tracked digitally than not. This is grand news when it comes to your card collection, especially in regards to loyalty cards. When was the last time you actually needed to present your card at Walgreens, Sephora, or your gym? If your phone number or email or last name is a sufficient entrance key, ditch the card you never bring with you anyhow. If it contains information you need, like an account number, put it in a corresponding file.