Who doesn’t love a gift card? Certainly I do. In fact, for one of my favorite retailers, I have accumulated three over the last year or so, amounting to $300. I have been saving them to purchase something I covet. Even when Bottom Line Personal reported in December 2021 that unused gift cards earned retailers billions of dollars in 2020, I still loved my gift cards because I knew that mine would not go unused! I guess that’s true of many of you, too, because retailers are expecting more than $1 trillion to be loaded onto gift cards this year…and 47% of US adults have at least one unused gift card.
But a Wall Street Journal report has made me rethink them. With inflation rising and retailers’ prices going up, my cards are becoming less valuable every day. If I had used them even just a few months ago when prices were lower, I could have purchased more merchandise than I can today. I the meantime, the retailer has the $300 I was gifted—essentially an interest-free loan. Also, it seems the lower the gift-card amount, the more likely we are to spend more than the amount gifted. In a recent survey, more than 41% of gift-card recipients planned to spend at least $50 more than the face value of the cards they received.
What I am doing to fight back…
Stop buying gift cards. Despite the extra effort, I am going to purchase gifts.
Use up the cards I have. I guess I will be making a trip to my favorite clothing shop this weekend!
Ask loved ones to stop giving me gift cards. If they think that’s what I want, that is what they will give me.