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Gift cards are a great gift, but keeping track of how much is left requires a method. The method that works for me is to wrap the last receipt around the gift card, since the remaining amount is usually printed there. It is one less thing to keep track of and since they usually hand you the receipt while you still have the card out it has been convenient.
By W. Chaney from Issaquah, WA
Recently while cleaning out some old files, I found a misplaced gift card that had an expiration date of 2009 - four years ago! I tossed it in the 'trash' stack and later decided to look at it further before throwing it in the trash can. Going online to check the balance, it showed the card number did not exist. However reading the small print, I discovered a number to call to find out the balance on expired cards. If the card had a balance, I could have a new gift card issued for the balance minus a small processing fee and monthly service charges.
I now have a new gift card on the way to me worth $40.00! Never throw away an expired gift card unless you are sure it was fully used by checking to see if there is a way to receive credit for the unused portion!
Gift cards are so very popular, but one of the problems I had was remembering the balance on the card. Keeping the receipts really was messy and they tended to get torn or lost. We began writing the balance on the gift card when we got home from the restaurant or shopping trip. Use a Sharpie marker and write the balance on the card being sure to avoid the bar code and any other numbers on the gift card. We cross out a previous balance if the card is used multiple times.
By Susan from Houston, PA
Put a piece of masking tape on the card and write the amount left on the card after you make a purchase. Then there is no doubt how much is left to spend.
In response to a recent posting named "Giving Gift Cards" I just wanted to be sure people check the length of time a gift card will be good. It's a great idea to shop early if giving gift cards to many recipients as it spreads the expense out over time instead of having to buy them all at once a few days before Christmas, but you also need to be sure they will not expire before they get the chance to use them.
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Gift cards are fun to receive, and I have gotten quite a few of them. When I use a card, and it still has a balance, I use a sharpie to write the amount that is available. No more wasted cards and embarrassing moments.
By Christine from Sterling, Virginia
There are also websites for the cards as well as 1-800 numbers to keep track of balance. (07/15/2008)
I stick on a piece of masking tape and write what is left on the card. Then I cross it off and write down the next amount left. (07/15/2008)
Great advice as to writing the amount on the back. I am one that usually looks it up online via the card's website or calls the number (that is sometimes located on the back of the card). Writing the amount on is a great time saver. I'll try it next time. (07/28/2008)