But have you found they also present some challenges? They are easy to lose, hard to locate when you need them, and terrible for landfills. You are losing money when you lose or don't use a gift card! I have some solutions to manage your gift cards better.
1. Keep all gift cards together. When you buy or receive one, put it in a designated envelope, wallet or case. You'll always know where to look when you want to use one. I like to separate my food related cards from the non-food, so I can find my Peets card quickly! Also, take the cards off of the backing or out of the envelope they may have come with.
2. Carry them with you. It is so frustrating to go shopping and realize you should be using that gift card you received, but it is sitting at home somewhere! Avoid this problem by carrying a selection of cards with you. If you have a separate wallet or small holder for those cards that you always check FIRST, before reaching for your credit card or check book, you won't miss out. Or modify this solution by keeping your gift card wallet in your car's glove box.
3. Plan ahead. If carrying the gift cards with you sounds daunting, keep all your gift cards together at home and check through them before going out the door for a shopping trip. Hopefully you noticed the words "keep...together" again - an important step to manage your cards!
4. Recycle. This is tricky! These cards do not break down in landfills and retailers will just throw them in the trash if you hand them over. As far as I have found, there is one company on the web that says it can recycle these plastic, everlasting cards: Earthworkssystems.com. But one store promotes that it will recycle its gift cards: Whole Foods. In fact, they will recycle anyone's gift cards.