Confessions of a Gift Card Hoarder


That’s how much money is unspent when I total up all of my unused gift cards. 

I have been holding on to many of these for weeks, months, some for years.

Why am I writing about this? A few reasons actually.

Gift Cards and Money – Wasted

A few years ago, my husband and I spent a lot of money purchasing a car detail gift certificate for our son from a local car wash business.

We kept asking him if he ever used it and he always had an excuse for why he hadn’t. He said he kept forgetting, or that he didn’t have the time to drop off his car.

Then we got the news that the car wash was closing and then it was too late. All that money was washed down the drain and not in the way we intended.

That prompted me to look for all the unused gift cards and certificates I had been holding onto, and what I found surprised even me. I have a large sum of unspent money too.

So if I am hoarding my gift cards like this, I am betting I am not the only one.

Sherrie Dunlevy Gift Cards

Why Do We Hoard Gift Cards?

So why do we do it? Why do we hold on to these cards instead of spending them right away on something that will make life better, happier or more joy filled?

I’m not really sure. I can only tell you a few reasons I have been holding on to them and maybe they will resonate with you.

The Perfect Gift

I want to make sure I find the “perfect” gift for myself. I have a few gift cards from specialty shops and I love so many things inside, I can’t just seem to settle on what items I truly want. This is especially true for stores that have clothing and accessories.

Do I want a cute top that I will wear for maybe a few seasons, or a piece of jewelry I can use for years?

I know this may seem ridiculous to you, but it truly is one of the main reasons I don’t spend my cards. I am overwhelmed by what to pick.

Finding the Time

I need to find the time to spend it.

One of my favorite gift cards or certificates to receive is for massages. But finding the right time to schedule one is always a challenge for me.

Should I schedule one before or after vacation? Early in the week or later in the week? When I am feeling good, or when I am feeling tight?

The list goes on and on and I wait forever to schedule.

Not the Right Fit

Sometimes I receive cards for places I don’t really care to shop.

Because of this I just don’t make it a priority to go to that business.

Why You Should Spend the Gift Cards

These are just a few of the reasons I have been holding on to many of my gift cards, I am sure there are many others as well. But now I am going to share with you why you should consider spending the gift cards sooner than later and I am going to start off with a spiritual principle and then will get to other more practical reasons.

By not spending your gift card you are holding back the blessing that was intended for you.

I read recently that if you received a certificate or a gift card from someone and it is intended as a gift, the cycle of giving and receiving is not really complete until the card or certificate is cashed in on an actual gift. A gift card is actually like a placeholder for a gift that is unreceived. 

This totally makes sense to me because as I am studying the spiritual principles of giving and receiving and gratitude and abundance, it all has to flow.

Holding onto an unspent gift card is stopping the flow of blessings.

The person that gave the gift card is giving it with the intention that you spend it on something you really like, need or enjoy and until you are in possession of that, the energy involved in that is stalled.

Here are a few other thoughts on why you should use your cards as soon as possible and ways to put them to use.

The Gift Card will Lose Value

The longer you wait, the more chances you will have that the gift card could lose value or the business could be sold to someone else or close up shop. Look at all the brick and mortar stores and restaurants that have closed down since the pandemic. While some states have made it illegal to have a card lose value, some cards now have expiration dates. 

Schedule the Appointment (or time)

Many times you will have to wait a few weeks to get an appointment for a massage or other service. So quit waiting for the right time to schedule and make the time to get on the schedule as soon as possible. The longer it takes to schedule, the longer it takes to enjoy.

Transfer the Value

If you don’t like the place from where the gift card was purchased, try a few of these suggestions; 

  • Re-gift it. This would be a great time to bless someone else with this card. 
  • Donate it to a local organization for its next fundraising event. 
  • Sell it to someone at a discount so that you both could benefit. 
  • Trade it in. There are even websites available where you can trade or sell in used gift cards like
Gift box in hands

Don’t Be a Gift Card Hoarder

I hope by reading this you have found a few good reasons to start spending your gift cards.

As for me and my gift cards, I am proud to say that within the last week, I have scheduled and received the most amazing massage gifted to me by my husband. I have purchased and enjoyed  some delicious flavored coffee from a specialty shop. I ordered a beautiful crystal bracelet. And I bought a new shirt to wear for the home opener of the WVU football game in September.

I have to admit I am truly feeling abundant and having a lot of fun making plans to spend the remainder, which in turn is allowing gratitude, love and joy to flow into and through me, and that is a wonderful thing.

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