19 August 2010

I am a gift card hoarder

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random, shopping

The first step in addressing an issue is admitting that you have a problem. This is true for Facebook/Twitter stalking, real-life stalking and an addiction to cupcakes.

So here we go: My name is Jessica and I am a gift card hoarder.


Yes, it is that bad.

While cleaning out my desk this week, I found a gift card I received a while ago and never used (likely because it was buried in a mound of crap in my drawer, but that is another post).

I went home and looked into it’s value and realized the $50 was now worth $20, thanks AMEX for monthly deduction charges!!!

Disappointed, I remembered that I keep all of my gift cards together on top of my stereo at home, so I couldn’t help but wonder (in my Carrie SATC voice), what else do I have hoarded up there?

The answer was….horrifying.

I found at least $300 worth of gift cards to the following stores:

  • JCrew
  • Nordstrom
  • Macys
  • Target
  • Sephora
  • Lettuce Entertain You (local Chicago restaurant chain)
  • Gap

I would not believe I had that many and to so many places, one of which I’ve had for TWO YEARS. I am a gift card hoarder.

Fortunately, none of them have lost value, but the Nordstrom ones need to be re-issued because they did expire, but thanks to a little complaining, that was resolved.

Oh my god, how do I do this???

It’s simple, I get them and think I will find something perfect to spend it on, only to talk myself out of it when I actually find it. For example, if I find a great jacket at JCrew that looks amazing on me and I love, I immediately remember that I have a gift card, but then think, “hmm, I could spend it on this but what if I find something better, then it would be a waste!”

Cue six months to go by and that gift card is still sitting on my stereo and I’ve purchased both dream items at JCrew at full prize (and 9.75% sales tax).

This is a bigger issue of me holding back to find something better, but I cannot believe I had that many.

My new plan is this: I only ask for a gift card to a store I already know I want something from, then when I get it, I FORCE myself to go buy it, no second guessing. Oy.

What about you? Are you good about using gift cards? Or are you a hoarder?


  1. Maki says:

    I’m not a gift card hoarder, but I hoard other stuff. LOL. I tend to use gift cards as soon as I get them, I don’t know why…

  2. Jennifer says:

    Girl we are opposites!! I spend money before I even get it, let alone a gift card. I will FIND things to buy with one of those lol.

  3. talk about having christmas for your birthday! wow, I’m impressed at your gift card hoarding skills. the moment the gift card hits my fingertips – it’s SPENT. mentally and figuratively.

    The longest I’ve held onto a gift card was an iTunes gift card I got for christmas last year and didn’t spend all of it until march or april of this year.

  4. I tend to use them right away or I’ll forget about them.

  5. Grace says:

    I use them right away or else I forget that I have them too. My problem is keeping the cards with $1-4 on them thinking that I will use them next time I’m at the store but with only a few bucks on them I ALWAYS forget. I’ve had one with $2 on it since 2002. It’s sad. I should just throw it away.

  6. Erin says:

    I am a total gift card hoarder. I always feel like I have to spend gift cards on something “special” and not just any old thing. So, I end up holding on to the forever.

  7. stephanie says:

    I could have written this post. I don’t even want to know how many dollars worth of Target gift cards I have especially. As a teacher, I get tons of Target cards for Christmas and the end of the year and I LOVE it. And then I never spend them. I have a whole pouch dedicated to just Target gift cards. It is bad. But just like you, I feel like I should save them for something SPECIAL. I really need to start spending!

  8. Lil' Woman says:

    You know if you don’t know what to do with them I can easily take them off your hands for you….you know cause I don’t want you stressing and I’m that kinda friend… :)

  9. Mega says:

    So glad you wrote this, because its a stark reminder that I have a ton of gift cards that need using. I have $30 to the Olive Garden. Not sure when I will be using that one.

  10. Kez says:

    I forget about my gift cards ALL the time! Just the other day I remembered one I got a LONG time ago for participating in a radio station survey. I can’t find it and I can’t even remember if I spent it on anything!!!
    The only gift cards I remember to use are for a furniture/homeware chain that I love – it’s always a winner.

  11. Allison says:

    I have two giftcards from christmas still yet to be used. I have one to coach but waiting to find the perfect fall satchel.

  12. jaime says:

    omg that’s nuts! lol you need to do some fall shopping! i always use mine so quickly. :)

  13. Carrie says:

    i don’t hoard them. i always use them the next time i’d be shopping at that store anyway. i’d rather have more cash in my bank account than more giftcards in my wallet.

  14. Scott says:

    Been there, done that…created a better alternative! OK, this is a shameless plug but it was inspired by exactly the same problem so here goes. I created and launched the Original Gift Card. THE original gift card is really cash and MY Original Gift Card makes giving and receiving cash very cool.

    Comes in 7 colors and includes a fun sticker sheet to personalize it for any season/reason. It’s “the always-in-style, never-expiring, always-know-the-balance, freedom-to-choose, perfect-fit better alternative to the gift card”! http://www.originalgiftcard.com

  15. Hoarder. I just found a gift card that Jessi, Ang and Suz got me for my bachelorette party. Spa gift card that I’m using THIS WEEKEND.

  16. mandy says:

    I am the complete opposite of you. I get excited and go off in search of the most perfect item to purchase.

  17. Melinda says:

    It sounds like you need to go on a shopping spree this weekend. Imagine all the lovely things you can buy with those cards? I spend my gift cards right away, because I am too excited to wait!

  18. Steph says:

    Thanks for putting a name to this condition – I am totally a Gift Card Hoarder. My brother got me West Elm gift cards 2 years in a row for Christmas, and though there were very worthy items for me to take home, I didn’t want to feel like I “wasted” his gift to me by getting something that wasn’t exactly perfect. I held onto the cards for a year and a half before finally getting some linen window panels, and still there’s some money left on them waiting to be spent on something truly perfect. I’ll also have to admit that I have misplaced several gift cards that I’ve received because I hold onto them for so long. If I ever find them again, I’m afraid that they will have lost their value.

  19. molly says:

    I hold on to mine too! My issue is that I want to spend it on something really awesome and then I end up not spending it. I have gift cards from last xmas that I haven’t used yet. Ha!

  20. Kyla Roma says:

    LOL So funny, when I get a gift card I’m all “OH MY GOSH FREE STUFF!! STUFF I DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR!” and spend it right away :)

    My best gift card so far? One for 15 yoga classes! /swoon

  21. I DETEST gift cards for the exact reasons you just stated … I get them, stow them away for safe keeping and eventually forget about them. It’s the wrath of gift cards. I’d rather someone ask me what I want than to just give me a gift card because they have no idea what to get me.

  22. Heidi Renée says:

    I’m a mixed bag. I’ve had a gift certificate for free jeans at the Gap for like a year now, maybe longer. But I haven’t used it because I don’t want to waste it on another pair of “fat” pants. On the other hand, I got a Lands’ End gift card for my birthday and I spent that sucker right away. And even if I do have gift cards, aka free money, I usually still only shop for discounted items. I am turning into my mother.

  23. Ginger says:

    I am exactly the same way–I always feel like I’m waiting for the perfect thing, and then there’s anxiety that it’s not the right thing, and in the end I spend them on the dumbest stuff as if by getting the least interesting thing I’m negating the “must find perfect item” issue.

  24. Amy says:

    clearly you need to live in MN where we have NO TAX on clothing because 9.75%? horrendous. omg. I would die. And never shop.

    also- I wish I got gift cards. I just get cash and gifts- which is great, but my family doesn’t believe in GC’s for the exact reason that some may decrease in value over time if not used. :-/

  25. Eric gave me a HUGE gift card for my birthday last year that has lasted me a whole year but other then that I tend to use them up! I LOVE getting gift cards because I LOVE shopping but don’t always have the money to do so!

  26. I have a wallet full of them, but they are all for the kids. I’m not so much a hoarder, as too lazy to drive 30 minutes to faraway stores.

    I can’t believe them cards depreciate. That’s not right. We have a law here that gift cards can never expire or depreciate. I like it.

  27. Erin says:

    I thought I was the only one who did this! It’s like, as soon as it’s money gifted to me in plastic form I can’t spend it. It looms large and I feel like I need to find the “perfect” thing to use it on. I won’t even tell you how many gift cards I have in my wallet right now.

  28. lbluca77 says:

    “Lettuce Entertain You” Ha! That made me laugh. If I ever make it to Chicago I have to go there.

    My problem with certain gift cards I end up using them on stuff I don’t care about because I feel I just have to use them. Example: Target. I love Target, they have great stuff. But I find myself having to use the card and if I didn’t find anything I like I use the card to buy toilet paper or cleaning products. Sure, I need that stuff but really it is just no fun.

  29. Sarah says:

    I’m pretty much the exact opposite. I take that card directly to the store and spend it as fast as I can.