5 Ways to Use Unwanted Gift Cards

Last updated 04/25/2018 | |

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5 Ways to Use Unwanted Gift Cards: BrownThumbMama.com

Seems hard to imagine, doesn’t it? How could someone not want a gift card?!?

Well, there are a number of reasons. Maybe it’s for a store that you would never shop at. Maybe you won it at work or in a raffle and you have no idea what to do with it! Maybe it’s for a baby store and your youngest kid is 12.

Here are 5 things you can do with those gift cards so they don’t go to waste.

Eat light.

Have a restaurant gift card that’s not enough to feed your whole family? Don’t spend extra money just to use up the gift card. Order an entrée to go and add side dishes from your pantry (homemade Rice-a-Roni is always a winner at our house). Restaurant portions are so large that a steak or chicken plate can be stretched a loooong way.

Skip the fix-it.

Your gift card is for a home improvement store but you don’t know which end of a hammer to hold? Most of these places have laundry detergent, or cleaning supplies like mops and sponges. Pick up some industrial cleaning tools to go with your natural All-Purpose Cleaner and save a bit on your grocery budget.

Save up.

Do you have a low-value card for a store where everything’s expensive? I love to shop at REI but I need to save up before I go there. Earn extra cash from Swagbucks or MySurvey to help cover the difference.

Cash out.

There are websites like plasticjungle.com that allow you to buy and sell gift cards, but I’ve never tried them. Research and use your own judgement!

Share it.

If you get a gift card for a store you would never, ever shop at—don’t throw it away! Call your local food bank and ask them what they need. Better to spend your card on diapers and cans of tuna than let it go to waste.

5 Ways to Use Unwanted Gift Cards: BrownThumbMama.com

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Hi, I’m Pam! I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here, and please check out the resources in my Natural Living Shop!


  1. Alison P. on February 12, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Also great to use to buy gifts. If you get something to a place you wouldn’t buy anything, go in and see if you can find a deal for someone else. It is great to get a christmas, baby shower, or birthday gift and not spend money out of pocket 🙂

  2. Lisa on January 4, 2013 at 5:57 am

    If you have enough on the card for an entree to bring home, use it to treat yourself to lunch! We moms have to stop thinking of just our families, and care about ourselves now and again! It’s our gift card after all!

    Home improvement stores? My Realtor gave me a gift card to Lowes when we closed escrow. I loved it! Flowers and rugs. Lamps and holiday decor. I think I used most of my card toward new paint for the walls.

    Other than that one card, I don’t get them, or give them.

  3. Lynn@ The Vintage Nest on January 1, 2013 at 12:41 am

    great ideas! Happy New Year

  4. Rachel on December 31, 2012 at 11:39 am

    What I’ve done in the past is given the gift card to a friend or family member who I know will appreciate it a lot more than I will!

  5. Art and Sand on December 31, 2012 at 4:09 am

    No one ever gives me gift cards. I ‘m intrigued by Swag Bucks and MySurvey and will check them out.

  6. Diana - FreeStyleMama on December 31, 2012 at 3:47 am

    Great ideas!

  7. michele on December 28, 2012 at 3:41 am

    excellent tip, mama!

    so glad i stopped by your blog–hop on over if you have a moment.



  8. Lisa Lynn on December 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Great ideas! I’ve seen gift cards for sale, but I always wonder if it has been used already and the seller is just trying to make a buck.

    I would love to have you visit my blog and vote for your favorite post on Wildcrafting Wednesdays People’s Choice Awards! Next week we will be back to our regular blog hop, but you can find the poll here:

  9. Tree Huggin Momma on December 26, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    You can also sell your unwanted gift card. Post it on a social media site (like a FB page geared toward selling items) for less than the value. I often receive Gift Cards to places like Subway, Target and Tim Hortons. None of which do I use.

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