Put those spent holiday gift cards to good use and help out the environment!

You’ve gone on an Amazon spree with that gift card Grandma gave you over the holidays, and now you are left with a useless piece of plastic? Not so fast! Don’t pitch that card in the trash can just yet. There are actually several reasons to hold on to your gift cards.

Returns

Having a little holiday guilt about how much you’ve bought and want to return a few things? Some stores may require you to give them the card you used to make purchases in order to give your money back (or credit). Keep your gift cards close at hand until you know for sure that you are keeping your treasures.

Free Trials

Yes, free trials. Almost every site out there will give you a week to a month of free service to encourage you to sign up for good. Think Hulu or Audible. Actually, they give you the trial, but make you sign up with a credit card, and just hope you won’t cancel when the trial ends. Enter empty gift cards, Visa gift cards, in particular. Many of these sites recognize the universal Visa gift cards as real credit cards. Use an empty card to sign up, and you won’t have to worry about a random charge when you forget to cancel the subscription (we’ve all been there).

Reload the Cards 

Everyone benefits when plastic is reused, and many of the companies that allow reload balances on cards will also give you free stuff for doing so. Of course, reloading a gift card, such as a Starbucks card, requires you to sign up in their system, but that is how they get info to send you free drinks, free music, discounts, and more. In addition, to reload a gift card, you generally have to register it, which can protect your balance if you lost it or it was stolen. If you are a budgeter, adding the allotted budget to a card, so you don’t spend more, can help you stay on track.

Give Mother Earth a Hand

Cards are generally made out of PVC, so by reusing your cards, you could keep millions of potential pounds of plastic out of landfills. Get crafty and use your leftover cards to make bookmarks, stencils, backing for projects, and really anything you can dream up.

What do you think? Did you get any gift cards over the holidays? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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