Christmas day might have already come and gone, but that doesn't mean the end of the shopping season. On top of returns and exchanges today, many people are using those gift cards. Although many enjoy picking out a specific gift for the people on their list, gift cards are growing increasingly popular, allowing shoppers to pick out their own things, on their own time.
But there are some things to keep in mind if you're using them. An estimated 25 billion dollars was spent on gift cards this year alone, and retailers say 19% of last years gift cards are still unused.
With Christmas just past us, now is the time when many shoppers will be exercising their right to buy. “It's a thoughtful gift and I can still pick out what I want from the store,” says Whitney Whilman.
If you do have gift cards in your wallet, you might want to double check to see if there's an expiration date on it. Some gift cards from the major credit companies or local malls carry fees.
For example, if a gift card isn't used by a certain date, money could be deducted from it for each month it goes unused.
Meantime, some shoppers tell us they will have no problem spending or forgetting about their plastic. “I don't forget, it's money and I know I have it,” says shopper Josh Werentz.
And after some time at the mall, others are using their gift cards at local restaurants.
“Good thing is you don't have to cook anything at home, get what you want to eat. It's great for kids, kids love to eat, get to watch some TV too,” says Shane Bartmess, enjoying his gift card at Applebee’s.
The Manager at the Mishawaka Applebee's tells us gift cards accounted for about 30-percent of their business on Tuesday.
“You can give them a gift card, not just giving them food, but a gift of an experience of a place they enjoy going,” says Kurt Brown of Applebee’s.
Just a reminder, if you have received a gift card, you'll want to keep a watchful eye on it. That plastic is as valuable as cash. Also, keep the cards number out of sight. There have been instances where the number has been stolen and then used to purchase something off of the internet.