Yuma Sun

Don’t let fun gift cards go to waste!

Cnn report estimates there is $21 billion of unspent money in unused or lost gift cards

- Roxanne Molenar editor’s notebook Facebook.com/ysroxmolen­ar Twitter: @Ysroxmolen­ar

If you have unused gift cards collecting dust in your home, you aren’t alone. I read a report on CNN this week that noted almost two-thirds of American consumers have at least one unspent gift card in their possession. And at least half of those consumers lose a gift card before they use it.

But what’s really fascinatin­g is this detail: There is as much as $21 billion of unspent money tied up in unused and lost gift cards, CNN reported.

Holy bananas.

I’m guilty of the unspent gift cards. I have several sitting in my nightstand. I put them there so I know where they are, but that seems to be the parking lot for me to promptly forget they exist.

In some cases, I’m waiting for a specific something to go on sale before spending the gift card. I hate paying full price for something when I know in a few weeks, that price will drop significan­tly.

Sometimes, though, I’ve received gift cards for places I don’t frequent, and so I set them aside until a “later date” when I can figure out what to do with them.

However, the CNN report reminded me that gift cards should be used – and one can have some fun doing it.

Several years ago, my family accumulate­d several gift cards for businesses and restaurant­s that weren’t part of our normal routine.

I found the gift cards one Saturday while cleaning out a junk drawer, and decided to take our daughter on an adventure, only going to places for which we had a gift card. It turned out to be a really fun day of shopping and snacking.

One restaurant had delicious ice cream, and at another, my kid discovered a new brand of sneakers, sparking a love that continues today. We probably would have never stopped at these stores had it not been for the generous gift cards from friends and family.

And really, isn’t that the point of a gift card – a treat for you, or perhaps a chance to try something new?

Readers, if you’ve got some gift cards sitting in a drawer collecting dust, gather them up and have some fun.

After all, if you don’t use it, eventually, you lose it – and there’s no fun in that at all.

Unsigned editorials represent the viewpoint of this newspaper rather than an individual. Columns and letters to the editor represent the viewpoints of the persons writing them and do not necessaril­y represent the views of the Yuma Sun.

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