How to ensure your gift cards don’t go to waste

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By Courtney Jespersen

Gift cards have a funny way of sinking to the bottom of your purse or hiding beneath a mountain of papers in your cluttered junk drawer. It’s like they’re begging not to be used. But leaving them to collect dust is a missed opportunity. Here’s how to avoid squandering your gift cards.

Use them sooner rather than later

By law, money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the date the card was purchased or from the last date money was added onto the card, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Many cards won’t have an expiration date, but check the fine print so you don’t hang onto yours for too long. Expiration dates must be clearly disclosed on the card. When in doubt, use it up.

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