FREE MONEY! (that you already have.)

Have you ever opened your wallet, or emptied out an old purse, and found a treasure trove of forgotten gift cards? I recently found a ridiculous number of gift cards to places like 7-Eleven, Old Navy, Starbucks, AMC Theaters, etc. etc. 

I felt like I had won the lottery! Here I was, looking at completely FREE money that I'd been holding on to for no reason other than forgetfulness. 

In this NY Times Bucks Blog post, Jennifer Saranow Shultz faced the same problem. There's actually some new Federal Reserve rules that made gift cards "friendlier" than ever before. In the past, gift cards used to depreciate in value the longer they went unused. Not so anymore, according to Ron Lieber of the Times. Many gift cards no longer have expiration dates. Think of it this way: by not using your gift cards, you're essentially giving the gift card back to the store. That's win-lose, which is not fun or exciting.
If while digging through your mountain of cash, you discover that you have some cards you will never use, consider checking out some websites like Plastic Jungle or Swapagift, where you can trade gift cards of equal value to get one to the store you want. It's a win-win! Win-win situations are FUN! and EXCITING!
Treat yourself to a shopping spree with money that you already have - or, if you're feeling especially benevolent, you can donate them to charity. That's a win-win too! SO MUCH FUN AND EXCITING!
Stay awesome!