Every time I see a restaurant placard with an advertisement to buy a gift card for a discount rate I jump on it. If I don’t buy it, I at least stew over it for the entire meal. I truly think, “well, I’m going to eat here again, eventually, it would be a smart purchase.” This has caused me some recent pain.
Target even has a special discount every Christmas that I jump on. I hate going to Target, but I simply cannot pass up a deal. Now, since I have a hoarder’s mentality, I hang on to gift cards FOREVER! It’s not normal behavior. The money on that card is depreciating every year with the rate inflation but I can’t help but save them for “rainy days.”
It’s a crazy habit since I am continuously trying to optimize my life and purge the clutter. I can find 8-10 gift cards in my wallet at all times. That number can get up to 20 during the holidays when marketing is at an all-time high. I recognize my sickness when I specifically go to a restaurant or store to use one only to find that I have 98 cents left on it. The lowest card I carried around was 54 cents to Target, WTF its madness. I’m sure I’ve lost previous gift cards but I can’t say how much was on them, so the pain point isn’t there.
Here’s the saddest gift card glitch that has happened to me…
During Christmas season I bought a $200 gift card to my favorite Mexican restaurant for $160. It was a total steal. This place is fantastic. I can get 2 street tacos and a Mexican Coke for $6 and free chips and salsa. Mexican Coke is the only soda my dysfunctional body can handle so it’s a splurge when I find it. The restaurant issued a paper gift card, which is shocking since it’s 2019. I was afraid that it would get torn up in my purse, so I kept it in a special spot in my kitchen. Well, 6 months later I remember it and went to start using it $6 at a time only to find it closed forever. CLOSED! I had been there at least 12 times since I bought the gift card. That was $160 gone. All the times I saved $5-10 by buying discounted cards and then carrying them around was completely negated with one mistake. So it new mission to use ALL of the cards I’m carrying around knowing that this WILL happen again and I should stop this madness.
On a side note: my colleagues know how much it kills me to lose money. I was staring out the window watching the traffic go by taking a moment to organize my thoughts for the day when a colleague walked by and said, “still thinking about that gift card?” Brutal.