Convert your gift cards to cash

When it comes to your plan on how to get out of debt, the real secret is you have to go all-in.

That means fully comitting yourself to paying off your bills, even when more tempting indulgences can be easily had.And since we’re using poker terminology, let’s talk about the card game. The gift card game.If you’ve been nice and Santa has left you various store gift cards or Visa, MasterCard or American Express gift cards then it’s time to decide what you’re going to use them for.

You could  pick up some clothes, gadgets or other swag that you’ll be tired of by this time next year or you can take those same cards and buy some peace of mind by using them to pay off your credit cards.In order to do that, you need to get cash for those cards, and here’s how.

Selling gift card online

Just like anything else of value nowadays, there is brisk business in the secondary market for gift cards.

You should already be very familiar with eBay and Craigslist, perhaps the two most popular sites for selling just about anything on the web. If you’ve never sold anything through these sites, bone up on how to best use them and potential pitfalls.

Other sites that you can use to liquidate your card stash include plastic jungle, Cardpool.com and  GiftCardRescue.com.

As you might have already guessed, you’re not going to get one hundred cents on the dollar for your gift cards. You will have to sell them for less than the face value. How much less depends on the popularity of the store in question and the overall market at the time.

One thing to consider is that you’re not the only one who got a deck of cards for Christmas and is looking to unload them. That means more seller than buyers, so you won’t get top dollar for your gift cards if you want to move them now. Consider waiting a few weeks (Valentine’s day will be here soon) to get more cash for each card.

The buy and sell

If you don’t like the exchange rate for your cards, another option to consider is buying merchandise and then reselling it.

You can use gift cards to pick up goods in the store and then flip them online or through other classified. The thing to consider here is that you want goods that are popular, rare (if possible) and that don’t expire. Electronics (especially Apple products) are always a good bet.

The return game

Finally, the most difficult option to explore is buying items using your gift card and returning them for cash. While this sounds easy enough, it is in fact very tough to pull off because of the return policies in place at most stores.

Many will only give store credit for gift card purchases, and some don’t accept returns at all if purchased using a gift card. But if you find one that does, it’s akin to getting full cash credit for your gift card.

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