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How to Easily Track How Much Your Gift Cards are Worth

Gift Card

A few months before my son was born (about 2 years ago), my wife had her first baby shower. She received a plethora of gifts from family and friends – baby clothes, diapers, you name it. I went and picked her up and brought all of the crap home so we could sift through it and figure out what we actually wanted to keep. We ended up returning something like half of what we had received (because most of it wasn’t purchased from our baby registry), most of it to the same 2-3 stores, each of us issuing us a gift card for the total value of what we’d returned.

So, there we sat, with roughly a half-dozen gift cards of varying value for a few different stores. It wasn’t long before we had no clue how much credit each card had, so we were forced to hand the cashier all of our cards and say dimly, “Uh, is this enough?”. Obviously not the worst thing in the world, but it could make the difference when you’re buying $50 worth of diapers and you only have $10 cash to supplement what you think is a $40 gift card (only to find out it’s got $2.59 left).

Avoiding situations like that is a pretty simple proposition. Nine times out of ten, the cashier will give you a receipt along with your gift card that shows the balance. Ready for some crazy innovation?

  1. Bust out your standard-issue labeler.
  2. Create a label with the current dollar value of the card.
  3. Affix it to the gift card.

Yeah, I know, I’m like frickin’ Sir Isaac Newton over here.

This should be a pretty easy habit to get into – just make sure that each time you use a gift card (provided you don’t exhaust all of the credit it has), keep your new receipt (which will likely also contain the new gift card balance). When you get home, print out a new label and put it on the card. Repeat each time you use a gift card or get a new one.

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