After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and purging our apartment, I’ve really changed my mindset when it comes to stuff. What are the reasons you hold onto your things? I used to have a whole bag of buttons just in case one ever fell off a shirt (FYI: I’ve probably sewn on 3 buttons in my whole life). I had piles of receipts because I just never knew if I would need one. And I had shirts with holes and paint splattered all over that I had lying around for projects (note: shirts is plural – I kept one).
Here’s the deal: Holding on to stuff that you don’t need costs you. It might not cost you actual money since you already own it, but having to buy a bigger house or rent a storage unit to store stuff you don’t use is a waste of your money. Let go of those unused items! It’s a very freeing experience.
One of the things I’ve found people have the hardest time getting rid of are gifts. I get it, I really do. It’s special that someone took the time to think of you and buy you something nice. Buuuuuuuut sometimes those things may not be your style or something you’ll actually use. Don’t let those gifts sit around unused because you feel guilty getting rid of them! Instead, return them to the store, and get yourself something you’ll truly enjoy.
Every year my boss gives personalized gifts to all of his employees. It is seriously so nice and generous of him! Last year I got a bajillion kitchen gadgets and I was in heaven. This year I got a new wallet. It couldn’t have come at a better time as I had just broken the zipper on my beloved pink Fossil wristlet I’d gotten for a steal at DSW.
But upon closer examination, I realized the wallet wasn’t exactly what I would have purchased for myself. It was Coach, which means it wasn’t cheap, but I’m really a leather girl and this one was the signature fabric with Cs all over it. Just not for me. I noticed there was a tag still on the wallet with a “Return to Macy’s” sticker over it. So guess what I did? Yep, brought it back to Macy’s. In return, I got a gift card back.
How to Return Unwanted Gifts for Gift Cards
1. Look for a receipt.
First and foremost, check to see if your gift giver gave you a receipt. Lots of people include gift receipts with their presents because they want you to have something you like! Take advantage.
2. Find out where the gift was purchased.
If there’s no receipt, find out where the item was purchased. Check for price tags with store names. Once you find the store, return the item there at Guest Services. You’ll likely be given a gift card for the amount the item is currently being sold for.
3. Go to a large store that sells the item.
If you don’t know where the gift came from, hope online and check out large retailers, like Target, Walmart, Macy’s, or Nordstrom, to see if they sell the item, then return the item there for store credit. Once, I bought a BlenderBottle from Amazon and returned it to Target for a gift card. Later on, I questioned whether this was ethical or not, but I realized that Target wasn’t losing out on anything – they received a product that they could sell for a profit and they gave me money that had to be spent in their store.
4. Be fearless (and nice).
I’ve had more than one friend tell me they’re afraid to return items (even when they bought it themselves and have the receipt!). Have no fear! Returning isn’t scary. Walk up to the Customer Service counter, wear a smile, and ask to return your product. The nicer you are, the smoother your returning experience will go. And if for some reason they can’t return your item, at least you tried!
As for the rest of my story, I got a Macy’s gift card for $160. I picked myself up a quilted purple vest and a new Fossil wallet that fits my style so much better, plus I still have another $50 left to spend! I know deep down that my boss would rather me get something(s) I like than to let that Coach wallet sit in my closet untouched.
Related: 12 Practical Ways to Save Money