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Why you should redeem your gift cards quickly

Gift cards are great. I like them a lot. Even though I'm all grown up now, it reminds me of my grandma giving me some money and telling me that I could spend it on anything I want. And gift cards are good for businesses, too. From their point of view, it's payment for goods in advance. The longer it takes a consumer to redeem a gift card, the further in advance it is. Since money has value in terms of time (think of interest), it actually means that a merchant gets more money, in the long run, than if they just sold an item outright.

But there is another piece of the puzzle that has always concerned me about gift cards - and it's simply human nature. It's human nature to put off things, and human nature to forget. So, in addition to the additional time merchants get with money, there is always a percentage of people who fail to redeem their gift cards at all. No, I'm not talking about some evil conspiracy, that's just the way we are. We put things off, and forget.

So go ahead and redeem that gift card right away. If you got an Amazon gift card, like I did, log into Amazon and redeem the card. That is, put the secret code in there, and get the balance to show up. I did mine the day after Christmas. And, with compliments to Amazon, when I went to go use some of it, to buy some dog food, at the check-out I was asked if I would like to use the card. I figured that it would take a lot of jumping through hoops to get it to work, but it didn't. Bravo, Amazon!

So, since it's New Year's Day, and time hangs heavy on days like that, make it a point to go and redeem your gift cards online. And when the stores open, go spend the money, and get whatever you want!