Why Gift Cards May Not Be The Ideal Gift This Christmas

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

If you’re one of those people who think popping money into a Christmas card is too crass, you’re definitely not alone. But, recent figures that show Australians spent around $148 million in wasted gift cards during 2017 – an alarming revelation that is good motivation to think more carefully about how you give and receive gift cards at Christmas and other special occasions.

Yes, the idea of purchasing a card to a favourite store might seem convenient, but the truth is that the gift cards are not valued as much as real money – or even an actual gift – and too many lay forgotten in drawers, wallets and handbags as they pass their expiry date without ever being used.

According to a recent newspaper report, one in 7 gift cards purchased in Australia in 2017 went unused – a statistic that shows an estimated 1.9 million Australians are either too busy, too forgetful or simply too lazy to spend their gift card. The same report uncovered that around 13.5 million Australians are given gift cards each year – and a large percentage of that giving happens during the festive Christmas seasons.

The average amounts left on those unused gift cards is a hefty $77.70, with signs that the younger generation are the most wasteful, with an even larger average of $105.80 wasted  on each unused card.

Breaking it down on a state-by-state investigation, it seems that Queenslanders are the nation’s most wasteful – frittering away more than $50 million in wasted gift card funds. On the flip-side, Western Australian residents are more frugal and only let $.4 million go unclaimed on wasted gift cards in 2017.

Women, it seems, are the worst offenders, wasting an average of $92 by leaving unspent money on their gift cards, with men leaving an average of $58 in wasted funds. Although some states are introducing laws to make stores extend expiration dates on gift cards to try to stem the tide of wasted money, at the moment, in most places across Australia, it is still very much a case of gift card recipient – beware.

If you’re thinking of bestowing such a card on someone you love, perhaps a better present might be the paperwork for a new savings account at their favourite bank – and a deposit to kick them off into a lifetime of better budget habits.


To find out more about how smart management of your budget or existing loans could help you save money, talk to our personal loan specialists at Loans Actually today.

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