How I Store, Organize, and Track our Gift Cards

posted by Andrea | 04/7/2015
Print pageEmail page

how we store our gifts cards

Due to Dave being a teacher and a coach (and our well-known love of gift cards) we usually have an ample supply of gift cards to various restaurants, shopping centers, gas stations, bookstores, movie theaters, online venues, etc.

Gift cards are for sure our favorite type of gift! We certainly don’t complain about getting cash either… but when we get cash, we almost always just “put it in the bank and forget about it.” However, by having gift cards, we are FORCED to use them at the intended location – which means a “for sure date night” at some point!

In fact, we love having gift cards so much that during the holiday season (when all the stores and restaurants are offering special promotions) we often stock up on gift cards to our favorite places – and then enjoy the extra bonus rewards and coupons that go with them.

organized gift cards

Obviously, with all these gift cards coming and going, I need to have some sort of organization method to keep them organized, to keep them easily accessible, and to keep track of the balances on each card.

I realize there are Apps for that – and I’ve tried a few of them. However, I’ve never liked any of them enough to get rid of my old system that has been working well for me for almost 10 years now.

As expected, it’s a relatively simple system that only requires a few basic supplies:

  • Masking tape or some type of sticker
  • Pen or marker
  • Some sort of container for the cards (zip-top bag, envelope, business card holder, credit card organizer, wallet photo organizer, etc.)

gift cards

Once you have your supplies, the rest is pretty self-explanatory…

I simply put a sticker or piece of masking tape on the front of each card (leaving the card logo still visible) and then write the monetary value on the sticker/tape.

As we use the card and the balance decreases, I write the new balance below… and just keep doing that until the card has been used up.

gift card balance

I store all our gift cards in a simple business card organizer I got from a company YEARS ago. It works fabulously and is quite small so it easily fits inside my purse, diaper bag, etc. As you can see by the images below, I also use this business card organizer for store reward and loyalty cards.

gift card organizer

organized gift cards

This is the method I’ve been using for about 10 years and I’ve never ONCE lost or misplaced or forgot about a gift card (seriously).

I’ve also gotten LOADS of comments (and compliments) about my super simple system of writing the value on masking tape on each card.

In fact, just this past weekend (at Culver’s, of course) the cashier literally grabbed the card out of my hand to look at the front of it. She sort of blushed after realizing how “hasty” she had been… and then said, “that is the best, most simple system I’ve ever seen for keeping track of a gift card balance. I’m going to do that to all my cards when I get home tonight!”

I told her I had been using this method for many years and it does work really well… and then I smiled, knowing that this blog post was going to go up.

I guess the thing I love most about this super simple method is that it’s “instant”. I always have a pen with me (or close by) so I can INSTANTLY write the balance on my card and not worry about taking the paper receipt with me or trying to store the receipt with the card (that makes a mess). I also INSTANTLY know how much is on my cards at all times without doing a balance check online or by phone. And by keeping all my gift cards in one central place, I can INSTANTLY know where all my gift cards are when it’s time to use one.

If you have a few gift cards lying around, slap on a piece of masking tape, figure out the current balance, and enjoy being just a tiny bit more organized 🙂

Do you have any other fabulous methods for organizing gift cards?

gift cards

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: LifeOrganizingHomePaperStorageFrugal Living

 
 

Leave a comment

26 comments

  1. Simplify gift cards and get free money with Swych – Amy & Angie

    02/28/2017

    […] excited to try the app, since I’m currently using this method. It works and all, but if I don’t have a piece of tape or a pen, things quickly get […]

  2. Jeanne

    02/04/2016

    Hi Andrea,

    What kind of tape and what kind of pen do you use on the gift cards? My Sharpie pen smears. Is the kind of tape the key to this? or is it the pen? or both?

    Thank you,
    Jeanne

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    if you use the masking tape as I mentioned in the post, any type of pen or marker will work — that’s the point of the tape (so you don’t get the smudges!) 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. Virginia

    10/20/2015

    Hi! I was just reading this today, and have what is probably an obvious question. . .do you just keep this in your purse? And if not, how do you remember to take it when you need it? I love this idea, but I wouldn’t want to carry it in my purse all the time & I could just see myself either forgetting it or not having it when the need arises. Of course, my issue now is that I never actually remember to use my giftcards, or when I do remember, I can’t remember where I put it. . .so this system would be an improvement in that regard! 🙂

    Thanks. I find so many of your tips very helpful!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No, I don’t keep them in my purse — but that’s mainly because I actually don’t carry a purse, just a wristlet wallet 🙂

    I keep the gift card wallet in my car — which I realize might not sound super safe, but they are tucked away pretty well, and I’ve never had any issues. This way, they are always with me whenever I need them. As far as remembering to actually use them -that I can not help you with!

    I guess I we mainly decide to shop or eat out based on the gift cards we have, so that makes remember to use them really easy!

    [Reply]

    Virginia Reply:

    Thanks! I actually thought to myself that maybe the car was the way to go, so I feel validated that that turned out to be your answer! 🙂

    Thanks again for the great idea.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well I’m certainly not an expert, but glad my opinions help you feel validated 🙂 That’s all that matters!

    [Reply]

  4. 40 Organization Tips for Moms to Quickly Get Organized on a Budget

    09/03/2015

    […] 16. Gift Card Organization: Andrea Dekker has great tips to get those gift cards organized so you don’t end up forgetting or misplacing them! […]

  5. Victoria Pomeroy

    07/25/2015

    Thank you so much for this article! Almost every time I Googled “storing gift cards” I would get site after site of “convert them to digital!” (the unspoken ending to this would be, “You Luddite, you!”).

    But that won’t work for me, because I am trying to get gift cards together (I do surveys) to send to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas. I am on a fixed income and this way I can get them presents with little or no money. Never considered business card folders!

    I won’t have that many to send them but I wanted something they could keep on their kitchen counter to remind them they can always go out to eat (most of the cards are for restaurants).

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome 🙂 glad to help!!

    [Reply]

  6. Kelly K.

    05/19/2015

    Have been thinking about this post since you wrote it and it spurred me on to look for a zippered folio. Found one I liked on Amazon (zippered business card holder by Rolodex) and ordered it with gift card money earned from SavingStar (so FREE in my eyes!). It just arrived and I’m having such fun filling it up with gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Thanks for the idea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay for organized gift cards!!

    [Reply]

  7. Barb

    04/08/2015

    I store my gift cards in an old cassette case and it works perfect inside of your purse or bag, that is if you don’t have a ton of cards. The case keeps them contained and doesn’t take up much space in a bag.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s an awesome idea Barb!

    [Reply]

  8. Emma {Emma's Little Kitchen}

    04/08/2015

    I definitely need a system for this… I’m a total mess with gift cards. Thanks for your ever practical solutions!

    [Reply]

  9. Kelly

    04/07/2015

    My husband and I are both teachers, so we get lots of gift cards too. = ) I do almost exactly the same thing as you. As a teacher, I own a million Sharpie pens, so I keep track of the balance directly on the cards with a Sharpie and then keep them in my holder. I am never far from Sharpie, so I can keep the balances up to date easily.

    [Reply]

  10. Erica

    04/07/2015

    Great ideas! I don’t get gift cards often, but I will try this next time I do.

    [Reply]

  11. Melissa

    04/07/2015

    Love the idea of doing this for loyalty rewards program cards. I have a ton of those cluttering up my wallet.

    [Reply]

  12. Emily

    04/07/2015

    This is so simple yet brilliant!! We have a pile of gift cards from Christmas in our desk, time to get organized!! Thanks for the great tip! 🙂

    [Reply]

  13. Charmb

    04/07/2015

    Hi Andrea, This is a brilliant idea, I have a business card case I can use here at home. Once again you have amazed me with such a simple and useful idea. thanks

    [Reply]

  14. Stel

    04/07/2015

    “Instantly” is the key word for me here. There are so many apps for almost anything under the sun- but it does sometimes add schlepp to you life. Masking tape might be the most underrated tool in the house, from marking gift cards to frozen goods!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes… I love technology, but sometimes, pen and paper (or masking tape) are just easier!

    [Reply]

  15. sue

    04/07/2015

    I have a plastic zip bag in my purse that i keep coupons and cards in …and a sharpie marker. I just write the balance on the front of the card when i use it ..no tape involved.

    sue in nj

    [Reply]

  16. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    04/07/2015

    Great idea, Andrea! I have a gift card wallet for all my gift cards because, like you, we get and use a lot of gift cards! I like the idea of masking tape labels. I’m going to give it a try! My “problem” is that I’ve worn out two gift card wallets from their regular use so need to get another one now. I do love having all my gift cards in one place!

    [Reply]

  17. Stephanie

    04/07/2015

    I just joined our school’s TRIP. Super exciting because for a lot of purchases I can decide in the store that I need an electronic gift card for a certain amount, purchase on the TRIP website, and have a few dollars or cents taken off my tuition bill just by shopping and purchasing items I already use. But there are a few you need physical cards. Grocery and gas are big ones. I can reload those so I am not sure masking tape would work the best for that. I haven’t gotten a system down yet but this does sound easy.
    It is worth the hassle to me because in two months we have shaved off around $30 off our tuition payment. We are pretty stubborn and only buy gift cards when we know we have an item we need from that store, and we try to only buy a just enough so that we don’t run a balance because then that is $3 sitting in our wallet tied down to a specific place. But for gas and grocery it actually helps us keep track of our budget and spending pretty easily. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Shelley Reply:

    Oh, I love TRIP!

    [Reply]