Which Australian states waste gift cards the most?
Who in their right mind lets almost $100 on a gift card expire?
It's January, so the odds are good that you have a couple of gift cards from Christmas floating around. Let's save ourselves the argument about whether this represents a thoughtless gift. Better to get something you can spend than a hideous piece of kitsch you can't even regift. What I'm thinking about today is whether we actually make use of them.
Research from finder.com.au shows that 14% of us have let funds expire on a gift card in the last two years. The average amount we've let go to waste is $54, according to a survey of 2,005 people. That adds up to $70 million in a year.
However, just how much we waste varies a lot between states. Below you can see the percentage of residents in each state that let a gift card go to waste, and how much they typically abandoned. (There are no figures for the ACT or NT as there weren't enough respondents to collate a valid figure.)
|State||% who let funds expire||Average per person||Total per year|
Victorians are the most likely to leave funds on a card, with 16% being guilty of that. But Queenslanders fess up to the largest amount of money going to waste, with an average figure of $94.
I suspect these figures are actually underestimates since those numbers represent people who can actually remember they let a card go to waste. Regardless, it's a pity to receive a gift that you can spend on something you like and then not do that. The best approach: make an appointment with yourself to actually use the card. If that's not possible, make sure you note the expiry date and set a calendar reminder a month before the card expires.
Bonus tip: if you're giving gift cards, be cautious before you use your credit card to pay for them – it could cost you more than you expect.
And for more on gift card waste, check out this Seven news story I featured in about the issue earlier in the week:
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) January 17, 2018
And if you want even more, here I am on Ten:
Last year, $70 million worth of gift cards went unspent in Australia, promptings calls for fairer terms - and even the end of gift cards altogether. #TenNews @elanalmcintyre pic.twitter.com/kwLpaibxMr
— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) January 17, 2018
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.