Discover more from Unsolicited Advice from Erin Lowry
💳 Use your gift cards
You're just burning money if you don't.
Hello there -
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Unsolicited Advice from Erin Lowry.
Subscribe to receive new posts.
My brain has been simmering at a low-level of stress this week while trying to figure out exactly which of my many hot takes, opinions, and pieces of unsolicited advice would be the best fit for the inaugural issue.
But then I thought of my friend, and fellow Substacker,’s advice to start before you’re ready because no perfect moment exists.
This inspired me to share a piece of unsolicited advice I personally need to take (even money experts aren’t perfect with money).
It’s simple, but critical: Use Your Gift Cards.
I know, I know – that kind of sounds ridiculous. But those of you with an inclination towards either delayed gratification or spending anxiety or perfectionism might be a fellow waster of gift cards.
That’s right. I’ve wasted hundreds – truly, hundreds – of dollars in gift cards because I’ve waited until the perfect time to spend them. During my wait, I failed to take note of an expiration date or the business itself expired.
Here are a few examples:
Two separate gift cards to a salon that ended up going out of business in the pandemic.
A Delta airlines companion pass. I thought I needed to just book a flight by the expiration date to use the pass. Nope, the flight needed to be taken before the expiration date to apply. (For full clarification, I took plenty of flights with either Peach, my husband, or friends during this time and the companion pass could’ve been used, but I wanted to wait to really maximize it for a cross-country flight that never ended up happening in the timeframe.)
Many punch-hole-style rewards cards for a free latte or treat or store credits I squirreled away at local, or national, businesses.
This one wasn’t wasted, but I just used a $150 gift card given to me as a wedding present back in….2018!!!
It’s hard to explain exactly what happens in my brain when it comes to gift cards – but there’s something about the element of “free money” that makes me assign more value to that gift card than my own hard-earned cash. I want to be sure to maximize the use of the gift card. For instance, the current $100 gift card to a store I like that’s sitting on my desk will probably stay there until Black Friday when I know the store does a major sale and I can stretch that $100.
So, please, do as I say and not as I do: Use your gift cards!!
Feel free to do an armchair expert analysis of this conundrum in the comments section.
Give me your scenarios, your quandaries, your questions, or just send me an AITA to get my hot take. Topics don’t need to be money related – but I’m always happy to talk about money.
Submit your (un)solicited advice request here.
Thank you for reading!!
This newsletter is sponsored by the Broke Millennial series. By which I mean I’m not putting it behind a paywall, but if you’d like to support me then please buy one of my four books.
Thanks for reading Broke Millennial with Erin Lowry! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.