NATIONAL USE YOUR GIFT CARD DAY – Third Saturday in January

National Use Your Gift Card Day | Third Saturday in January
(Last Updated On: February 3, 2023)


National Use Your Gift Card Day reminds Americans to use the $1 billion in unused gift cards each year. On the third Saturday in January, take stock of the gift cards you received over the holidays. Then, make the most of each one of them before they’re forgotten for good!


We all do it. Stash away gift cards, thinking we will have more time later to use them. Instead, they collect dust and disappear into an abyss somewhere. We discover them as we clean and often don’t remember how much was on the card or if we used a portion of it. Those partial balances add up, too! So the first step is to collect the cards together and see what you have. You know where to look.

  • Every pocket of every purse and wallet you have
  • The infamous junk drawer
  • Glove compartment of the car
  • Bottom of the toy box (Someone probably used it to scrape goo off a toy.)
  • The other junk drawer
  • A gift bag with the tissue paper still in it
  • The toolbox (We know what happens when you can’t find a flathead screwdriver.)

Once you have your gift cards, get organized. Where do the gift cards work? Restaurants, retail, and services all offer gift cards. Some gift cards are designed to be used just about anywhere.

Maximizing Your Gift

  • Check for deals to maximize your gift cards. In most cases, gift cards work just like cash and can be used with coupons. However, there are exceptions, so it’s always good to check first.
  • Is the card to a place you don’t shop? You have a few options:
    • See if the card is good at a companion location.
    • Check to see if the retailer will cash the card out.
    • Have a gift card swap party or sell your gift card for cash.
    • Finally, donate your gift card to a charity fundraiser like a silent auction.
  • Plan to overspend the amount of the gift card to avoid having small balances lying around. Even if you add a small useful item (lip balm is always handy) to go a penny over the amount, you’ll be able to hand the card over to the retailer to recycle the card.


Collect your gift cards. It’s time to use them. Don’t let them sit for a year and risk losing your gift altogether. Instead, maximize your gift cards with deals and get the most out of your gift cards, too. Take a shopping spree or a spa day with your gift cards. Don’t let those gifts and savings pass you by! Use #UseYourGiftCardDay to share on social media.


Tilson PR founded National Use Your Gift Card Day in 2020 to make sure everyone gets the most out of their gift cards. Leave no gift card unturned and find tips, ideas, and deals by visiting, too.

The Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed the first National Use Your Gift Card Day to be observed in 2019 on the third Saturday in January and annually thereafter.

Gift Card FAQ

Q. Do gift cards expire
A. Gift cards should be used within five years of the date they are activated. Federal law prevents retailers from expiring their gift cards in under five years. However, the retail may charge a fee if the card isn’t used within 12 months.

Q. I received a gift card for my birthday. Should I let my friend know what I buy with the gift card?
A. It’s not required for you to share how you use the gift card. However, sometimes a gift card allows us to finally purchase something we’ve been wanting. Telling your friend that the gift card went toward something meaningful lets know their gift was appreciated.

Q. I received a gift card that I’m probably not going to use. Is it ok to re-gift it to someone else?
A. So you received a gift card for a coffee shop and you don’t drink coffee. Or maybe it was for a sports equipment store and you prefer books. Consider this before giving the card to someone else:

  • Visit the store’s websites. They may have a product that interests you after all.
  • Purchase a gift for someone else with the gift card, someone who loves coffee or sports.
  • See the answer to the first question. If you are going to re-gift the card, be sure to give it to someone within a couple of months of receiving it to avoid reducing the value of the gift card.

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