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From the Magazine

4 Ways to Find Extra Holiday Cash in a Pinch


If you’re feeling a little strapped for cash this time of year and wishing you had extra money to lavish on loved ones this season, there could be an easy solution just waiting to be discovered in a spot you haven’t thought to check: You could have hundreds more dollars than you thought! Read on for tips on how to find extra holiday cash lying around where you might least expect it. 

Check Your Rewards Points

If it’s been a while since you checked your credit and debit card accounts for how much cash back or points you’ve earned, now is the time to look. As many as 62 percent of us have accrued rewards that are just waiting to be redeemed. You could have enough points to purchase merchandise, travel tickets, and other presents for loved ones. Earned a bunch of air miles? If you’re not planning to use them, you may be able to trade them in for gift cards to major retailers and restaurants, such as Best Buy and Chili’s. To make the swap: Open a free account at Points, add your rewards information, then follow the instructions.

Cash in on Unwanted Clothes

There’s no time like the holidays to go through closets and gather up clothes you no longer wear — especially because for every bag of clothing you bring to H&M for its Garment Collection Program, which donates used clothes to those in need, you’ll receive a discount card that entitles you to 15 percent off of your next in-store purchase. Not only does this deduction apply to the retailer’s fashion lines, it works on accessories, cosmetics, and jewelry, which make perfect stocking stuffers. To get your discount, locate an H&M store near you, then flag down an employee upon arrival and let them know you have items to drop off.

Trade in Your Old Electronics

Got laptops, cellphones, smart watches, tablets, or other electronics you no longer use? You can now trade them for cash or a store gift card at more and more major retailers! At Target, you can call your local store or visit the store’s trade-in site to find a location that accepts trade-ins near you. For Best Buy, call your local outlet or log on to For Amazon, click this link, then mail in qualifying electronics using the site’s free shipping label to get an Amazon gift card.

Take Advantage of Unused Gift Cards

Are you among the nearly 50 percent of us who have an unused gift card lying around in a drawer? Take it to your local Target! There, you can exchange gift cards from dozens of major retailers and restaurants with any balance for a Target gift card. You’ll get an offer similar to the amount you’d get if you sold it online (typically 25 percent less than the value on the card), and you’ll get the Target gift card immediately. 

Been hanging on to a bank-issued gift card (such as Amex, MasterCard or Visa) because it has a small sum left on it? Before you accidentally misplace the card or forget about it, add it to your Amazon account. You can transfer as little as 50 cents to apply toward future purchases. To do: Log in to your Amazon account, click “Gift Cards,” then “Reload Your Balance” and enter your card’s information. The cash will be available for your next purchase!

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.”

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