Millions of Americans will receive gift cards this season, with the average spending on gift cards expected to reach $163 per person. But what can you do if you get a gift card you'll never use? Fortunately, there are ways to turn unwanted gift cards into cash.
In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at three ways to get cash for gift cards. Dan goes through all three, including using auction sites like eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY ) , gift-card exchange services like Cardpool, or finding friends and family members in similar situations to do a swap. Dan notes that higher-demand cards from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and other popular retailers can get more than a 90% payback, while a quick check at Cardpool found that Gap (NYSE: GPS ) gift cards yielded 82%. The conclusion: Gift cards can end up being less valuable than cash, but you don't have to get stuck with a card you don't want.
What to do with that cash
Once you sell your gift cards, don't just blow your dough on stuff you don't need. Get that money working for you in the stock market. Otherwise, you could miss out on huge gains and put your financial future in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal-finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even gives you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.