One of the solutions can be found in our own backyard; plasticjungle.com, a gift card exchange founded by a woman in Clovis.
Millions of Americans headed to the malls this weekend to take advantage of post-Christmas discounts, and maximize gift cards of every amount.
But sometimes, a gift card isn't exactly a good fit, and the financial services firm tower group estimates about five billion dollars in gift cards go unused each year.
So whether it's a retailer you don't use or just don't like, a crop of websites will let you sell gift cards, trade them, or donate them to charity.
Clovis-based plasticjungle.com, Gift Card Rescue, and Swap a Gift are among those that will give you cash for unwanted gift cards, minus a fee. Or try Card Hub's free gift card exchange app on Facebook, which lets you create a list of cards you wish you received, and others you're looking to unload.
If you do plan to use a card, but you're not ready to spend, many retailers have eliminated fees and expiration dates ahead of new Federal Reserve guidelines that will take effect in 2010.
Here's how it works on plasticjungle.com: you can cash in cards directly for up to 85 percent of the card balance. You can also exchange your unwanted or partially used gift cards for purchasing power at stores like amazon.com.