The start of the new year usually means three things – new year’s resolutions are broken, bills stack up and there’s a pile of unwanted gifts in the corner.
ASIC estimates that Australians owe around $32 billion on credit cards alone, equating to $4,300 per card. Yet this doesn’t deter us from splashing out for the holidays. Spending for the Christmas period was projected to reach north of $48 billion, with $19 billion going on food alone. The biggest region for spenders was NSW with Victoria a close second, spending almost $2.9 billion and $2.3 billion respectively. Of this spending, $600 million appears to have been wasted on 20.6 million unwanted gifts, according to a recent survey by Galaxy research (commissioned by Gumtree).
Unfortunately, we can’t help you stick to your resolutions – you’re on your own there. However, we can give you tips to turn those unwanted presents into cash to help pay the bills.
Return the present
We do not mean returning it to the person who gave you the gift and asking for money. If you know where the present was bought, you can head to the store and see if you can return it. If you are offered a gift card in exchange but need the money rather than another item, you can sell the gift card for cash. You will not always need a receipt to successfully return items, for example, Amazon will take back unwanted gifts through its online return centre.
There’s a multitude of platforms online that you can now sell unwanted gifts on. Websites like ebay, etsy and gumtree allow you upload photos, a description of the product and set a desired price. There’s not much chance you’ll receive the original value of the item as it is now second hand, but this will be the quickest way of getting cash in your pocket.
Regift the present
You could regift the unwanted item if you know of upcoming birthdays or events where you’ll need to give a present and think it’ll be appropriate. To avoid socially awkward situations, we recommend regifting to someone far removed from the person who originally gave you the present. Although regifting will not directly give you extra money, it will save you cash as you will not need to spend more on future presents.
In some cases, you can donate your gift to a charity and claim a tax deduction. The government has strict guidelines on what constitutes a gift and who can be a recipient, so make sure you meet the criteria first. The following conditions are outlined by the Australian Tax Office:
- The gift must be made to a deductible gift recipient. We call entities that are entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts ‘deductible gift recipients’ (DGRs)
- The gift must truly be a gift. A gift is a voluntary transfer of money or property where you receive no material benefit or advantage
- The gift must be money or property, which includes financial assets such as shares.
- The gift must comply with any relevant gift conditions. For some DGRs, the income tax law adds extra conditions affecting the types of deductible gifts they can receive
If you do decide to donate an item, we recommend you record the date, what you gave, it’s market value and the organization that accepted the donation. This will help you claim at a later date.
Of course, you can always let the unwanted presents collect dust in the corner if you are worried about appearing ungrateful. If you do try out our tips though, let us know how much you saved and we’ll report the results.