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How to get more out of the gifts you just got—or get rid of ’em altogether

Extend the warranty, toss the manual, or get rid of an unwanted gift altogether. Here’s how to put your presents to work for you.

How to get more out of the gifts you just got—or get rid of ’em altogether
[Photo: Alizee Marchand/Pexels; Miguel Á. Padriñán/Pexels; Michael Walter/unsplash]
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‘Tis the season for giving and receiving. And if you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end, here are some giftee-centric tips and tricks to brighten your holidays even more.

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Toss those user manuals

Admit it: When you get a gift that come with an instruction manual, you tend to stick the manual in a drawer of aging, rarely referenced paperwork. Wouldn’t that drawer be better put to work housing a bunch of takeout menus, old sunglasses, and other assorted junk?

Chances are, there’s a user manual for just about anything you might get on sites such as ManualsLib or ManualsOnline. When you receive a gift, check to see if its manual is available online; if it is, toss the dead-tree version. And when you get the time, go through that god-awful drawer and recycle everything that you can read online. I did it a few years ago and it felt wonderful.

Protect your gadgets

They just don’t make them like the used to, do they? As a modern-day technology consumer, there are two truths: a) gadgets break and b) they break three days after the warranty expires.

If you fancy yourself a collector and you’d like to protect your collection, electronics warranty company Asurion has an intriguing service called Home+ that, for a flat $25-per-month fee, covers most of the technology in your home no matter where you bought it (i.e. if it was a gift) or how old it is.

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You can check if your goodies are covered here. One asterisk on that whole $25-per-month fee: Depending on the value of the item you need replaced, you may need to pay an additional $49 or $99 deductible. But if that giant TV falls off the wall, $99 would be a pretty cheap way to replace it.

Thanks for the gift card! (I hate it)

You’ve been given a $25 Starbucks gift card even though you hate coffee. What to do? Well, you could regift it to someone who is a coffee drinker. Or could put yourself first for once and get some value out of it.

Check out CardCash to unload all your unwanted gift cards. You can get just north of $20 for that $25 Starbucks card, for instance, or trade it for a gift card to a different store for slightly more.

Sell just about anything

So you’ve gotten a gift from a pro: Someone who’s put more thought into their generosity than just buying a lousy gift card. But that alpaca sweater—expensive though it may be—just isn’t working for you. Here’s a shortlist of places you can sell your stuff online for quick cash.

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General

Electronics

Clothing

See if you can get store credit

No receipt, (maybe) no problem. If you want to quietly return a gift you got and know where it was purchased, check with the store to see if it’ll give you credit.

And if you don’t know where the gift was purchased, if it’s a common enough item, another store might take it off your hands if that store stocks the same item. In my younger days, I worked at various times for three competing electronics retailers. Unofficially, we’d accept competitors’ items provided we still actively sold the same thing. Inventory is inventory, baby.