Christmas day has passed, and if you are like me, you have your share of gift cards to your favorite restaurants and book stores. Figures I am seeing keep talking about $8 billion in gift cards going unspent because people lose or simply forget about their gift cards.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a place where you could put these little gems, a place where every so often they would hop up and say, “Remember me? Spend me.”

For those who have adopted the “tickler file,” that place already exists. Take all of those gift cards and put them in an envelope. Pick a date you would like to see them again. Drop the envelope in the tickler file for that date. The envelope with all of the gift cards magically appears on the desired date and serves as its own reminder to look at the cards. During that quick scan, you and your spouse can make decisions on what restaurants you might like to visit over the next week or two. (I like to see them once a week. The ones we plan to use over the next week go in the credit card case I carry at all times.) I throw the the envelope back in the tickler file to resurface a week later.

Examining the gift cards takes only a minute, and the process insures that the gifts given to me will be used and not become part of that $8 billion that is wasted.