Nearly half of Americans don't spend their gift cards

A file image shows gift cards for sale in a store.

According to a survey, nearly half of all Americans have an unspent gift card.

And all that unspent money adds up to an estimated $21 billion.  The website says the average amount of unspent gift cards, vouchers, and store credits is $175 per person, up from $116 last year.

Now is the time to use these gift cards, says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at "With inflation at a 40-year high, everyone is looking for ways to save money," he says. "Putting your unused gift cards to work is an easy way to unlock some hidden value."

About a quarter of those surveyed say they have lost their gift cards.

"Clean out your wallet, your purse, your junk drawer, your glove compartment — anywhere these unused gift cards might be hiding," says Rossman.

About 54% of Americans say gift cards were the most requested gift item this year.