Did you get a gift card for Christmas? Read this now!

If you received any gift cards for Christmas this year, money expert Clark Howard wants you to go shopping ASAP.

Gift cards are a popular holiday present, but there have been reports that $1 billion worth of gift cards go unspent every year. That’s a lot of money down the drain!

Some people may not like the gift card they were given, but there’s another huge issue: retail closings. 

RELATED: Warning: Do NOT buy these gift cards

Use any retail or restaurant gift cards ASAP! 

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If 2018 is anything like 2017, retailers that didn’t have a good holiday season will begin closing underperforming stores — and some will file for bankruptcy — starting in early January.

In fact, we’re already getting word of 1,000 retail closings for the new year. See the full list here.

It’s hard to predict if the stores in your area will be impacted by the next wave of retail closures, so Clark recommends that you spend those gift cards right away.

After all, they won’t be worth anything if the store goes out of business!

“Any gift cards you get for Christmas, burn them quick. Use them quick,” Clark said on his radio show. “The restaurant and retail industry is unstable. Don’t let a gift card sit and gather dust.”

If you don’t like the retailer or restaurant that somebody gave you a gift card for, you can sell it using websites like CardPool.comGiftCardGranny.com, and Raise.

Read more in Clark’s guide to turning your unwanted gift cards into cash!

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