Gift cards are popular ways to spoil your loved ones during the holiday season.
But do they make for good gifts?
Here are some of the pros of giving gift cards:
Gift cards are easy to obtain. You can buy gift cards just about anywhere for any merchant, and it only takes a few minutes.
Gift cards are easy to ship. If you’re buying gifts for folks who live far away, it is very easy to drop the card in a greeting card and put it in the mail. You can also send e-gift card codes to a recipient’s inbox.
Gift cards are easy to personalize. You can purchase gift cards that reflect the recipients hobbies or lifestyle, and you can even design your own gift cards with photos. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!
Gift cards make it easy to stay on budget. It is easier to stay on budget because you are forced to set a dollar amount. When you buy a traditional gift, you may be tempted to spend more money on the item than you would on a gift card.
Gift cards make it easy for people to splurge on themselves. We all know people who never buy themselves anything. Getting them a gift card for a store they would love to shop at can be a real treat.
But there can be some downsides to gift cards:
The recipient knows exactly how much you spent. Sometimes this can cause you to feel a bit of guilt (i.ie. “Maybe I should get $25 instead of $15” or you may find the recipient is humbled by your generosity). When you buy a present, the recipient won’t know how much (or how little) you spent unless they try to return it, in which case, they probably would never say anything to you about it anyway!
The recipient may find a gift card impersonal. Most people appreciate gift cards, but if the card does not reflect their interests, it’s not a good gift. Make sure that if the recipient can’t use the gift card in a store near them that they can use it online.
Gift cards carry some risk. They can be lost or stolen. The store granting the gift card could go bankrupt and not honor the card. The gift cards may have fees or expiration dates. If you do buy gift cards, be sure to save the receipts.
Gift cards make it easy for people to splurge on themselves. While they can be a real treat to the recipient, they can also be a curse if it causes them to overspend. Be careful your throughtful gift doesn’t lead your recipient into unnecessary spending.
What do you think about gift cards? Do you like to get them? Do you like to give them?