Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gift cards, yea or nay?

What did you buy this Christmas for that tween who acts and dresses like she is 25; or how about the teen that only speaks in monosyllables?  I mean seriously how do you figure out what to buy for someone whose sole communication is limited to yes and no…mostly no? How about Sister June’s tots from Florida that you aren’t even sure if they are 6 or 9?  We won’t even discuss Auntie Bertha from Phoenix who you haven’t seen since you were 6 or 9? 

I bet you opted to buy a gift card. Consumer reports states that gift cards are the worst gift you could give.  Why?  Store cards don’t have fees like bankcards but they are sometimes inconvenient since you can only use them at that particular store. A huge percentage of cards remain unused moldering away in drawers and wallets and some simply forgotten. 

Then we come to deciding which store to get that gift card from. Someone I know loved Bath and Body works and they received a gift card to Bed bath and beyond.  Ok, both have the word, bath in their names, and they are both nice stores. It is just a minor mistake but Bed bath and beyond happened to be 40 miles further than the other store so, yes, it went unused.

While Cards from malls and those issued by banks like Mastercard, Visa, and American express seem like a good idea they come with purchase fees up front.  In addition after a year of inactivity they subtract an amount every month so that a $25 card can become worthless in 10 months time!  Lose that card and you will pay a hefty fee to get another or more commonly you are simply out of luck.

The Mall cards I’ve seen literally come with a huge booklet in tiny print of stipulations, rules and limitations.  Personally I don’t even read the manuals that come with electronic equipment so I sure as heck am not going to spend my time reading that!

In conclusion if you want to give a gift to someone and you just don’t know what to get them, give them a check or cash.  There are very creative ways to turn cash into a gift that keeps on giving.  And if you get a gift card be sure to spend it--quickly!

So…your opinions are welcomed –gift cards, yea or nay?

There are lots of ideas to make money a gift in itself...search Pinterest for tons of ideas. This star tutorial is an easy one that you can make in any denomination...


Christine said...

I will do gift cards to people I know will use them, else cash is better, you are right.

Magic Love Crow said...

I love the star! I never buy gift cards, unless I truly know the person wants it. Otherwise, everyone gets nice new fuzzy socks from me ;o) Not joking! LOL! Happy New Year my friend ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

Christine Bennett said...

My husband's aunt and uncle gave us a "money tree" for our wedding. It was a giant fake plant (which we still have) and they had folded brand new $5 bills into fans and clipped them on. It was so awesome and creative! Canada has new polymer bills now, so I don't know how well they fold,

I hear you on the gift card thing. Gift cards are not allowed to expire now (I don't know if this is an Alberta or Canadian thing though) so it does make it easier. I printed out gift certificates from Amazon and sent virtual Starbucks cards for Christmas this year too.

One thing I will not do is buy those pre-loaded credit cards. I did one year. I read the fine print but this is why they are bad - not only are there activation fees, they deduct money every month from the activation date. Plus some stores wouldn't accept them either, so I was really disappointed to hear that from the receivers.

My MIL gave my husband a $50 credit card gift card for his birthday and he promptly forgot about it after activating it. When he went to use it, there was $5 left!! He was rightfully upset.

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