Gift cards refer to those prepaid cards similar to a credit or debit card that stores issue to buyers. When a gift card holder presents this card in-store, they can use the store credits to buy something from that store.
Gift cards often receive a bad reputation for being impersonal gifts. Others even say that people who give gift cards are too lazy or don't think enough of the recipient to take the time and effort to shop for a real present. Many might also run the risk of not using the card because they tend to forget that it exists.
Reasons Why Gift Cards Are Great Gifts
Despite all the negative rap it gets, there are still many good reasons why gift cards are great to use. This article presents you with all the reasons why gift cards make great gifts. They are the following:
1. It’s Perfect for Last-Minute Invitations
This particular reason is especially advantageous for parents. When you have young kids in school, you can expect to be invited to many birthday parties. Many of these invitations, though, will reach you on the day before the party. When you're a busy individual, it can be stressful to go to the stores and spend so much time browsing through the aisles for a perfect gift.
Gift cards are great because they can save you so much time. You don't have to go through aisles of merchandise anymore, wondering which gift the receiver will appreciate.
Plus, thanks to technology, many stores now make it possible to purchase gift cards online on frugalforless.com. You don't even have to leave the comforts of your home anymore.
2. It Allows the Recipient to Choose Their Own Gifts
This reason works best when you don't know what the recipient wants to receive. For example, you're giving a present to your new co-worker to welcome them or family members such as teenage kids who already prefer to buy their own gifts. With gift cards, you're giving these recipients the freedom to decide which items they want to get for themselves.
This advantage also turns out to be a more practical choice for you. Since the recipient now has the freedom to purchase their gift, you can avoid the following situations:
- The recipient receiving a duplicate gift, in which case, one will end up unused
- The recipient already having that item
- The present is useless for the recipient
3. It Makes for a Good Gift the Whole Year round
Gift cards usually have a redeemable value for up to a year from the date of purchase. This feature is an advantage for recipients who may not feel like buying anything at the moment.
For example, as a Christmas gift, you've chosen to send a gift card to your niece who lives overseas. Since it's the holiday season, your niece will surely receive other gifts, too. Perhaps their parents won't be too keen on having her use up all her cash and gift card presents right away because she just opened other brand-new toys anyway.
With a gift card, you're giving the recipient a chance to spend it some other time of the year when they'll truly want to spend it. They could either wait for sale season to come so they can buy more with the value of the card or perhaps wait for the arrival of new merchandise. This strategy would make for an even better gift as they can purchase something they really want to have.
4. It's Easy to Personalize
Whoever said that gift cards were very impersonal gifts certainly hasn't tried pairing one up with a small, generic gift. You can make the gift card more special by doing so.
For example, you know that your brother-in-law loves wine. However, you're not too sure about which type of wine he prefers. To make the gift even more perfect, you can choose to give him a gift card to a wine shop. Pair this with a set of wine glasses and you just made a very safe way of gifting by making the package complete. Wine glasses are also easier to purchase than having to select a specific kind of wine.
5. It Allows You to Give the Gift of Experience
Not all gift cards have to be from stores or brands that sell merchandise. You can also give gift cards connected to providing lifestyle experiences such as travel, dining, movie-watching, and others. When the receiver is already overwhelmed with material gifts to go through, your gift of an experience will stand out.
For instance, perhaps there's a restaurant that the recipient has always wanted to try; an appropriate gift card for that restaurant would do the trick. A weekend vacation to a nice resort would be nice, too. Remember, you're giving the person the ultimate gift that money can’t buy: travel, relaxation, and experience.
Here are other reasons why experiences make better gifts than things:
- It creates a pleasant form of anticipation for the recipient, whereby through their busy days, they will have something to look forward to (such as a holiday, dining, concert, or movie treat) that's already paid for by your gift card
- It adds value to the recipient's memories and doesn't just add clutter to their life
- It allows you to give a gift with more value in a person's life–material things can wear out but memories garnered through experiences last longer
- It's a priceless gift–one can't put a price tag on memories
6. It Doesn't Have to Be Returned
When you give a material item as a gift, obviously you keep the receipt. You wouldn't want the recipient to know how much it was. That's fine if the gift ends up useful for them.
However, awkwardness comes when, for instance, the piece of clothing won't fit them, or they already have two of the same kind. In this situation, the recipient will have to ask you to return the item and replace it with another size or kind. While you want the receiver to be happy, it can be tedious to have an item replaced. You wouldn't want to do that, especially during the holidays when stores are jampacked.
These scenarios further support why gift cards are a safer option. You know that you'll never have to return it.
7. It's Great for International Gift-Giving
For families whose members live in different parts of the world, gift cards are their lifesaver. It's easier to send a small gift card than a large physical gift. Plus, the latter would also cost more. By sending material things through the post, you can even risk losing some of them; perhaps the product could also arrive in a damaged condition. What a waste of money!
Families that are overseas don't have to worry about not giving their loved ones gifts on special days simply because they live far away. You can still show them so much love by sending gift cards instead.
8. It Takes Away the Need for Wrapping Paper
This advantage is for people trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Gift cards are great gifts because it takes away the need to buy wrapping paper. While these sheets of paper are nice to look at and add a perfect touch to a present, they're a waste of money. Once the receiver opens the gift, that wrapping paper you spent so much on will just end up in the trash bin.
With gift cards, you don't have to spend extra on wrapping paper. You're not buying unnecessary single-use items, too. It may only seem like a very small cost, but when you're buying gifts for so many children, it eventually adds up.
9. It Takes Away the Anxiety of Gift-Shopping
This advantage is for the giver. Yes, buying gifts can be fun. When people say it's so much better to give than to receive, there's a lot of truth to that. But when you have to deal with the crowds, fight over items inside the store with other shoppers, and have a list of 20 family members to shop for, this can also cause you anxiety. No, you're not going to get that done in a day. This means you'll eventually have to go back to shop multiple times. This, on top of your busy work schedule, can be a lot to deal with.
If you know that gift shopping is just going to stress you out, don't let this dampen the spirit of gift-giving for you. Make it easier on your part by going for gift cards. A bonus thought would also be that gift cards are so easy to bring around. You don't have to carry multiple shopping bags while braving a sea of shoppers in a mad rush.
10. It Enables You to Stay on Budget
Before you head out gift shopping, it's normal for you to already have a set budget in mind. But once you arrive in the shops, it's also effortless to go beyond your allocated budget. When you feel excited about gift-giving, you can be overwhelmed at the variety of options that are presented to you. Hence, you may end up buying something more expensive than what you had initially planned. While going through the aisles in the stores, you'll always find something better and more beautiful to give. It's a trap to hurt your wallet.
This situation becomes even more costly when you have to buy gifts for different people. Once you reach the register, you might not notice that what you shopped for will cost more than what you intended to spend. Giving gifts, particularly during the holiday season, can be so much fun. But this doesn't have to burn a hole in your pocket.
With gift cards, you're able to stay right on budget. When you make it to the register to buy gift cards, you'll only have to say the amount and the number of cards you're buying. You will always be on budget with this option.
Tips To Make Your Gift Cards Of Choice Work
Now that you're aware of all these reasons why gift cards make for great gifts, there's a word of caution for you to remember. Not all gift cards will work out well, particularly when you also didn't put much thought into the kind of gift card that you're giving. You already have the easy way out without having to purchase a present, so at least put some thought into the brand or kind that you're giving.
Generally, there are two types of gift cards:
- Bank cards or cash cards, which are issued by Visa, American Express, or Mastercard. They work just like how debit cards do. You purchase the card and put prepaid cash value in it. The recipient can then use the card in any store that they like.
- Store cards, which are issued by specific brands. The recipient can only use the card in a particular store or to purchase specific brand merchandise.
Bank cards are great, particularly when you're not sure whether or not the receiver patronizes a particular store or brand. However, the latter is a good option when you're certain that the receiver can purchase something they like from that store or brand.
That said, here are other tips that you'll also have to keep in mind to ensure that your gift card will turn out to be a great gift:
- If the card has an expiration date, make the recipient aware of this. That way, they will not risk wasting the card because the value has already expired.
- If the gift card company offers registration, take the extra step to do this on behalf of the recipient. Should they lose the card, they can still shop in-store, as it's already registered in their system.
Whether it's for the holidays or someone's birthday, gift cards make for a great gift. From the perspective of the giver, it's a matter of convenience. You can avoid the crowds, particularly during the holiday season.
To ensure that your recipient will appreciate the gift card, however, you also have to do your part to research the stores or brands that you know they'll love. Otherwise, they might not find your gift card useful.
If you can give anyone anything, give the gift of choice. This is what you are doing by giving a gift card.