Let’s be honest, everybody loves cash. But for holidays, birthdays and thank you presents, handing a friend or family member some dollar-dollar bills can be tacky — so refrain. You can go the really thoughtful route and get your giftee something he or she wants or needs. Or, you can go the somewhat thoughtful route and hand over a gift card.
However, as convenient as gift cards can be — you can buy them everywhere from specialty stores to drugstores to online retailers — they sometimes come at a price (and we don’t mean the amount you paid for it).
Read on for the pros and cons of gift cards.
Last-Minute Convenience: Like we said, you can buy a gift card pretty much anywhere. Many drugstores, supermarkets and even some convenience stores carry a collection of them for American Express, Macy’s and Amazon, not to mention a wide variety of chain restaurants. A quick five-minute stop on the way to your next party is all it takes to get one. Hopefully, you know the giftee well enough to know where he or she loves to shop.
Photo Credit: Target
No Exchanges and Returns: Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert, points out the main beauty of gift cards as opposed to wrapped presents: the recipient no longer has to deal with the hassle of exchanging or returning gifts. In many cases, your recipient can even redeem their gift cards, such as those from Target and Kohl’s, online.
Perfect for Faraway Friends: If you have a loved one who lives far away, the gift card is probably the best option for the holidays. “Gift cards cost less to ship across the country or overseas, especially for an expedited service,” Woroch points out. “Gift cards also take up much less room in your luggage when traveling for the holidays so there’s no need to pay for checked baggage or overweight luggage which may otherwise happen if you travel with presents.”