Giving Christmas gift cards is a great way to go… especially when you don’t know what the recipient of your gift would enjoy. But… here’s a word to the wise. Before you make the decision to purchase a gift card or gift certificate, make sure you keep these 5 money tips in mind.
1. Make sure your card has no expiration date, especially if you purchase the card from a shop that is independently owned rather than a chain store. To the disappointment of many businesses, some states have passed laws to eliminate expiration dates on gift cards.
2. If the recipient of your gift doesn’t spend the full value of the card for one purchase, check to see that the remaining money on the card can be spent at a later time.
3. It may feel awkward, but encourage the recipient of the card to use it soon. You may have to be creative in this area… as it may be a touchy subject. Perhaps casually discuss with them what they plan to purchase.
Surprisingly enough, stores count on people not using their card. More than $1 in $4 that is spent on gift cards goes unredeemed. The card often gets tucked in a drawer someplace and is never used. Stores make thousands of extra dollars on unredeemed gift cards.
4. Consider giving cash instead of a gift card or a gift certificate. Perhaps you know what the person has been wishing for, or saving for. You could earmark the money by mentioning the item in a card.
5 . If you are buying a card or certificate from a small chain store, make sure it is valid at all of the stores. Often, small franchise owners do not honor the cards that are purchased from another store.
Happy gift giving!
P.S. When wrapping your gift card, or gift certificate, place it in a large box first. It will add perceived value to your gift.