Give as a gift or find yourself a free gift card
Everyone loves a gift card! Whether you're giving or receiving one, gift cards are a fun way to indulge or save money on your day-to-day purchases. Gift cards are available in a variety of dollar amounts, so you can easily find one to suit your budget, whether you're buying a major gift or just want to give someone a free coffee and doughnut as a thanks for a favour.
Gift cards can be purchased online or at the store where they are to be used, but many retailers (such as grocery stores, greeting card stores and drug stores) are beginning to offer a wide variety of gift cards for other venues, with the intention of them being purchased as gifts. If you're not sure of which card to buy, browsing through a rack of gift cards may give you inspiration.
Giving Gift Cards
Gift cards and gift certificates make great presents for people you may not know too well, for those who are hard to shop for or for a wedding gift. Gift cards are available for most major retailers, from electronics and home stores to fashion retailers, grocery stores and more, or you can find gift cards for services, such as car-washing, music downloading, spa services and more. If you're not sure of a person's taste, you can all do something like mall bucks or visa gift cards, which can be used at a variety of places.
One thing to be aware of when giving gift cards is that some of them come with a cost. Activation fees are common, so you'll want to either find a card without this cost, or pay the cost upfront so the person receiving the card doesn't have to.
With gift cards, you'll also want to look for expiry dates. While you may think the card will get used right away, many people tuck them away and forget about them for a while. Make sure you choose a card with no expiry date or a long time frame for use. You may also want to give the receiver a heads-up so they're aware that their card must be used in a certain amount of time.
Finding Your Own Gift Cards
If you want to treat yourself with a free gift card, there are many ways to earn them or receive them:
- Customer Loyalty. Many stores and online venues offer customer loyalty programs that allow you to build up points as you spend. Often, these points can be used in the form of gift cards, saving you money on your next purchase. Some businesses may even offer gift cards to venues besides their own, such as affiliate restaurants or movie theatres.
- Contests. Gift card contests are everywhere! Drop a business card in a ballot box, fill out a short survey, or enter online and you may qualify for a free gift card or be entered into a draw for a gift card of a larger quantity.
- Upgrading Services. Gift cards are often used as incentives to move from one level of service to another, or from one product to another. While they're a nice bonus, make sure the move makes sense or that you were planning on doing it anyway, otherwise you may find you'll pay more than the gift card was worth.