How do you gift card?

>> 2.08.2010

As I mentioned last week, a $50 L.L. Bean gift card was among the losses I took when my car was broken into… or so I thought! As it turns out, the card my grandfather gifted me for Christmas was in my room all along (sorry thieves, no sweaters or monogrammed luggage for you!). Seeing as things can disappear so quickly, I figured now would be as good of time as any to use that sucker up.

When I receive a gift card there are usually a few things that I think about before taking the plunge on a purchase:

*Is it on the “Looking For” list? If I’m planning on purchasing something anyways, why not use someone else’s money?
$74.99
As sad as it is, the only warm winter jacket I have is from high school.

$39.50
With all the time we spend outside, a cooler has become a big necessity! Plus, at this price, I have enough extra to do a monogram!

*Am I making up reasons to buy this? With the funds in my hand, it’s easy to convince myself that I need certain things. Sometimes I don’t really have anything that I could use from the store in question. At that point, it’s probably better to either wait for new merchandise to come in or trade the card in for a store that I’m more likely to find something at.
$40
As great as it would be to have a Camelback, I don't know if I would buy it so that I could use it on a hike or if I would be going on a long hike just to use it...

*Should I save it for a rainy day? When it comes to retail or restaurant cards, it’s nice to have a little fun money laying around for the times I’m on a spending freeze. A negative to doing this is that you might never end up using that manicure gift certificate (d’oh!).

*Could I go to another store for less? Even with free money, I wouldn’t buy sheets from Macy’s if I knew that Marshalls had the same quality for half the price.
$22.50
I'm in the market for a cute umbrella... but I could do better than $23.

*Am I spending money that I wouldn’t have otherwise? Isn’t it funny how you start out with a gift, but end up using money out of your own pocket?
$69
These weatherproof flats would make rainy days so much more fun, but would cost me an additional $20 plus shipping.

*How can I stretch the funds? Usually, I’m all about using my card along with any sale or promotion that a company offers. Three shirts for the price of one… count me in!
$16.99
Under $20 for a cute swim cover-up... so tempting!


I know, I over think shopping sometimes… but it usually helps me make the most out of my money! How do you gift card: are you a splurger (J.Crew card for cashmere mittens) or practical spender (Visa gift cards on groceries)? P.S. What do you think I should buy?

11 comments:

Kristi W @ Life at the Chateau Whitman February 8, 2010 at 10:38 AM  

I'm a mix of a practical spender and a splurger. I usually use gift cards on things that I've wanted for a while, and it's a treat to finally get them. And then sometimes I just get basics, like I recently received an Old Navy gift card. But after 2 months of not really loving anything n the store, I gave in and got some solid colored tank tops and tshirts. I wasn't too excited or a special treat, but I didn't want to lose the card and at least I got things I needed anyway.

Liz February 8, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

I'm a splurger--isn't that what a gift is all about?

And I would suggest that you consider the Camelback. I got one for Christmas this year, and I love it. I do go hiking about once a month, so I use it often. Also, I get dehydrated really fast and having easy access to water makes my hikes, and the time after hiking, much more enjoyable!

PS. I <3 your blog-- your posts are so relevant and useful.

Mel February 8, 2010 at 1:58 PM  

I don't necessarily buy something I *need*, but I still try to combine it with coupons or other sales. Someone else's money or not, I hate paying full price!

Audreya February 8, 2010 at 2:13 PM  

I'm starting to think you and my husband have some sort of arrangement where you continue to post things I'm enticed by and get thrifty ideas. He's way thriftier than me so he's loving that I'm like "I got a great idea from this blog..."

That being said, it should come as no surprise that I do almost all the "bad habits" you've mentioned with gift cards... buy things I have no use for instead of waiting for something I really want, kick in my own money, etc.

As for giving gift cards, I try to avoid it when possible. I don't like people to know what I spent. However, I love the Best Buy "Pitch In" card where several people can go online and add amounts that all go toward the same gift card. It's great when giving gifts to people like my dad who tend to want bigger ticket items. Even if we have to "pitch in" birthday and Christmas, he can let it accumulate until he's able to get what he wants... and we don't have to give him eleventy different Best Buy cards. I hope other stores follow suit.

Christina February 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

I'm usually a buy off the looking for list. I've found that when I stray from it - I end up with what feels like an impulse buy and I'm disappointed that I didn't get what I wanted or needed out of it.

I love the cooler idea! I think that is something that you will use forever and often.

PS. I'm so glad those jerks didn't steal that card! : )

Christina February 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

I'm usually a buy off the looking for list. I've found that when I stray from it - I end up with what feels like an impulse buy and I'm disappointed that I didn't get what I wanted or needed out of it.

I love the cooler idea! I think that is something that you will use forever and often.

PS. I'm so glad those jerks didn't steal that card! : )

Amanda February 8, 2010 at 3:17 PM  

I'm a pretty practical spender. I would recommend the Camelback. I can't do long runs without one! And they are GREAT for hiking. But make sure it has a waist strap or it'll rub your shoulders raw. Speaking of, how do you normally carry water with you on long runs?

Oh and that cooler is really cute too!

Lauren February 8, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

I am usually a splurger when it comes to gift cards. I have an LL Bean winter coat that I have had for years now! I love it!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog February 8, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

@Liz~ Thanks, you're too sweet!

@Audreya~ I swear, no scheming going on here ;).

@Amanda~ Nate and I plan our long runs around water... Sometimes we carry a belt (the kind with several mini bottles), but for the really long ones we run on the downtown city trail. We're really lucky to have a hike and bike trail with mile markers, water fountains, and bathrooms just 10 minutes from home.

SeeJaneGetRich.com February 8, 2010 at 4:06 PM  

I usually end up buying starbucks cards. Is this a splurge or practical spending? I think starbucks is really expensive for most drinks and I am not a big fan of coffee so I rarely go there but the people I gift them to would think they are a necessity.

I so wish someone would give me visa giftcards I can use for groceries instead of cards to stores in the mall. Such a waste of money.

micah @ the yellow front door February 8, 2010 at 6:57 PM  

I think part of the fun of getting a gift card is buying something you normally wouldn't. Let us know what you end up getting!

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