How to Pick the Perfect Gift Card

Buying gift cards often gets a bad wrap as being the lazy, last-minute gift solution. Converting your cash into store credit doesn’t sound as thoughtful as spending time choosing something from that store. But in reality, gift cards are actually more eco-friendly. They don’t lead to unwanted gifts, which is a surprisingly wasteful effect of being “thoughtful.” People re-gift, donate or throw out gifts all the time! It may seem much less intimate, but there are ways to buy the right gift card that can actually make it a treasured gift.

Whether you’re buying birthday presents, Christmas presents, or anything in between, we’ve got some tips and tricks for helping to select a gift card that won’t go unused. Just redirect gift buying thoughtfulness into some simple detective work, and you’ll know exactly what your recipient will love (just as well as those creepy Instagram algorithms). Take a look at our ideas for slaying the game with a super on-target gift card choice!

Peep Their Social Media Photos

Take a look through their Instagram or Facebook photos. People often tag the places they go, and any of those places would make the perfect gift card choice! You’ll probably also see photos of things like meals, books, household items, beauty products and a ton of other objects from their life. If these are the things they like, think about where they could go to buy similar items. Get inspired by the stores and brands that they’re already proud to vouch for on social media and you can’t go wrong!

See What’s in Their Neighborhood

If you have their address, plug it in on Google Maps and take a look around their neighborhood. What kinds of restaurants are nearby? What stores are at the mall closest to them? Buy them a gift card for somewhere nearby and they’ll appreciate the convenience!

A holiday gift card is one of the best gifts to make sure people get what they want for Christmas
Header Credit: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels, Credit: Adam Winger / Unsplash

Buy Based on their Lifestyle

Is the person on a vegan diet plan? Do they spend a lot of time in the car? Do they like to stay active? Think about what their lifestyle is like and how it affects their purchases. Giving someone a practical gift card is always helpful because they’ll know right away what they can use it for. A gift card for a store or brand that’s unique to their lifestyle shows you know them well and put some thought into the choice.

Give an Amount Reasonable for the Store

Mail your friends and family a Christmas gift card to deliver some cheer
Credit: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

Some gift cards come with a set amount and for some you can decide the amount yourself. You’ll most likely choose that amount depending on your relationship with the person and your budget. But don’t forget to take the price point of the items at the store into account. A $20 gift card to Chipotle is like buying them lunch a few times. A $50 gift card to H&M is like buying them a new dress or jacket (or a sale rack shopping spree). Think about what the company’s pricing is like and make sure to choose an amount that won’t have them spending extra just to buy one item.

Suggest What They Should Buy

If you’re leaning towards a bigger store like Target or Amazon, include in your message a suggestion of what they should buy. This can be based on an inside joke, a clothing item you think they’d need, or an item you know they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves. Sending a gift card is far less complicated than having the item shipped yourself. Let them know you have a present for them in mind already and that extra thought makes all the difference!

What are your favorite stores to buy gift cards for? Do you prefer receiving gift cards over actual presents? Sound off in the comments with your input! And don’t forget to pin us on Pinterest.

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