First Person: 5 Reasons I Love Gift Cards

Yahoo Contributor Network

Facebook just revealed its multi-retailer gift card. Facebook users can give their friends gifts to various merchants on one card. The Facebook card is mailed to the recipient and future gifts can be "electronically added to the card." The card doesn't expire and the different gift card balances stay separate. To me, this is a gift card lover's dream. I hope to receive a Facebook card one day. In the meantime, here are five reasons I still love my regular, old-fashioned gift cards.

# 1 You Can't Spend It on Bills

Since we live primarily on my husband's paycheck, the majority of our money goes to bills and necessities like food. I'm glad we are able to afford all of our expenditures. However, once in a while, it's nice to buy something like clothing or a cup of gourmet coffee. A gift card enables me to buy an occasional luxury. Since I can't spend this "money" on bills, I don't feel bad about it. Guilt-free shopping is fun.

# 2 It's not my Money

Typically, I am given a gift card as a gift or I have earned it through an online rewards program. Twice a year I use my credit card points to get a $100 gift card. I also earn gift cards through programs such as Viggle and Swagbucks. Thus, when I spend a gift card, I know it's not coming out of my bank account.

# 3 More Bang For Your Buck

I can buy gift cards for a discounted price so I can get more for my money. For instance, a site like giftcardrescue.com enables me to buy a $25 American Eagle Outfitters for only $20.50. This allows me to save money when I purchase gift cards. In addition, I have registered all of my Starbucks gift cards onto one account. This has helped me get free drinks and other perks.

# 4 It's a Spending Game

I try not to go over my gift card's limit. If I am given $50, I try to spend less than $55. This forces me to be careful about what I buy. In turn, since I am taking my time, I often purchase something I really enjoy. In addition, before making a purchase with a gift card online, I can click a cash back link through a site such as Ebates. This method allows me to receive an average of 5% back on my purchase. In this way, I'm earning cash back on the purchase without spending any of my own money.

# 5 A Gift Card is Never Useless

Sometimes, I am given a gift card to a retailer I don't like. After all, $25 to the fattening ice cream store isn't something I am thrilled about. However, even if I don't like the retailer, the gift card is still good. After all, I can take some friends out for ice cream and quickly use up the balance. I can also sell my gift card online for a percentage of the original amount.

Gift cards may have a bad reputation for being impersonal. However, these little pieces of plastic are still one of my favorite gifts to give and receive.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

More from this contributor:

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