Gift cards offer a lot of choice. They are available to a variety of brands from restaurants and clothing stores to gas stations, airlines and movie theaters. Gift cards are better than giving someone cash because it shows you put some thought into choosing the retailer that best fits someone’s interest. The recipient can then redeem them like cash on exactly what they want. In many ways, they are the ideal gift for someone, especially if you do not know exactly what to buy them. But, you don’t always have to pay for gift cards.
If you are a savvy shopper that likes to earn free benefits with little effort and save money, Fetch Rewards is for you. By scanning your receipts from everyday purchases made in the past two weeks like at the grocery store, pharmacy or gas station, you can quickly rack up points via the Fetch Rewards app. These points can then be redeemed for free gift cards to your favorite retailers and shopping brands. You can also earn more points when shopping at the same online outlets you normally frequent, but by clicking on them through the Fetch app. It can be helpful to know the smartest ways to use gift cards so that you can maximize their value and save money.
Why might gift cards be better than credit cards?
Gift cards are a great way to be more cautious with your spending. For example, when visiting a store, it is easy to find things that you want to buy that you may not necessarily need. Retailers are clever in the way they display products to encourage impulse buying. Have you ever come home and looked through your purchases and ask yourself if you really needed that? When shopping with a gift card, the amount of money loaded on the card is fixed, and you are more likely to stick to that pre-determined budget rather than overspending. This is a great way to be more mindful with your purchasing habits, especially if you are trying to stick to a budget.
You are less likely to buy something you do not need because you know the amount on your gift card and do not want to go over the limit (and then have to fork over extra cash or a credit card). We all know that carrying a balance on your credit card without paying it off each month is not wise. Why pay the bank interest charges? Instead, using a gift card at a store can be a good way to control your spending. And it is even better when you remember that you earned that retail or restaurant gift card for free by scanning your other purchase receipts via the Fetch Rewards app.
Gift cards can make great gifts
Ever have trouble trying to decide what to buy someone? When you are looking for that perfect gift, it can be hard to choose, and you can spend a lot of time roaming the aisles of a store aimlessly. That’s why gift cards actually make great gifts because it gives the recipient the chance to buy exactly what they want. It also shows that you put some thought into deciding the retailer that you think would best be of interest to the recipient. Of course, they would never know if you bought the gift card with cash or earned it for free via Fetch Rewards. It is a win-win since you can save money, and the recipient gets a gift that they like.
Some companies also give gift cards as incentives for their employees. They also make great gifts to give to people you encounter regularly like office assistants, hotel housekeepers and flight attendants. A small gift card as a “surprise and delight” gift for someone is guaranteed to bring a smile.
Gift cards can be a learning tool
Gift cards are also popular with families because parents can give it to their children to teach them about managing money without the concern of giving them a full credit card. Kids can keep a tab of how much cash is on the card and how much they have left to spend. It is a great way for young spenders to learn how to handle their finances and be more careful about the way they spend it.
Share gift cards with charity
One of the headaches of using a gift card is feeling the need to spend every penny that is on it. This can make it difficult because you may end up spending more than you need just to maximize the value of what is on the card. But, if you have gift cards with a small remaining balance, there are alternatives to what you can do. You can give them to friends or save up multiple gift cards from the same retailer to pool the amount to use later. Or you can donate them!
Many organizations accept gift card donations including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Kars4Kids among others. This can be a great way to help others especially if you do not live near a particular retailer or don’t have immediate plans to use the card.
Are there any cons of using a gift card?
Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to gift cards, too. With gift cards, it is smart to spend them quickly so that you do not risk losing them. Unlike a credit card, if you lose a gift card, they are not as easy to replace since they have money tied to the specific account. Another con to tying up money to use at a later time carries the risk that a particular retailer may close a location near you or possibly even go out of business.
One reason that many retailers like issuing gift cards is that there is a certain amount of “breakage” in the industry. This refers to cards getting lost or languishing at the back of a kitchen drawer or bottom of your purse. They know that many people buy gift cards that sometimes do not get used so it is free money for the retailer. Plus, the retailer picks up cash before providing a service or exchange of goods.
Luckily, the gift cards you earn through Fetch Rewards didn’t cost you anything since you earn them by scanning your everyday purchase receipts to get rewarded with free money in the form of a gift card. The best part is that many of the gift cards are digital so you can keep them in your email to print and use whenever you like. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of rather than just a physical card you have to have with you to use.
The bottom line
Gift cards are a fun way to get rewarded yourself or reward others around you. Some of the smartest ways for using gift cards can deliver outsized benefits. And when you earn gift cards via Fetch Rewards at no additional cost to you, the advantages can really pile up.