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Gift Cards and Kids: A Good or Bad Thing?

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM
  • 29 Replies


Gift cards. People love to give them and people love to get them. It's a great gift, especially for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life--my husband asks for an Apple gift card, a Starbucks gift card, and a Barnes and Noble gift card every year for his presents. The family obliges, and everyone is happy. Recently my 12-year-old niece has started asking for them....is that good or bad?

That little piece of plastic money into your kids' hands can be great. It lets them get some good practice at handling money. But there are a few hints to tell your kids when they start using those gift cards.

-- Guard that card. Remind your kids that the gift card is just like cash. If it is lost or stolen, it is gone. One thing my sister did for her daughter is get her a small wallet just for her gift cards so that after the holidays, she would always know where they were.

-- Using it may mean you also have to pay cash. It's tough to ring up an exact $25 purchase at Wal-Mart. No one wants to leave $0.79 on that gift card, and most cards will not redeem any remaining balances. So, an extra few bucks may be needed when they are using a gift card. Two choices here: either your kids need to bring along a few dollars from their piggy bank just in case, or you may offer to pay an agreed-upon overage.

-- Bring a list. Even though that $50 card may make them feel rich, the stuff they put into that cart will add up fast. Have your kids keep a list of wants and bring it along when they are shopping.

-- It may cost you not to use it. Some gift cards, especially those from banking or credit institutions, will start to deduct a fee if you don't use a card after a certain time. Be sure to read all of the fine print (for most you can look online to see if there are any fees). A good rule of thumb: have your kids use gift cards first before spending any "real" money in their piggy banks to be sure to avoid any sort of non-usage fees.

Have your kids received gift cards? WIll you give gift cards this holiday season?

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
suziejax
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Yes both my kids have gotten a lot of gift cards over the years for gifts from people who did not know what to get them at a holiday time. It works well because they get to shop for their own gift and get experience on staying with their means. ( limit on the card)

I also have given them a few small amount cards over the years in their christmas stocking. I will probabaly again this year.

MamaBear2cubs
by Nikki on Nov. 9, 2011 at 6:21 AM

My kids are too little for gift cards, I wouldn't buy them unless they were specifically asked for by a teenage child. I perfer to buy meaningful gifts.


mommyprice09
by Ashley on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

I think it is great. The hard to buys and even the little ones. Take them to the store and let them pick out what they want.

mommyprice09
by Ashley on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:14 AM

I like to add mcDonalds cards to the stockings too it's a nice filler and makes for a fun day out.

yvonne37
by Yvonne on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:22 AM

 my daughter started getting them for her 5th birthday this year and she loves it.. gives her a sense of freedom to buy what she wants and a chance for us to explain to her how this world works. My teen likes it because sometimes family and friends dont know what he has already, plus he saves them and when something comes up he really wants he can get it.  Thnks on the tip about if you dont use some of them charge you.. its true and it happened to me in one occasion a lot time ago, they didnt charge me but they were taking from the balance.

 

yvonne37
by Yvonne on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:23 AM

 My husband thinks is impersonal but I like it, it gives the kids a chance to get what they really like.

Personally i love to get them too.. :)

ta2dirishlass
by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 9:56 AM

DD has not received any gift cards yet as she is a bit too young but I probably will start giving them to her in the next couple years. These are good things to keep in mind though, particularly the bit about the fees.

jbyrd898
by Jessica on Nov. 9, 2011 at 1:51 PM

my child has not yet received gift cards. We have given some to our nephews/niece in the past.

mommyprice09
by Ashley on Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:26 PM

yeah i was surprised to see the fees, I think it's kind of ridiculous when you spend money on it and now there is a fee that makes it a less amount.

Quoting ta2dirishlass:

DD has not received any gift cards yet as she is a bit too young but I probably will start giving them to her in the next couple years. These are good things to keep in mind though, particularly the bit about the fees.


http://raysofsunshineanp.blogspot.com/
mammapav
by Bronze Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:28 PM

I think gift cards are great.  They can get what they need and want.

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