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Gift Cards

Pros

They are a convenient way to buy something for someone while allowing them the freedom to choose the specific items. As a gift-giver, your greatest goal is to find someone the perfect item that you're sure they'll like, but this is hard to do unless you know the person very well.

However, giving plain cash is often considered very bland as it takes no thought to give someone money. Also, when given money, a responsible person may feel obligated to spend it on other things such as rent, food, bills, etc. rather than something for themselves (which is the point of gifts).

Enter the gift card. If you know a store that has items that your recipient would like, but not the specific item(s), buying them credit gives them the flexibility to choose what they wish, but not to spend it on something you didn't intend. For many gift givers, this is a great solution.

Cons

As with rebates and warranties, gift cards are money you give stores something for nothing immediate in return. A store gains revenue for as long as it takes the recipient to use the card which may be only days, but could be as long as months or years.

A lot of people lose or forget about gift cards. Some gift.

In most cases, the recipient will buy something worth more than the card's value since no one likes to lose money. But in other cases, people will use most of the value and eventually forget about the few cents to few dollars left on the card (bonus for the retailers!). Add to all that the fact that many people lose cards and you can begin to see why gift cards are so common now.

Beware!

All of the above are reasons why it's good for stores to offer gift cards and that's only assuming that they're playing fair. Make sure it doesn't have any of these "gotchas" before you buy it (and don't rely on the salesperson's opinion, read the terms).

In Conclusion

If you're going to buy a gift card, understand the risks. If your goal is to give a gift to someone, but it ends up being something they can't or don't use, it's no gift at all.
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All About Warranties

All About Warranties

Extended warranties are a ripoff some say, but there are times when it can be a very good idea to use them. Read all about warranties and how to use them to your advantage.

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Product Rebates

Learn why rebates are a bad thing and some tips for making sure you get your money.

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Gift Cards

Gift cards are marketed as a great way to get a gift for someone when you don't know quite what to give them. But in many cases, all you're giving them is headache.

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Trusting Companies

Store, online or off, are not known for being fair and helpful unless it benefits them to be so. Good deals exist, but many are bad deals in disguise. It's not in your best interests to be too trusting with any of them.

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