The Advantages of Buying Gift Cards for Yourself
So what’s the appeal of purchasing a gift card for yourself? Here are a few theories and tips:
Splurge control and budgeting
One of the best feelings associated with receiving a gift card is being able to purchase whatever you want without it affecting your bank account. Similarly purchasing gift cards for yourself can allow you to budget these types of splurges in order to maintain this guilt-free feeling. For example, say you get a bonus at work — you could use part of that money to purchase gift cards from some of your favorite retailers and restaurants. That way, down the road when you and your significant other are in need of a treat or night out, the money is already set aside for you. It may seem silly but you’d be surprised at the mental lift this plan can provide.
Credit.com refers to this one as “The Starbucks Effect” — a reference to the coffee chain’s Gold Card program that allows frequent visitors to earn free items by accumulating stars. Instead of the traditional punch cards that some businesses have used over the year, Starbucks requires patrons to utilize gift cards in order earn these rewards. This method has been gaining ground in recent years with Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts, and many others taking similar approaches to encouraging loyalty.
Retailers love selling gift cards because it either guarantees that you’ll go be back to their establishment (or that they will cash in if the cards go unused). As a result it’s common for different businesses to offer extra incentives for those purchasing cards. Perhaps a restaurant will offer a $30 gift card for only $25 or maybe a department store will throw in an exclusive free gift when you purchase at least $50 in cards. At the end of the day, if you’re a regular customer of these businesses, it could very well be worth taking advantage of such offers even if you intend on using the gift cards yourself.
Despite the name, gift cards are no longer exclusively for giving. It seems that many young adults have already caught onto this concept but there’s reason for the rest of us to realize it as well. With the ability to budget for some much-needed splurges, earn loyalty perks, and take advantage of free money offers perhaps it’s time that you changed the way you think about gift cards and start buying some for yourself.