Ask the Readers: Do You Prefer Getting Gift Cards or Cash?

By Ashley Jacobs on 24 April 2012 126 comments
Photo: iStockPhoto

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Peg Mooers, Kelly, and Z. R. for winning this week's contest!

Whenever the holidays or your birthday comes around, inevitably you will receive either gift cards or cash. Some people love getting gift cards to use at their favorite store or restaurant. However, others would prefer to take the cash and run!

Do you prefer getting gift cards or cash? Why? When it comes to giving someone else gift cards or cash, which do you prefer to give?

Tell us if you prefer getting gift cards or cash and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, April 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 30th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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126 discussions

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Guest's picture

My tweet:!/julesann/status/195203112573743104

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Def. cash!

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I like gift cards, because if I get cash, I feel like I should spend it on getting out of debt instead of something fun. Gift cards are guilt free.

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I personally prefer cash, as it is far more flexible. That being said, I usually ask for gift cards, since my family dislikes the "impersonal" feeling of giving me money as a present. Another plus of gift cards is that I generally use them on something I would not otherwise get myself, rather than on everyday items.

Guest's picture

I prefer to spend cash but as a gift I think a gift card is far more personal. It tells a person that you took the time to figure out their interests and took that into consideration. In my household I am a regular recipient of Barnes and Noble gift cards (because I gobble up books and magazines and it is easier for my family to not have to guess whether or not I have already purchased a publication) Panera(I am a sucker for a chain that uses local produce and that donates its leftovers to food banks AND I positively LOVE their lowfat mango smoothies and french toast bagels) and Starbucks gift cards(I probably need to attend a 12 step program for the skinny mocha frappachinos and the petite desserts, for the sake of frugality I limit myself to a once a week jaunt without those gift cards.)

Don't get me wrong if someone gave me a 20 dollar bill I'd be grateful and I totally get that not having it tied to a gift card gives the freedom to choose the above options. I just think that as a gift it is incredibly impersonal. I , as a recipient, like to think that the person providing me with the gift, thought about me as an individual and took the time to look at what I like.


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Jason Evans

I love Cash!!

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gift cards namely Amazon, my favorite!

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Either are absolutely wonderful, and infinitely nicer than getting something like a cat shaped canister with a removable head.

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I think cash is the way to go. It's just infinitely more flexible, including saving and investing the money. With gift cards, all I ever think is spend or regift.

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Any gift is great, but cash is always best:)

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Alissa A

I would love either, but probably cash!

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As a book lover, I always appreciate gift cards for books. I've never known anyone to give me cash as a gift.

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Cash all the way. Or a visa gift card. Otherwise gift cards may expire and are restrictive. The only benefit to gift cards is that they can be more personal.

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Cash, every time.

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I prefer giftcards because if I get cash, I'll just put it toward bills (boring!). If I get a gift card, then I can splurge on something for myself I wouldn't normally get.

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I'll take either.

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It depends. Cash is spendable everywhere, but a gift card from someplace I want is just as good in my book. But a gift card for someplace I don't know can be a drag. On the flip side, a gift card thoughtfully purchased for a new or unknown place can be fun.

Guest's picture

I prefer the ubiquity of cash to the limitation of a gift card -- but gift cards DO provide surprise & show thoughtfulness; where cash does neither (reduces gifts to a financial exchange).

Guest's picture

I prefer getting cash. My parents gave us a Mastercard gift card this past Christmas and I had nothing but trouble with it. I used it at pay-at-the-pump and it put a hold on the full amount until they got the receipt several days later. Had a similar problem at Target a few weeks later.

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I like you on facebook

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I should prefer to receive cash because I can use it for practical things like paying bills and utilities, but I really prefer gift cards because it allows me to do things like update my wardrobe without guilt. As a gift, although I know most people would prefer cash because they can use it to buy exactly what they want, I feel gift cards are less of a cop-out. You still have to be familiar with what restaurants or clothing brands your family and friends like.

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Michelle Murphy

I like either one. The gift card would really depend on where it's to - I would enjoy it more if it was to some place I really like.

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prefer getting gift cards

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i follow on facebook

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I would rather get cash, but gift cards for Amazon, Kroger or Walmart are pretty good, too.

Guest's picture

Gift cards, it's easier to hold onto the value for something special. Cash goes right through the fingers or is spent on bills.