Buying Gift Cards as Holiday Gifts? You Should Check Costco First

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  • A lot of people find it easiest to give out gift cards for the holidays.
  • Buying yours at Costco could save you money, as the store sometimes offers gift cards for sale for less than face value.

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Some people regard gift-giving as a competitive sport of sorts. Whether it's for a birthday or the holidays, they go out of their way to find the best possible present for every single person on their list.

Others are less invested in winning the gift-giving game. And so they commonly resort to buying gift cards for the people on their list.

There's nothing wrong with either approach. If you're short on time or aren't really the creative type, then you might turn to gift cards as an easy way to make the important people in your life happy during the holidays. In fact, a good 56% of consumers plan to buy gift cards this holiday season, according to a recent survey by RetailMeNot.

But if you're going to buy gift cards to give out this year, you may want to pick them up at Costco. Here's why.

A great opportunity to save on gift cards

Costco's selection of gift cards tends to be somewhat limited. And so you shouldn't necessarily plan to get all of your holiday gift cards there. But it does pay to check out the gift cards Costco has in stock for one big reason -- you might be able to purchase them at a discount.

It's common for Costco to offer gift cards at a price that's lower than their face value. So you might, for example, see a $100 gift card available for $80, or a $50 gift card available for $40. If you're buying a lot of gift cards, those savings could really add up -- and leave you with a much lower credit card tab in the course of your giving.

Now again, Costco might only have around a half dozen or so different gift cards available during the holidays. So if you have a specific store in mind for a special person in your life, then you may need to make that gift card purchase elsewhere. But usually, Costco has a decent range of offerings, including gift cards to a few restaurants, stores, and even spa locations. So if you're not committed to giving gift cards for a specific store, restaurant chain, or brand, you might have success.

The upside of giving out gift cards

Some people will tell you that gift cards are impersonal, and that you should try to avoid falling back on them. But many people really do appreciate getting gift cards during the holidays instead of hand-picked items that may not be their taste.

In fact, let's say you're torn between getting a family member a piece of clothing versus a gift card. Well, what if you purchase that person a sweater in the wrong size? Suddenly, that person has to deal with the hassle of doing an exchange -- assuming their correct size is even available at their local store.

That's why you shouldn't stress about giving out gift cards during the holidays. Will you win the award for most unique gift? Definitely not. But you'll probably make a lot of people on your list happy. And that's reason enough to stick to your plan.

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