Gift cards help keep your holiday spending (and sanity) in check - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Gift cards help keep your holiday spending (and sanity) in check

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(ARA) - Just like clockwork, after indulging with family and friends on Thanksgiving, the holiday shopping season was off and running, with eager gift seekers lining up and clicking through for Black Friday and Cyber Monday finds. But as the holidays inch closer, the seasonal spending spectacular can start to take its toll. The stress to select the perfect gift grows, and that pressure can cause you to choose something that may be outside of your budget just to check it off a list. Giving a great gift can be easier and more financially friendly than scouring the racks and websites. Gift cards are a perfect option to keep your holiday spending, and your sanity, in check while also giving your loved ones what they want.

Stress-free shopping

For some, the hassle of crowded stores coupled with the pressure of giving a great gift can cause holiday anxiety. According to a recent TD Bank holiday shopping poll, more than one-third of respondents believe the greatest holiday shopping stresses lie in not knowing what to buy or worrying whether the recipient will like the gift. Choosing gift cards for some people can alleviate the stress of giving a bad gift, and the recipient has the benefit of buying exactly what he wants.

Convenience is in the card

Gift cards are available at many locations, including banks and retailers. Be sure you look into the card's policy before purchasing. Some gift cards will charge an activation fee. However, there are cards out there that are fee-free, meaning you pay the value of the card and nothing else.

"Cards like the no-fee TD Bank Visa Gift Card, have the added convenience of coming gift-boxed, ready to give and accepted just about everywhere, making this a convenient, hassle-free gift," says Nandita Bakhshi, executive vice president and head of products at TD Bank. "Giving a gift card reduces shopping stress, you spend exactly what you intend to, and are less likely to get caught up in the season and spend more money than planned."

Don't break the bank

Though many of us have visions of a holiday budget dancing in our heads, the TD Bank poll also reveals a startling portion, nearly 40 percent of people admit to going over their set budget. One of the primary reasons for deviating from a holiday spending plan: getting caught up in the holiday spirit and simply not thinking about how much is being spent.

With gift cards, you spend exactly what you intend to, and are less likely to get caught up in the season. Also, review your holiday shopping budget before heading into stores or shopping on the Web. Use online resources to research deals, find discount codes and determine if you're buying the best gift at the best price for a loved one.

Practicality prevails

In addition to helping the buyer to maintain money merriment, gift cards can also keep the recipient in budgeting bliss. Given the not-so-solid economy, consumers are increasingly looking to use gift cards for not only leisure items but for practical, everyday expenses. So whether used for groceries, gas or that new outfit they've had their eyes on, gift cards allow the recipient to buy exactly what she wants or needs.

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