When I was a kid, or any time before I had kids, and I got a gift card I knew I was going to blow that money on something I wanted. Anymore that is not the case. Now that the big kids are old enough to know that they got a gift card we give them the joy of blowing the money. We do try and teach them to make good choices with the gift cards.
For example my daughters birthday is in October. She got a $25 Amazon gift card. She wanted to spend it then. We talked to her and we all decided the best thing would be to hold on to it until after Christmas. That way if she did not get something she wanted she would have the gift card. It turned out she got another $25 Amazon gift card for Christmas. We talked a lot about what she could get with her $50 at Amazon. My 7 year old loves to read and thought it might be nice to have an ereader. We looked it up and for $60 she could get the bottom of the like Kindle. With her gift cards and giving us $10 of her Christmas cash she got her self an ereader. I was impressed with the thought she put into it.
My husband took my 3 year old to Target to use a gift card one time. He said that they looked at toys for along time. My son found a $25 toy on clearance that he was able to get with his $15 gift card (I think that mom and dad did pay the tax on that one).
Now how do I spend my gift cards….most of the time….on food. If the card is to my husband and I we by things we need for all of us. An extra $25 in the food budget can go a long way (use some coupons with that and it can go really far!!) or be that special thing that you don’t normally spring for. If it is a gift card for the baby or as a shower gift I spend it on the baby. I have gotten nipples, formula, and diapers. It has helped our bottom line and they where things that he truly needed…not just stuff I thought was cute or fun.
Do I miss the fun stuff….yep. Have I found other ways to put fun in my life…yep. But in the end teaching my child to make a good choice with money (or a gift card) or knowing that my son has formula for the next month helps me sleep at night.