Gift cards aren’t gifts

gift-cardsIf it’s the thought that counts, then gift cards don’t count much at all.

They’re popular, granted. Six out of 10 people responding to National Retail Federation surveys this year said they wanted to receive gift cards for the holidays, and more than half said they planned to give them.

The rest of us may think of gift cards as a cop-out. Gift cards are what you give when you don’t have a clue what makes the recipient tick and can’t trouble yourself to find out.

In my latest for the Associated Press, why it makes more sense to give cash this holiday season instead of gift cards, and why the search for the perfect gift still matters.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: 5 browser extensions to save you money and time. Also in the news: The pros and cons of store cards, what effect Donald Trump will have on student loans, and the best and worst gift cards to buy this year.

5 Browser Extensions to Save You Money and Time
Making your browser work for you.

Store Credit Card Applications Surge During the Holidays — But Should You Get One?
The pros and cons.

Ask Brianna: Will Trump Hurt or Help My Student Debt?
What loan holders should expect.

The Best and Worst Gift Cards to Buy This Year, Based on Discounts and Popularity
Get the most bang for your buck.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

giftcardsToday’s top story: How to protect your gift cards this holiday season. Also in the news: Getting the most out of your credit cards over the holidays, where to cash a check without paying high fees, and personal finance mythbusting.

Why Gift Cards Aren’t As Secure As Your Credit Cards
Protecting your presents.

How to get the most out of your credit cards over the holidays
Making your credit cards work for you.

Where to Cash a Check Without Paying High Fees
Keeping as much of your money as possible.

5 personal finance myths you probably still believe
Mythbusting!

Friday’s need-to-know money news

selfie_bannerToday’s top story: Could the dreaded selfie stop credit card theft? Also in the news: The pros and cons of tuition reimbursement insurance, tips on how to avoid losing value on gift cards, and Home Depot’s credit card breach is the biggest one yet.

Could Selfies Stop Credit Card Fraud?
Could having your picture on your credit card deter thieves?

Is Tuition Reimbursement Insurance A Good Investment?
Protecting your investment in your child’s education.

7 Tips to Avoid Losing Gift Card Value
Depending on where you live, gift cards may never lose their value.

Home Depot Breach Bigger Than Target’s
56 million credit cards are at risk.

Stop Treating Money Like Your Master, Start Treating it Like a Tool
Don’t give money more power than it’s worth.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Making sense of your credit report. Also in the news: Protecting your credit cards from data theft, four bills you may be able to eliminate in 2014, and the benefits of joining a credit union.The hacker

The 5 Most Confusing Things on Your Credit Report
Unlocking the mysteries of your credit report.

How to Protect Your Credit Card from a Data Breach
Don’t let your credit become a target.

You May Be Able to Eliminate these 4 Bills
Not everything needs to be insured.

The Benefits of Joining a Credit Union
Lower fees and higher interest rates.

How To Profit From Gift Cards, Pay It Forward With Frequent Flier Miles
Don’t let unwanted gift cards collect dust.