Do you find it difficult to choose a gift for Christmas? Maybe, you end up procrastinating until the last minute?
You have no time to mail a package. No time to mail a card with money inside. You only have time left to wonder how you let yourself get into this horrible position.
Don’t worry: you still have the option to give money as gifts.
You don’t want your friend or family member to think that you forgot about them. But you’re also stuck with very few options. Joel offered some great last minute gift ideas for under $50 and there’s always the idea of an ugly Christmas sweater for the holiday season. But if you don’t have time to shop this year, I’d like to offer a few additional creative ways to give money as gifts through online resources.
1. Prepaid Credit Cards
The simplest and fastest method to send money online is also the most common: sending gift cards. It’s also arguably the least meaningful because it doesn’t really reflect that you know much about the person. It’s like handing them a wad of cash. How meaningful is that?
Well, things have changed in the world of gift cards. Previously, you had to walk into a bank and specifically purchase a prepaid credit card. A little later, you could find them in your favorite convenience store. These prepaid credit cards were bland and boring. Finally, you can purchase these gift cards online, and you can usually choose from some fairly creative card designs. To find legitimate and safe resources, I would suggest starting by going directly to either Visa or Mastercard.
Visa offers a specific section for online vendors that offer Visa gift cards. In many cases, these are banks where you have to be a member. But, scroll through the list and you’ll find some awesome gift card vendors that let you customize the card design.
For example, on Visa’s list, you’ll find GiftCards.com, where you can actually upload photos and use them to create your own customized prepaid Visa card (or Mastercard as well). You can even choose to use your business logo. How cool is that?
Alas, most of the Visa and Mastercard vendors will only sell gift cards for use within the United States. If you’re an international customer, you’ll want to check out the awesome international gift card service known as CardRex.
2. Amazon Gift Cards
Of course, maybe you don’t just want to send money – but instead, send a gift that’s a little bit more meaningful. Maybe the person that you’re sending the gift to is a book lover, or an online shopping addict or loves to dine out! Thankfully, almost every online store offers gift cards, but in my opinion one of the best gift cards that everyone loves to receive is an Amazon Gift Card.
Amazon is an online paradise for any shopaholic. If you’re buying for an avid shopper, this is one gift that will be greatly appreciated. The convenience of Amazon cards is obvious, especially when you just don’t have time to wait for the card to get shipped to the recipient. If you need it today, then email the gift card to them! If you’re throwing a birthday party or they’ll be arriving shortly, just print out the gift card right on your home printer!
If you do send an Amazon card through the mail, they’ll include a free greeting card with it if you request the card be delivered inside a greeting card.
Maybe the person you’re sending money to isn’t really a shopper, but instead loves to go out and dine at various restaurants. In that case, the obvious choice is to head on over to Restaurant.com. Sure, you could go out and buy a specific gift card for a single restaurant, but why not let the recipient of your card choose their own dining experience? At Restaurant.com, they get to do just that.
When you buy someone a Restaurant.com gift card, they can choose from thousands of restaurants across the United States. If you’re in the U.K., check out The Gift Card Centre, Gift Cards India for Indian gift cards, or if you’re in a country where it’s virtually impossible to access useful banking services like this, consider the Royal Bank of Canada. It’s one of the few banks that offers truly international services, including credit and debit card services. When living in an unstable part of the world, it’s a safe solution.
4. Customized Scratch-Off Cards
If you want a really creative way to give money, consider creating a Personalized Party Scratch-Off card. There is a significant collection of premade scratch cards, but you can also email this vendor and ask them to custom create one for you. Unlike other services that are corporate based, which require you to order thousands of cards, with this service there is no minimum order.
This is a fun approach, because you can have a gift recipient play a scratch off game that you’ve customized, and when they win you can hand them the envelope full of money (or whatever else you like) as the prize! It would add a bit of fun and laughter to any party.
5. Send a Paypal Gift
The last creative way to give money that I’d like to mention is sending a cash gift via Paypal. Just go into your Paypal account and choose to send a “Gift.”
When you go through the Gift option to send money, Paypal gives you the opportunity to choose from one of their many gift card themes.
If you do have a Paypal account, this is an easy way to get your Christmas shopping done in the blink of an eye. All you need is the cash and Paypal takes care of the rest. The only catch is that your gift recipients will need to sign up for a Paypal account to receive the cash, but the account is free so that shouldn’t be a show-stopper.
Christmas Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful
For many people, the most stressful part of Christmas, birthdays and other special events is choosing gifts. It doesn’t make sense to stress yourself out when the real goal of these events is just to let the person know that you’re thinking about them and that you care.
A cash gift in any of the ways described above is often better received than most gifts that you’d pick yourself. So why not just save both you and the person you love a lot of stress, and send them cash instead? It’s the gift that everyone loves.
Do you have any creative cash gift giving ideas using online resources? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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