Some people say that gift cards are a copt out when it comes to gifts. I say it's as good as money, if you're smart about it. Yes, there are services that can exchange a gift card into cash, but if you have a certain amount of money to spend at a place you actually shop, it's a great way to offload everyday costs of things you need, but may not have been giftable.
Here are a few ideas of what to spend your gift cards on, from everyday items like toiletries and knives, to furniture and TVs.
Yes, you could use an Amazon gift card to get new gadgets or clothes, but if you already got those at gifts, it's time to get creative. Amazon is a treasure trove of cheap, but durable home essentials like paper towels, spray cleaners, baby supplies and more. Use a some of that gift card for these everyday expenses you don't realize you're paying too much for by quickly grabbing some at a grocery store.
Get that piece of art you've been eyeing but feel like $50 is just a bit too expensive. Finally get a cast iron dutch oven so you can bake bread like you're seeing all over Instagram. Or add a really nice, easy-to-use knife to your kitchen.
The Google Home Mini has been on sale throughout the holiday season. If you've been eyeing it for a while, but haven't really wanted to pull the trigger, having a gift card may convince you.
Walmart has a plethora of good electronic deals, but most of them are over $100. With a smaller amount, you could try a lower-end gadget that you're still unsure of, without breaking the bank. Get a starter tablet, like this RCA Voyager (with an included keyboard case) for under $50. That way, if you use it less than you thought you would, you didn't shell out a couple hundred dollars.
Once again, a good way to utilize an Amazon gift card is for essentials. If you're in an area where you can get a Whole Foods delivery, why not get a week's worth of groceries for free? Not only does it save you money for when you're probably shopping while hungry at the supermarket, but it'll also help you eat out less and save even more.
If you didn't get the Instant Pot for the holidays (it was sold out briefly), this could be your ticket for easy cooking worth writing home about. Or look through the furniture section to find some storage solutions, like this floor lamp that doubles as a bookshelf.
A good portable speaker is something no one really thinks to ask for as a gift, but almost always needs. This one from JBL is under $100 and it's waterproof, so you can hit the beach and pool in the summer or the hot tub in the winter without worrying about ruining your investment.
It may only be 32", but this HD LED TV is a great starter TV for a kid going back to college, or for a guest room where even the pickiest of guests stay. It even has a USB port, so you can add a Roku or Chromecast to get the most out of your LED TV.
We all know that Amazon is full of impulse buys out the wazoo, but their investment pieces like furniture and rugs are top tier too. This Inspire Q Pascal chair looks way more expensive than it's under $200 price tag, and it'll be nice to tell people you got it delivered from Amazon.
Sparkling water is the new still water, and the SodaStream Fizzi One Touch is worth it if you have a gift card. Unlike its predecessors, it automatically adds the amount of bubbles you want, rather than standing there and pressing down the button into infinity.
At this point, everyone has a smart home device in their home. The best part of having one is being able to turn your lights on and off with your voice. This Philips Hue Kit comes with a hub and four RGB lights that easily connect to any Echo or Google Home device.
The KitchenAid stand mixer is the Cadillac of mixers, and for under $200, you can't beat the price. You can make doughs, create pastas and sausage, and just become an all around better cook when you have the equipment to get it right.
Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.