5 Early Shopping Tips to Beat the Holiday Rush

Give Gift Cards

You really can't go wrong with giving gift cards - it's a one size fits all option. According to a 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, more than 55 percent of adults polled would like to receive a gift card this holiday season, so take the hint.

There are two types of gift cards to choose from: retail gift cards and bank gift cards.

Retail gift cards can be used only at the store or restaurant where it was purchased.

Bank gift cards work like a VISA or MasterCard and can be used anywhere those cards are accepted.

Either type you choose, be wary of fees. Activation, maintenance, transactions and even inactivity can all eat away at the value of a gift card. Also ask about expiration dates. You wouldn't want your gift card recipient to lose out on her gift because she waited too long to redeem it. 

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