(BPT) - This year has had its fair share of challenges, and you may find yourself adjusting to a tighter budget or needing a pick-me-up. While it might feel counterintuitive, a little retail therapy might be just the ticket to giving you a mood boost.
You may not realize you have an untapped source of “free” money collecting dust in a drawer or adding bulk to your wallet: gift cards. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, people sometimes forget about their gift cards and miss out on the opportunity to buy something for themselves guilt-free, shop for household essentials, or share a gift with someone they love.
Now is a perfect time to spend your unused gift cards. Most can be redeemed in-store, online, and via mobile devices — so you can spend them however feels most comfortable, no matter where you are.
Here are a few ideas to treat yourself (or a loved one):
- Create some lighthearted fun. Hitting “pause” on your daily grind to do something fun with your family is a great way to lift everyone’s spirits and bond with each other. Playing games, reading together, doing a little redecorating, or maybe even playing dress-up can bring a smile to your faces and spread a little magic. A Disney Gift Card can help brighten your summer and bring some cheerful joy whether it’s buying a birthday present for a friend or elevating your dress-up game with an official costume of your little ones’ favorite Disney Princess, hero or villain.
- Give your wardrobe a facelift. Whether you’ve been doing home workouts, or finishing classes or work calls from your couch, athletic lifestyle footwear and apparel is now the go-to uniform for everyday activities. Treat yourself to a wardrobe refresh by using gift cards to athletic retailers like Foot Locker that sell all of your favorite sneaker brands. You can also use your gift cards to treat your kids to some new clothes or kicks to help them stay active.
- Celebrate non-human members of the family. Pets are constant companions for us during difficult times and they deserve a treat. Many pets have been cooped up the past few months, and the warm weather presents an opportunity to get them out of the house to play fetch or go for a hike. Then bring home some new toys to say, “thank you,” and to change up the scenery inside. Stores like PetSmart have plenty of options to show your furry, feathered and scaly family members that they are loved, while also keeping them busy, challenged and entertained.
- Take a break from cooking. The past few months have likely included a whole lot of home cooking. For those who want to step away from a hot stove and dishes, picking up a meal someone else makes provides some tasty relief. Restaurants like Subway give folks quick options to grab a meal on the go — plus, there are plenty of better-for-you choices for the whole family. Or, even though there aren’t many sports on TV, why not splurge and enjoy your usual game-day food from restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings? Between the hot wings and sauces and seasonings, you’re sure to have something to satisfy everyone.
“This summer is an ideal time for people to dig out their gift cards,” said Erin Wood, Chair of the Retail Gift Card Association. “Whether you’re experiencing the urge to shop online or enjoy food you didn’t have to make, gift cards can make it happen — without increasing your credit card bill or draining your bank account. Take this opportunity to buy yourself something just because or share a gift with someone who could use a pick-me-up. And enjoy!”
For more information about gift cards, visit www.thergca.org.