How Much Should You Spend on a Gift Card, Broken Down By Category


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There are a lot of gifting opportunities out there, and it is always exciting to receive a gift card! The only problem is — giving gifts gets expensive fast! The dollar amount of each gift card is always on your mind. If you spend too much on the gift card, well, they will love it, but it is not a financially wise decision. If you spend too little, you run into trouble if it does not make them want to go out and use it. 

The amount of money you decide to spend on a gift card influences the stores that work best at that price point. Five and ten-dollar gift cards are great gift options, but you always want to ensure the gift card covers a significant amount of the bill, with the one exception where you know they will go to the place with or without a gift card. 

Still uncertain how much you should spend on a gift card? No worries! In this article, we will cover four gift card price points and some examples at each point! 

  • Gift cards under $10
  • Gift cards under $25
  • Gift cards under $50 
  • Gift Cards over $50

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Gift cards under $10

1. Uber Eats

Order food and so much more with Uber Eats

Buy an Uber Eats gift card

Uber Eats is a great place to start this list. They have become a great source of delivery for everyone. Countless restaurants all over the country are open for Uber Eats delivery, but the cost of the service, understandably, makes it more expensive than picking it up yourself. For that, gift cards make up the difference! Even a $5 gift card is enough to cover the delivery fee on their next meal. All Uber Eats gift cards get uploaded to the app so recipients don’t have to worry about keeping the pieces around. 

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2. Starbucks

A gift card for coffee lovers

A gift card for coffee is a fantastic choice for all times of the year. Coffee is a staple in many lives, and if your friend is into the coffee scene, a Starbucks gift card is a great option. A local cafe is a great alternative to a place like Starbucks if you know one nearby. Spending less than $10 on a Starbucks gift card still lets your friend go out and get some free coffee. Our honorable mention on the under $10 option is fast food restaurants, where customers get a lot of value out of a five or ten-dollar gift card. 

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3. Amazon

Home to just about every item imaginable — an Amazon gift card is always a welcome sight

Amazon gift cards are good at any price point, and under $10 is no exception. While not the most exciting, an Amazon gift card always returns its value. There is always another item to order on Amazon, and these gift cards are added straight to the portal and go into the recipient’s account. From there, they are automatically added to the next order and the savings pile in. We recommend Amazon gift cards to pragmatic recipients who are happy with a monetary gift rather than something that leads them to a new experience. 

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Gift cards under $25

4. The Cheesecake Factory

A gift card for a lovely meal

Get a Cheesecake Factory gift card

 The Cheesecake Factory is our stand-in for restaurants in the under $25 tier of gift card amounts. The Cheesecake Factory is a sit-down, affordable restaurant that provides guests with a great experience. This is a great gift card for your friends, giving them a light push to go out and eat some fantastic food at this restaurant. The Cheesecake Factory is great for dinner and, of course, great for dessert! Their cheesecakes are always a special treat. 

We want to single out the Cheesecake Factory as a great option for a gift card under $25, but there are many restaurants at this price point where a 25-ish dollar gift card provides a significant discount on the meal in its entirety. Once restaurants get expensive, double-check to ensure that it’s a place they want to go. 

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5. Barnes and Noble

A home for readers

Buy a Barnes and Noble gift card

Books are costly! Older paperbacks go for seven to twelve dollars, and new hardcovers can be over $20 each. It is easy to rack up a bill at Barnes and Noble that comes out to $25 and uses the entirety of the card. They can also stretch it out over a couple of visits. It’s perfect! Barnes and Noble is a calm sanctuary for book lovers, and we cannot recommend it enough as a gift for your book-worm friend. 

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6. Walmart

A gift card to a reliable superstore

Buy a Walmart gift card

Another place for a $25 gift card is Walmart. It has many items and a large grocery department, making it a great stop for anyone in need of, well, just about anything. We recommend finding the superstore where they are the most comfortable, be it Walmart, Target, or another similar store. These are great places for gift cards, where just about anyone can build a list and head out for some great products with the use of your gift card. 

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Gift cards under $50

7. Airbnb

A gift card toward their next vacation

Buy an Airbnb gift card

When it comes to gift cards under $50, you have many stores to work with. Fifty dollars goes a long way, and you can use it for the kinds of stores suitable for multiple purchases, like some of the other options on this list. If, for instance, your friend loves to go to Starbucks, spending $50 on a gift card provides them with a lot of value. That’s enough about Starbucks. This section is about Airbnb! 

The world is a wide place! If your friend likes to travel then a gift card to Airbnb could be perfect for them.  Airbnbs are popping up all over this country and are available all around the world. These vacation homes are varied, from small studio places just about big enough to set down your bags and sleep to luxurious and extravagant homes that can fit half a dozen people. 

Airbnbs are becoming an excellent alternative to hotels when it comes to vacationing. They offer a wide variety of locales and experiences, and your gift card can help them pay for that next weekend away. We recommend talking with them before committing to an Airbnb gift card due to all the factors that can keep them from vacation. 

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8. Steam

A gift card for PC gamers

Buy a Steam gift card

Not everyone is a computer gamer, but if your friend likes to relax while playing video games now and again, this might be the gift card for them. Finding specific games for your friend is quite challenging, so let Steam do the heavy lifting. 

Steam is a video game digital distribution service that every modern video game player knows of, and for those who prefer PC gaming, Steam is practically their lifeblood. Once installed on your PC, an entire catalog consisting of thousands of video game titles becomes readily available. Video games are also pricey and giving a significant amount of money with your gift card is a fantastic way to give a gamer something they will love. 

Steam hosts various video games developed by creators from different backgrounds. Browse games produced by major studios and the other latest AAA hits or go down a more niche route and discover the magnificent world of indie gaming. No matter your preference, Steam has a video game to satisfy even the pickiest gaming enthusiast. 

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9. Yankee Candle

A room is incomplete without the perfect scented candle

Buy a Yankee Candle Gift Card. 

The subtle scent of a candle is the perfect addition to any home. They set the tone for a work session or relaxation and set up the perfect night in. A gift card under $50 to Yankee Candle allows your friend to grab a few great candles to spruce up their space. Purchasing candles for your friend is a risky business. Scents are always subjective, and your favorite scent might rub them the entirely wrong way. Yankee candle has various models, from colossal three-wick candles to wax melts and everything in between. 

Half the fun of a Yankee Candle visit is checking out all of the possible scents. With different kinds of candles in all shapes and sizes, the experience of shopping for their candle is a gift unto itself. 

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Gift Cards over $50

Gift cards get harder to define when you’re working with over fifty dollars. At this price point, the world is open to you. So many stores become excellent options; at this point, it is all down to what the recipient will like the best. If it’s a place where the gift card covers many trips, make sure they go there regularly. If it will all get spent at once, the only thing to worry about is tremendously expensive outings. If the gift card covers less than 25% of the bill, make sure this is where they are willing to spend a bunch of money. 

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How much should you spend on a gift card?

Every amount is manageable when it comes down to how much you should spend on a gift card! Think about how much you would spend to purchase a gift for them. There are various kinds of gift giving like birthdays, holidays, special occasions, and just because. If you have a monthly budget, think about what amount makes sense. You can narrow your focus to the most viable options at that price point. 

Gift cards are a fantastic way to show appreciation and a great gift. Gift cards allow them to take the initiative, and sometimes you can come along for the ride. Gift cards are always valuable gifts, and we hope you have found the perfect card for the occasion with the new knowledge you possess. 

This article originally appeared on  and was syndicated by

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who specializes in smart shopping, personal finance, parenting, and retail. Trae has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn and a top personal finance expert by GoBankingRates and Flexjobs. She is a contributor at Millie Magazine and CNN Underscored, and her writing and expert commentary have appeared in Newsweek, Woman's Day, Forbes,, Kiplinger, Marketwatch,, Yahoo Finance and numerous others. She has also appeared on TV hundreds of times; including Good Morning America's GMA3: What You Need to Know, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Inside Edition, CNBC and local network affiliates nationwide.