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Tipping with gift cards

If you haven’t picked out a gift for your cleaning person, manicurist, mail carrier or other service person, consider a gift card. Tipping with gift cards adds a more personal touch than just giving cash.

Pile of gift cards

Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., offers these tips for tipping with gift cards during the holiday season.

Consider the individual

Anyone who stands on her feet all day would likely love a spa treatment. Delivery people who use their own vehicles, such as newspaper carriers, would appreciate a gas gift card.

Give an all-purpose card

If you’re totally clueless, a grocery gift card from Whole Foods, Safeway, etc. is sure to please. Other gift cards to fall back on include those from iTunes or big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Buy discount cards

Check out websites such as, where you can buy discount gift cards at up to 50 percent off the face value. The recipient will never know, and you’ll save enough to tip your newspaper-delivery specialist.

Give them something to chew on

Check with local eateries for discounts on gift cards. At this time of year, some restaurants — big and small — offer bonus cards when you buy a minimum amount.

Point them toward Gift Card Exchange Day

Should the recipient give you a blank look when you hand over his gift card, mention Gift Card Exchange Day — on Dec. 26, when he can exchange his card for cash through a variety of resellers.

More holiday shopping tips

Holiday shopping on flash sale sites
Holiday shopping return policies

Tips for holiday shopping on a budget

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