Now that I have your attention...

(Empty Chair: That was mean)

(Thanks to Cult of the Mac)

We all love gift cards, don't we? When Mom or Dad have no idea what game to buy us for our birthdays, because last time they thought they were doing something cool they ended up buying you Kinectimals, they buy you a gift card from Gamestop or something like that. You can get what you want and you don't have to give them a list of games that they can ignore and buy you the wrong thing because they think you want an educational game instead of Demon Souls....sorry, the trauma's still fresh, 34 years later.


(And isn't it funny how there is such a stigma about giving money to your kids for celebrations, yet gift cards, which are essentially money that can only be spent one place, are actually acceptable?)

(Empty Chair: Ahem!!!!)

Anyway again...

So gift cards are very cool. I love getting iTunes cards because the games and other apps on there don't cost that much, so you can often get multiple things. In fact, because iTunes gift cards often go on sale, my wife and I usually stock up when they do. If you can get a $100 card for $80, how can you resist? We buy them for ourselves, put them on our iTunes account, and we have $100 waiting for us when we want to buy a game or an app or whatever. All for only $80!

(Thanks to Harvey Norman)

Which brings to my mind the point of this post.

(Empty Chair: finally!!!!)

I suppose it happens more often with something like iTunes, where the apps aren't that expensive, as opposed to a Gamestop certificate where you're pretty much buying one, maybe two games from it.

Do you find your mindset changing when you have gift card money available? Do you find yourself spending it on things you might not spend it on if you were actually shelling out cold hard cash for it?

I find myself doing this a lot.

I used to be a cheap Apple user. I might buy something if it was a buck or two, but generally not more than that. And if it wasn' free, then it's a very good possibility I wouldn't try it.

I'm a big board game fan, and I love a lot of the board game adaptations that are coming out on iOS. But a lot of them are $5, or even more! I might have to think twice about whether I want it or not.

However, because I have all this money on my iTunes account, I find myself hitting that "buy" button a lot more easily than I would otherwise.

"The game costs $5? That's ok, I have $150 on my account. No problem."

Granted, there are still apps that I wouldn't pay as much as they cost originally, and I do wait for them to go on sale (Appshopper is a great site/app for tracking sales if you are on iOS). But overall, I am much more likely to buy something than I would be if that money wasn't on the account.

Yes, I know it's not "free money," and that I've already bought it (though some of it is free, if you're only paying $80 to get $100!). Yet it kind of feels like free money.

It's just sitting there.



Wanting to be spent.

Maybe I'm unique in this. How many of you actually do buy gift cards for yourself anyway? If it's given to you, then it obviously *is* free money, at least as far as you're concerned.

It's an interesting mindset that I stop and think about sometimes.

What about you?