SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Consumers plan to spend nearly half -- 46% -- of their budget on gift cards this holiday season.
"Certainly it's one of the things that I always get somewhere within family or friends on my list," says Jerry Milenbach of El Dorado Hills.
When we look at the numbers, he says he's actually spending more of his budget on gift cards than the average consumer. He plans to buy around a half dozen of them, or 75% of his gifts.
So what are the trends this year in gift cards?
Shelley Hunter is the Gift Card Girlfriend. She says there are a couple. The first allows the recipient to shop at more than one store and avoid fees charged by gift cards issued by banks.
"This year you're going to find, more than ever, gift cards that are multi-store," Hunter says. "They're usable at any of the stores and restaurants shown on the card. And this, I think is right in the middle: you get a nice hybrid of selection without fees that go with flexibility."
With a list of five or more stores and restaurants, you have a better chance of making a good match for the person receiving the card.
The other big trend is the uptick in cards offering the buyer a bonus. They have been around for years, but now there are more than ever.
"Applebee's, for example, has a holiday BOGO," says Hunter. "If you buy a $50 gift card, you get a $10 bonus card, so that's a 20% savings."
Other cards are offered at a steep discount. Hunter says check out Costco.
"I often get the restaurant gift cards there for New Year's Eve," she says.
For more gift card ideas and deals, check out the Gift Card Girlfriend website.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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