Make A Gift Certificate

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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It's the night before your best friend's birthday, and there's simply no time to race out and purchase a gift certificate to his favorite store. One option you have as a last resort is to print up your own gift certificate (and tell him you really think homemade gifts are much more personal than the store-bought variety). It may not be pretty, but this strategy can bail you out of a jam. Just consider the perks.

Number one, a homemade gift certificate can be for any amount you choose, not just the pre-fab denominations set by a retail chain. Make out a 22-dollar coupon to Home Depot if you so desire, then agree to accompany him to the warehouse with no more than 22 dollars in tow (take a little more just to cover tax). If you forgot last year's birthday and waited until the eleventh hour this year, you may wish to up the amount. Write up a certificate for a hundred bucks to CompUSA, then take along the cash you need to cover whatever he purchases.

More Benefits of Homemade Coupons

No one at Banana Republic will ever issue you a written pledge to come to your house and wash your car--guaranteed. But you can. Another perk of making your own gift certificates is that you're limited only by your imagination. Draw up a contract for a 50-dollar credit on your next trip to Vegas, a home-cooked gourmet meal (if you can handle it), or just a breakfast and coffee at his favorite neighborhood coffee shop.

Lastly, making your own gift certificate gives you the leeway you need to say whatever you want in however much space you require. Just try writing your whole "You're-the-best-friend-a-guy-could-have" spiel on the back of a tiny piece of laminated plastic. With programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop at your disposal, it's easy to customize a card for any occasion and attach your homemade gift certificate as a bonus. In a pinch, this is much better than a few hastily scribbled words or a quick "Happy Birthday" e-mail that will soon be forgotten.


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