This is one of the best holiday gifts for an adult.

The man hands the girl a gift in an envelope.

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Inflation is on the rise, buy groceries from an adult.

Key points

  • The holiday season can be expensive and stressful for many people.
  • Gift cards give you the chance to show someone you care while recognizing that your tastes may not be the same as theirs.
  • Gift cards for groceries, gas, or other essential expenses can be an incredibly thoughtful way to help relieve an adult’s financial stress.

Ahh, the holiday season. It can be a magical time of year, but for many people it can also be stressful, with higher demands on our working hours (as there are quotas to fill and homework to finish before closing time). places to work for vacations) and higher spending on things like gifts, vacation meals, and possibly travel as well. Winter is often accompanied by a big hit in the current account.

If you’re deep in your own vacation shopping and you’re faced with a list of adults you bond with, can I make a suggestion on what to get them? If you choose to buy gift cards for basic necessities, rather than more traditional gifts, I can guarantee that many of them will be extremely happy, even relieved in some cases.

2022 has been plagued by inflation, with the October Consumer Price Index Summary report showing prices up 7.7% from October 2021 to October 2022. This is only the overall figure. Costs for groceries (or “food on the door” as the CPI indicates) increased by 12.4% and gasoline by 17.5%. If the adults in your life you’re buying gifts for are like most Americans, eating and driving a car are two pretty crucial expenses, and you have a golden opportunity to reduce some of those high costs. Here’s how.

Gift cards are a great gift for adults

Gift cards are sometimes criticized for being the supposed lazy solution if you have to give someone a gift. I dispute that, because gift cards can still give you the opportunity to be creative and show you care, while recognizing that the person you’re dealing with may have different tastes than yours (and may try reduce the amount of clutter in their homes).

And more, gift cards can be a great way to help relieve someone’s financial stress. Consider paying for the following necessities instead of giving a physical gift that may not be needed or really wanted.


Do you remember that inflation figure of 12.4%? Food has become extremely expensive for many people, and unlike trinkets or a new television, none of us can live without it. Your adult gift recipient probably spends a lot at their local grocery store, so it’s a really thoughtful giveaway to find out which store they prefer and get a gift card. If they like grocery delivery, you can even get a gift card for it.


Although gas prices aren’t as high as they were in the spring or summer, they are still up from the slump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when no one was traveling much. If you’re buying a gift for someone who has a long drive to work, a gas gift card would be appreciated. Check which gas station chain they use most often and buy accordingly.

Automatic maintenance

Oil changes, brake replacements, and fitting your winter tires (hello from a place that knows the real winter) all cost money. Even if your gift recipient has a car they’ve fully paid for, ongoing maintenance is part of the cost of owning the car. And since auto repairs can pop up at any time, helping to cover that cost is a nice gift indeed. You might consider sending cash or a check for future car expenses if your gift recipient uses a unique mechanic rather than one tied to a big chain like Midas or Jiffy Lube.

Also think about cash

If I’ve ever made you consider buying gift cards for the adults on your list, take it a step further with me and consider giving some money in the form of…cash (or maybe a check, that which will save you from going to an ATM and the resulting fees). You can definitely tell the recipient that your intention with this gift is to help cover essential expenses during this expensive part of an already very expensive year.

Another option is a gift card not tied to a particular store, but to a credit card issuer, such as Visa or Mastercard. These are generally accepted everywhere, and from experience it’s very nice to pull one out at the grocery checkout, rather than having to fumble around for a credit card to pay for that tab.

Remember that turning to gift cards for necessary expenses makes your gift giving easier, at least for the adults in your life (kids generally have no qualms about receiving toys and other “stuff” for the holidays). Their tastes in things like sweaters, books, and kitchen appliances might not be the same as yours. So if you want to help ensure that your gift will be truly appreciated, rather than returned or re-gifted, consider giving financial assistance for the holidays this year.

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