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Martin Lewis has issued a warning to people giving Christmas gift vouchers as presents this year

Martin Lewis has issued a warning to people giving Christmas gift vouchers as presents this year

It's the thought that counts when it comes to Christmas

When it comes to Christmas presents it's really the thought that counts, and sometimes the thought is 'you would be better than me at getting yourself a gift'.

Sometimes that means you get a big wad of cash to kick off a spending spree, or, if your gift-giver wants to tailor the present to you a little more, it's a gift card.

With one of those you're giving someone a pretty general gist of where you expect them to do their shopping, but Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has got a warning if you're going down this route.

The word of warning came during his Christmas special last month, where he suggested that if people wanted to get gift cards then they should probably just think about handing over cash instead.

While a gift card is tied to one place, cash can be spent anywhere and lets someone basically buy whatever they want with it at Christmas.

Do be careful that the shop is still going by the time your giftee can use the card.
Getty Stock Photo

Laying out the advice on his show, he also threw in a few tips and tricks to make gift cards last longer.

He said: "Beware giving gift vouchers, cash is more flexible and it is safer.

"Many gift vouchers have expiry dates. Next and John Lewis expire after two years.

"Tip on that - John Lewis, go and log onto account, look in and it'll give you another two years. Next, spend a quid on the card and it'll give you another two years.

"Many of the gift vouchers will do that as long as you keep them active. But this is the problem with gift vouchers, but more so, if the firm goes bust, they are usually worthless. So, if you're gonna give a gift voucher, check the solvency of the company you're buying."

When it comes to spending wisely, it's worth listening to Martin Lewis.

Lewis brought up the example of Wilko, which had been a staple of the high street before collapsing and vanishing in short order.

Your gift cards are only worth something at the shop they're for, so if the shop goes under then you're out of luck and probably wishing someone had given you £20 instead.

The Money Saving Expert stressed that he wasn't saying you shouldn't buy gift cards, instead he was just firing off a warning to check and see if the shop was in danger of collapse before your nearest and dearest had a chance to make use of the money put on the card.

It's been a regular warning for Christmas shoppers as there are people who've received gift cards only to watch the place they could shop at vanish.

Featured Image Credit: ITV / Getty Stock Photo

Topics: Christmas, Money, Shopping, Martin Lewis