It’s the little extra thought that counts.

Ah, the gift card conundrum. Such an easy gifting solution and SUCH a welcome gift to receive—the freedom to purchase exactly what you want!

And yet, there’s something a little lazy about it, amiright? You mean so much to me that I grabbed this from the checkout counter when I was buying a carton of milk. There’s also a certain ick factor… Your friendship is worth $20 to me—but NOT $25.  (You know you’ve thought it.) That’s what I like about gift card pairings—combining your “money in the cloud” with a second small, inexpensive token that’s a more tactile reminder of you.

The fun part is keeping it complementary. Just like a great food and wine pairing, the card + gift should play nicely together while bringing out the best in each other. I always start with choosing a gift card and work from there.

Consider these dynamic duos, with bonus gifts all around $10 or less.


Perfect harmony

Google Play Gift Card + earbuds in their favorite color or an earbud pouch.


Like a boss

Microsoft Office 365 Subscription + a stylish clipboard. Feeling artsy-craftsy? Customize a plain one with washi tape.


Reel deal

AMC Theatres Gift Card + a tub of Twizzlers.

Hat clip

Par for the course

Go Play Golf Gift Card + golf hat clip accessory (Attach the clip right to the card!)

Nike card

Runner’s high

Athleta Gift Card or Nike Gift Card + running belt or armband.

Olive tree

La dolce vita

Olive Garden Gift Card + an olive tree (practical AND funny—use the card as a garden stake)

Banana Republic card

On a roll

Banana Republic Gift Card + tie roll travel case for him / travel jewelry organizer for her.

Barnes & Noble gift card

By the book

Barnes & Noble Gift Card + an actual book you know they’d enjoy (use the card as a bookmark surprise)


Extra perks

Starbucks Gift Card + this Coffee Lovers Coloring Book.

Got your own creative gift card pairing ideas? Share them in the comments below.

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