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Cards, not cash, for Mom

Cash is crass.

Clearly, that's the perception since gift card spending for Mother's Day is up again this year.

Apparently, the I-can't-think-of-anything-to-buy-my-mom crowd, or 43 percent of those purchasing a Mother's Day gift, will fork over $2.1 billion on plastic presents for the holiday, says a National Retail Federation survey.

Use some imagination and give her money instead.

Good old greenbacks minted by the U.S. Treasury, the most prized currency in the world, is good for all debts, public and private.

Yet, the masses insist on purchasing plastic that Mom may lose or never redeem because she tucks it in a drawer or wallet and then forgets to use it.

Last year, more than $1 billion in gift cards went unredeemed, says a TowerGroup tracking report.

Slip a crisp C note into her Mother's Day card and chances are excellent she'll use it, not lose it.

It's versatile, too, since it's accepted everywhere Mother shops.

Visa and Mastercard gift cards are the most popular, projected to add up to $48 billion in sales this year, says TowerGroup.

But you have to pay activation fees and after a year, monthly dormancy fees eat away at balances.

No fees with cash. It's not that crass.

Procrastinators who need a present and still insist on going the gift-card route can save $10 on Visa gift cards at Publix with a $50 grocery purchase and a coupon in this week's circular. There is a $4.95 activation fee, but you'll still pocket more than $5.

Other bonus offers:

Smokey Bones has a special $15 three-course Mother's Day menu. Moms get a buy-one-get-one free entree coupon to use on her next visit.

At Boston Market, Moms get a free meal when you buy one.

Starbucks and Teavana shops are giving Mothers a free Oprah Chai Tea Latte when you buy one today. No coupons are necessary.

No matter if those cards are paper or plastic, I hope all Moms cash in on a happy Mother's Day.

What's your deal? Email it to dchristensen@sunsentinel.com.

More for Mom
Find a long list of Mother's Day freebies at SunSentinel.com/ForMom

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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