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What to Buy at the Places You Now Have Gift Cards For

How to spend $25, $50, and $100 wisely at Gap, Target, Sephora, and Victoria’s Secret.

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Tarte Tarteist PRO Glow Highlight & Contour Palette
Tarte Tarteist PRO Glow Highlight & Contour Palette ($45)

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Nothing says “holiday gifts from your family” quite like gift cards. If you’ve found yourself with $25, $50, or $100 to some of the big chain stores — like Target, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, and Sephora — we’ve got you. Below are a few suggestions on what you should buy with your new found money, or: how to get in and out of your hometown mall quickly without having a panic attack.


$25: Don’t sleep on the beauty department at Target. Use your 25 bucks to pick up some practical stuff — like a jug of Nivea Moisturizing Crème ($6.49) or Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt ($4.89) — or grab a new hair tool, like the Remington T Studio Thermaluxe Slim Straightener ($22.51). Or, spend the whole thing on a Baby Foot Foot Peel, and begin the new year with improbably soft feet.

$50: Target has a surprisingly good activewear section, largely due to the C9 Champion line. Pick up a pair of the Women’s Cold Weather Run Tights ($29.99) and the Long Sleeve Ventilated Tee ($22.99) for all those forthcoming fitness resolutions.

$100: If you don’t have any home goods or electronics to buy, take your hundo straight to the shoe department of the Who What Wear collaboration. These Ally Velvet Pumps ($37.99) are perfect for New Year’s Eve, and the Kat Microsuede Slingback Flats ($29.99) and Cora Microsuede Booties ($39.99) are great for every day. Or, look forward to warmer temps with the Velvet Ankle Tie Bock Heels ($37.99).

Pat McGrath Labs MetalMorphosis 005 Everything Kit
Pat McGrath Labs MetalMorphosis 005 Everything Kit ($165)


$25: Ah, a Sephora gift card — truly the best gift card option of the bunch. It’s easy to go wild here, so to keep things manageable, head straight to either the Just Arrived or Bestsellers pages in each category. $25 won’t get you all that much, but it will get you a few classics, like the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Duo ($20), Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara ($24), and the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($16).

$50: Okay, now we’re talking. In the skincare department, a few top picks for under 50 bucks: Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Multi-Performance Stick ($35), Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Anti-Aging Collagen Booster ($48), and Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief ($39). Or, head straight to the makeup and grab something you might not normally buy, like Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($38) or the Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow ($24).

$100: If you received a gift card for $100 or more, the move is to throw some of your own money toward something pricey. May we suggest: the Pat McGrath Labs MetalMorphosis 005 Everything Kit ($165), the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($179), or the ghd Air Professional Performance Hairdryer ($199). Go crazy! You’ve earned it.

Victoria’s Secret Triangle Bralette in black
Victoria’s Secret Triangle Bralette ($20)
Victoria’s Secret T-Shirt Demi Bra in pink
Victoria’s Secret T-Shirt Demi Bra ($39.50)

Victoria’s Secret

$25: A Victoria’s Secret gift card is your mom’s way of telling you she wants to make sure you have decent underwear. Skip the weird stuff (or don’t!) and head straight to the 5 for $27.50 panties page. There’s a lot to sort through here, but you can’t really go wrong with the Raw Cut Hiphuggers (no seams), Cotton Lingerie Thong Panties, and the Everyday Perfect Bikini Panty. Or, spend it on a comfy bralette — there are a few that are just $20.

$50: Simple, no-fuss bras include The T-Shirt Demi ($39.50) and the new Wireless Bra ($42.50), though both cap off at DDD because, well, this is Victoria’s Secret. Or, maybe you need this Dream Angels Velvet Mini Bustier ($39.50), idk.

$100: You can find pajamas at Victoria’s Secret that don’t say weird stuff on the butt and aren’t obsessively branded, but you do have to dig a little. The Fireside Henley ($32.50) is a simple sleep shirt that’s worth buying two for $49.50. If you want a full set, go with the Dreamer Henley Pajama, which comes with a solid top and pair of flannel pants; right now, the set is on sale for $39.50.


$25: Spending money at Gap will be easy today because the brand is having two promos: up to 60% off in the sale section, and a discount code that lets you take 40% off your entire order — and that applies to sale. Thanks to those heavy-handed markdowns, $25 will get you far; this women’s Luxe Modal Ribbed Tee is just $12.99 and the Long Sleeve Boatneck is $16.99. Over on the men’s page, the Slub Jersey Long Sleeve Tees are $11.99 to $24.99. Buy a bunch!

$50: Stock up on cheap basics on the sale page like the ones mentioned above, or head straight to GapFit and GapBody if you have $50. The “Softspun Shop” has a great selection of cozy loungewear that can easily double as everyday clothes, like this Cowl Neck Shift Dress ($39.99 before the 40% off discount) and this perfect Softspun Knit Tee (regularly $44.95).

$100: Take your hundred bucks straight to the outerwear section to pick up a few last-minute winter buys, like the 2-in-1 Hooded Parka that, after all the markdowns, will be just $71, or this Double-Face Car Coat that’ll be $95. Keep in mind that the latter is “meant for layering,” which means it can only be your winter coat if you live in California or Florida.