It’s a Wonderful Life Giveaway: American Express $50.00 Gift Cards

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Here at The Recessionista the staff (me, myself and I) are violently opposed to the mere suggestion of Scroogenomics. Like Dicken’s transformed Ebenezer Scrooge, The Recessionista “will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ” To prove our commitment to the spirit of giving and the holidays, The Recessionista, in cooperation with American Express, has a special holiday surprise. We are giving away 10 American Express gift cards in the amount of $50.00 each. This is very generous on the part of American Express. Thank you American Express!

Pictured: My favorite movie Scrooge, Alistair Sim in the 1951 movie version of “A Christmas Carol.” If only he had given Bob Crachit a $50.00 gift card, he could’ve avoided the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future!

As all good recessionistas and frugalistas know, the possibilities for giving and spending with an American Express gift card are virtually limitless. These gift cards are good for dining out, theatre, concerts, events and shopping. Unlike some other universal gift cards, American Express gift cards have no fees after purchase, so they are 100% gift, 0% fee for the recipient. That means you get $50.00 on the card, not $47.50 after the fee. It’s a wonderful life when you have an American Express gift card in your pocket or handbag. Please note, these cards are only good in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Pictured: Enter to win an American Express $50.00 US gift card

So, what do you need to do to win one of these cards? Write me a little comment by Sunday, Dec. 20th at midnight PST/3 am EST and tell me what you would do with the prize of a $50.00 gift card. A few thoughts:

  • Would you run out to the mall?
  • Buy a Zhu Zhu Pet?
  • Get the latest iPod or other gadget?
  • Enjoy a wonderful dinner.
  • Run screaming from your home on Christmas morning trying to buy the biggest Christmas goose ever.

Let me know by posting a comment here.
To enter to win simply leave me a comment with e-contact information (leave your email like this: xxx at yahoo dot com so the spammers can’t pick it up). Remember, there will be 10 lucky winners, so don’t be shy with the comments. Your efforts may just be rewarded. I’ve heard from many of you throughout the year about tough times you are having and challenges that you are facing. I’m so happy that we have some wonderful companies offering nice giveaways for all of you this week. Please take advantage of them. Eschew that lump of coal! There are no bad readers of The Recessionista Blog! This giveaway is now closed. Please check your email to see if you are a winner. Winners have been notified. Thanks!


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Lucy in the Sky

    December 18, 2009 at 8:34 am

    This is an amazing giveaway! thank you for hosting it (and thank you AmEx for offering those prizes)!

    I'd actually save that $50 gift card for the next camera I buy which will hopefully be a DSLR with HD video recording capabilities. These cameras have just been introduced to the camera market so I'll putting of my purchase until later…but eventually, I'm going to have to buy one. My four year old point-and-shoot recently broke! And I have to build my portfolio while I'm applying for internships!

    colored.photograph at gmail dot com

  2. The Owl's Closet

    December 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

    oh wow! what a great giveaway! thank u:D if i were to win one i would definitely use it to finish the rest of my xmas shopping:) i know it's so last minute, but i've been having trouble finding my dad a gift. i finally decided on a digital picture frame so i would use this gift card to purchase the frame for my dad:)
    contact: TheOwlsCloset at yahoo dot com

  3. rachel

    December 18, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    this will go straight into the puppy fund! i can't wait to have another pup! ( :


  4. clewis

    December 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Recessionista! I love your blog and read it every day!

    This gift card would be so great for me! I am a college student, so some of that money would probably go to school books next semester, but I couldn't resist getting something more fashionable as an extra treat as well- perhaps a piece from the Rodarte for Target collection? After all, it has been a long semester; I think I could use a pick-me-up to inspire me for next semester!

    Anyway, I love your blog, and hate to reek of begging, but… PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME! lol!
    Happy holidays!

  5. Genesis

    December 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    i would put it towards a new camera. i desperately need a new one.

    gengavino24 at yahoo dot com

  6. Kristen G.

    December 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    I would use it for me and my Husband to have a date night. We haven't had one in a while because we really haven't had much extra money so this would be really great for us to win!

  7. Gina

    December 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Awesome!!! I would run to the nearest book store and stock up on some books to read over the break.

    agnefamily at yahoo dot com

  8. L.A. Stylist Mom

    December 18, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I would either a)Indulge in some lovely “bath stuff” for myself or b)Buy more school uniforms…how's that for diversity?


  9. smartshopper2

    December 18, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    What a wonderful giveaway, thanks for giving us a chance to win! What would I do if I won the $50 American Express gift card? While there are a few things I can think of, I'd love to treat my family to a nice roast for Christmas dinner. We've never had one for Christmas since it's a little pricey. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas & have a wonderful & frugal new year!
    la hi pt at g mai l. c om

  10. KirstenAngelica

    December 18, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I would love to buy a xmas present for my business partners! We've all worked so hard during the year and this would allow me to push the price of their presents up a notch!

  11. kimmie

    December 18, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Awesome giveaway! I'd use it towards a new camera. My current camera is slowly dying and the picture quality is terrible, and I originally wanted a new one for Christmas, but due to some more important financial matters, we can't 🙁

  12. kimmie

    December 18, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    **Oops! I forgot to add my email address to my previous post. Could you delete that one and use this instead?

    I'd use it towards a new camera. We were originally planning on buying a new camera this winter but it's not possible given our current budget.

    Awesome giveaways!

    kimkchang at gmail dot com

  13. Maybelle

    December 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I would spend it on a fun outing with my hubby and daughter, like indoor rock climbing or go-kart racing. We are lucky to have a home and food on the table but not much is left over for fun stuff.

  14. jenniferbichvy

    December 18, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I would buy my dog a little sweater and some treats, since he just got a very bad/short haircut in the dead of winter!! Thanks!

  15. 1busylady

    December 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I've been contemplating returning an electric guitar (toy one) i bought my 5yr old son.. and getting him the tag leap frog reading system instead (educational).Well, if I win no need to think about it, I'll get him the Tag too!… I have three little one's, so Im a TOTAL RECESSIONISTA!!!
    gfrancoacevedo at yahoo dot com

  16. BookGirl

    December 18, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Frankly, it hadn't crossed my mind to run screaming from the house to buy the biggest Christmas goose ever, but I see now that it's a great idea. Thanks for suggesting it!

    But, barring that, here's what I'm thinking: my husband and I just bought a house. We hadn't quite planned on it, and it's a very long story that interesting to no one but us as to how it happened. Suffice it to say that we are very, very excited, even though many expenses lie ahead. As a result, we're being very frugal this Christmas. It would be lovely to use the American Express gift card to buy my husband an art book that he's been lusting after. I love seeing the look on his face when he's surprised.

    But then again, that goose does sound tempting.


    cboza at vna1 dot com (numeral “1,” not letter “l,” please)

  17. lise

    December 18, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I'd use it to get a new camcorder which I've been saving for.

  18. Shannon

    December 18, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    If I were to win, I would take my card with me when I went to pick up my husband's Christmas gift – a German Shepherd puppy. On the way home from the breeder's house I would stop at Petsmart and outfit the puppy with everything he needs – snazzy collar and leash, food bowls, puppy food, and plenty of chew toys to keep him away from my beloved Prada shoes.

    And of course, a big bow to tie around the puppy's neck for when my husband comes home!

    sea2102 at yahoo dot com

  19. Kathy

    December 18, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    I would put it towards Mani/pedi's for my three girls (it might cover one toe on each girl, but every little bit helps)

    Kathycouchon at att dot net

  20. emily

    December 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    I'm unemployed right now and would love to be able to buy a little something for my parents for Christmas. This card would be perfect!

    emilyhanhan at

  21. Jess

    December 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you for providing this chance to win a %50 gift card!

    Honestly, there isn't much that I need. My parents have been very kind to me. With the $50 though, I would buy some amazing Christmas presents for my parents. They have been extremely selfless this winter, spending money on me and my brothers without bothering to spend anything for themselves-not even a plane ticket to visit my 85 year old grandma. I don't have a job and thus can't earn money, so winning this giftcard would make their Christmas extra special. I would buy warm slippers and a plush robe for my mom, who gets up every morning at 6 to make me breakfast and lunch. As for my dad, I would treat him to an amazing lunch since he always eats leftovers at work.

    my email is xofeilunhaixo at yahoo dot com

  22. dahveedable

    December 18, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    The people in my household (me, myself and I) could use that American Express gift card to help pay off some bills.

    Actually, I'm going to be out of town visiting family this holiday. Getting there will be no problem, but I sure hope I win that gift card so I can get back home!

    dluongvt at hotmail dot com

  23. Kitty

    December 19, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Thanks for the giveaway! I'd use the gift card towards purchasing the perfect leather jacket I found on etsy… though running out for that Christmas goose isn't a bad idea either. 🙂

    evanescentkitty at yahoo dot com

  24. MsBeth

    December 19, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I would use the card to get a massage. It's been so long, what with tightening up and increased expenses, I've forgotten the last time I've had one! ecfullwood at aol dot com

  25. Alexandra

    December 19, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Just stumbled across this blog and I love it. I would use a $50 Amex gift card for a night out with my boyfriend. As I am a full time student who works a part time job and he works long and late hours, our date nights are few and far between. It would be so nice to have a worry-free all expense paid dinner and a movie night with him. I want to see Nine in theaters, so I'd let him pick the restaurant!

    ajenusaitis at gmail dot com

  26. Jennifer

    December 19, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Hmm…I have been coveting these beautiful jeffrey campbell boots, they are so adorable and practical at the same time. (I know weird) But I should really spend it on my school loans…No, probably the boots, hehe.

  27. Jennifer

    December 19, 2009 at 4:41 am

    Sorry forgot to leave my e-mail!

    jennifer.kwk at gmail dot com

  28. MicroImp

    December 19, 2009 at 4:45 am

    Wooow that's an awesome giveaway. AmericanExpress is awesome. ^_^

    If I won I'd use the gift card to replace my mom's crystal mug that I broke. 🙁 It was an accident, I washed and dried it while tired so…I broke it lol. If there was any money left over, I'd either save it or blow it on shoes, can't decide which one yet..

  29. Dianna

    December 19, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Well, like most college students, I am broke, which is why I love coming to your site to find good deals. It's great you're giving away these $50 American Express cards.

    I have recently used up most of my money paying off bills and I would love to win this gift card to do some Christmas shopping for my family. My siblings are young (9, 12, and 15 years old) and I know the simplest of things would make them smile. I know the youngest two want toys, which I could spend part of the gift card on. The rest will go to my brother for a game of some sort. My parents are truly selfless, and I don't think they would accept any gifts from me being that they know my financial situation. But if I can dig up any more money, I would sure spend it on them.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    diannayan at gmail dot com

  30. Tee

    December 19, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I would use the gift card to buy my husband a Christmas present. He has been awesome this past year, playing Mr. Dad to our four kids while I work full time and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse by attending nursing school fulltime at the same time (he also works fulltime, busy family :=). I just want to give him a small token of appreciation, since I have been unable to buy him a gift since the college life has left me a poor student, hahaha. Only 1 year left, Woohoo! Happy Holidays Everyone!

  31. rkl

    December 19, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I'd buy some new jeans. I'm in desperate need of some! Thank you so much for the great giveaway and happy holidays! 🙂

    rklarsson at gmail dot com

  32. Anonymous

    December 19, 2009 at 8:46 am

    WOW this an amazing giveaway honestly!!! Thank You so much. Even if I don't win its still a very generous offer.

    If I'm lucky enough to win that $50 gift card I think I'd spend it at Rainforest Cafe. I have two nieces who love that place. I don't have a job, I'm in college and having that gift card would be an awesome way for me to take them somewhere nice, preferabvly before next semester starts.

    Thank You so much again!!!

    Tahrer Khalil
    tahrerk56 at hotmail dot com

  33. Sarah

    December 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Dear Recessionista,

    Thank you so much for running this blog and for offering this great opportunity!

    I am a college student who has been working on her degree at a university in Asia for the past 4 years and am finally going to move back home to the US very early in 2010.

    I live in one of the most expensive cities in the entire world and also have had to deal with the horrible exchange rate taking about $50-$60 from my account every time I take out money. I have spent all these years just barely getting by with my bills and food–I mostly eat bread products because that's all I can afford.

    If I were to win the $50 gift certificate, I would treat myself to a few nice, balanced meals back in the states, or use it to buy some belated Christmas gifts for my friends whom have been very supportive and giving but I haven't been able to give anything in return, or buy a belated wedding present for my mom who got married in September and I wasn't financially able to get her anything, either. Something along those lines! : )

    Thanks so much again!

    happyrakko (at) gmail (dot) com

  34. Hugo

    December 19, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    First time reader – thanks so much for this offer. I would likely use it to help finance a nice Christmas break dinner for my wife and son. 🙂

    Hmm . . . though after thinking about it for a bit, we would most likely use it to get my son a new pair of shcool shoes – he joined basketball this year, and we noticed last night that they've taken a beating!

    Blessings & Peace,

  35. debra

    December 19, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    What a great giveaway! Thank you for a thoughtful offer. 🙂

    I'm a 24-year-old social worker, here in the Bay Area, at a live-in drug rehab for women who've just gotten out of jail and prison. Because most of the women can't go home (or don't have homes to go to) for Christmas, I'm working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be with these sweet ladies.

    I'd use an American Express card toward a plane ticket home in early January, so I can at least have a late Christmas with all my family in Portland! This would really help out!

    debra j birch at yahoo dot com

  36. Chele

    December 19, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

    I adore Shu Uemura lipsticks although they're a bit pricy. So I'd use the gift card to buy my favorite color and keep one in my purse and one at home.

    chelem01 at hotmail dot com

  37. Target-Addict

    December 20, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Normally I'd use a $50 gift card at Target 😉 But, Nine West is having an amazing shoe and boot sale right now, so if I won I'd probably use the AmEx gift card towards a purchase there.

  38. Kasey Keeps Track

    December 20, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I'd use my $50 American Express gift card to buy a new pair of running shoes I've had my eyes on, for my next half marathon!

    kasey.meadows at gmail dot com

  39. fashionforwriters

    December 20, 2009 at 3:14 am

    Your blog is pretty fabulous, and this giveaway is amazing!

    I think I would use the gift card toward purchasing opera tickets (at student price?) for my boyfriend and I. Or maybe I would be totally selfish and put the money toward a pair of Swedish hasbeen jodhpurs or something from the Rodarte for Target collection even though it might be disappointing!!

    jennybagel at gmail dot com

  40. LDA

    December 20, 2009 at 3:17 am

    That is awesome! I love your blog.

    I would take my best friend to dinner, because we aren't buying gifts for each other this year!

    elizabeth.laurie at hotmail dot com

  41. clewis

    December 20, 2009 at 4:02 am

    So sorry forgot my email address! cmlewis07 at gmail dot com
    So to Recap:
    Hi Recessionista! I love your blog and read it every day!

    This gift card would be so great for me! I am a college student, so some of that money would probably go to school books next semester, but I couldn't resist getting something more fashionable as an extra treat as well- perhaps a piece from the Rodarte for Target collection? After all, it has been a long semester; I think I could use a pick-me-up to inspire me for next semester!

    Anyway, I love your blog, and hate to reek of begging, but… PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME! lol!
    Happy holidays!

  42. Lisa

    December 20, 2009 at 5:58 am

    YES! I love giveaways, thanks you!

    I would use my $50 to pay off my mom's phone bill since she recently quit her job since she was having trouble with the new management.

    lisa.suny at gmail dot com

  43. Traci

    December 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    great blog!!

    I am a college student so of course funds are limited.everything goes to tuition now after losing my mom.

    I would probably use the money to indulge in my shopping habit..maybe a pair of boots..i cant remember the last time i went shopping or if i really have to i'll do the practical thing and buy some txt books.

  44. Emily N.

    December 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Very cool giveaway. I'd use the $50 to buy Chuck Season 2 on DVD when it comes out January 5th.
    Email is in my profile.

  45. Ashley Smith

    December 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    What a wonderful giveaway! Amex has always been such a dear friend 🙂

    I would use the gift card to take another class at I just finished a New York Times travel writing class there and it was WONDERFUL.

    Ashley (

  46. Anonymous

    December 20, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Great giveaway! I would use this gift card to update my makeup for 2010. New blush, lipgloss and eyeshadow! Watch out 2010!

    marci2.miller at gmail dot com

  47. blabbing maggie

    December 20, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    oh wow. i just graduated college yesterday 🙂 and trust me, in this economy, with no “big girl” job lined up, $50 sounds like a dream come true!

    i would use this gift card to finish my christmas shopping. better late than never! i owe so much to my family, friends, The Boyfriend…they've helped me so much over the last 4.5 years, and i'd love to do something special for them. may need a little more $$ for that!

    thanks for such a great giveaway!

    smd3i1108 -at- gmail -dot- com

  48. Discipline Bound

    December 21, 2009 at 12:43 am

    What would I do with $50? We have a HD TV but no cable or satellite so we get 1 channel. We have been saving up to buy an antenna so we can actually get a signal. I think (actually know) the kiddos would love this. So I would use the $50 towards the new antenna.

    Thanks for such a great giveaway. My email addy is newslettersherry at gmail dot com

  49. Anonymous

    December 21, 2009 at 2:39 am

    My daughter just introduced me to your blog. What a wonderful giveaway. I should use the gift card to pay a bill, but instead I think I would use it to see a matinee movie with my husband and have lunch. It would be great to have a nice date out.

    My email addy is dabirdfamily at aol dot com