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How Much Should I Spend on a Teacher Gift Card?

Whether for teacher appreciation, end of the school year, teacher’s birthday or a holiday teacher gift, make sure you spend the right amount on a gift card for the teacher.

Put ruler gift card inside

If you’re wondering how much to spend on a gift card for a teacher, then read below for my tips on choosing the best dollar amount, staying within district and state guidelines and knowing what other parents usually spend.

1. Choose an Amount Within Your Budget

chipotle gift card

I am a firm believer in only buying gift cards that fit your budget. Never spend more than you can afford simply to impress someone or to make the dollar value symbolic of your feelings. It’s not necessary. A $10 gift card can be just as special as a $50 gift card if you say the right words or pair the gift card with something meaningful.

For example, if you are getting the teacher a gift card to a fun lunchtime restaurant, then a $25 gift card would most likely cover the cost of a midday meal. If you are getting a gift card to a smoothie shop, then a $10 gift card is the perfect amount. Even a $5 gift is useful if there are menu items available for $5 or less.

In either case, toss the gift card into a fresh takeout container and add a note that says, “You deserve a break!”

Here’s a post with more general advice on how much money to spend on a gift card.

2. Check District Guidelines and State Laws

woman at school office

I am not a lawyer, accountant or tax expert so please do not consider this legal advice. The information below is simply my opinion.

In general, the amount you spend on a gift card for a teacher should be nominal and small enough that the gift card could not be misconstrued as a bribe for special treatment or payment for a good grade. It should also be in line with what other parents typically spend for the specified occasion.

Additionally, some school districts have guidelines for teacher gifts and some state laws require teachers to report gifts on their taxes or reject gifts entirely.

Below are some examples of rules I found in my area:

  • Donate to the Classroom. On my local school district’s website, parents are encouraged to thank teachers by donating to their child’s classroom. Since teachers often spend personal funds on needed resources, donating to the classroom allows teachers to select materials without having to pay for them. And since the school is a non-profit organization, these donations qualify as tax write-offs–something you will not get if you simply buy a gift.
  • No Gift Over $50. In my state of Idaho, the Code of Ethics for Professional Educators states that it is unethical for teachers to accept “financial benefit greater than fifty dollars ($50).” Since gift cards are a financial instrument, I think this guideline would apply to gift cards as well.

Again, I’m not an attorney or anything official. Just take this as hint to ask your school if there are limits to how much you can spend on a gift card for a teacher.

3. Find Out What Other Parents are Spending

When teacher appreciation week, end of year celebrations, and other teacher recognition events are coming up, ask a few other parents what they are contributing to the group gift or planning to spend on their own. Unless there is a suggested amount from the room parent, you might find a range of answers–everything from $0 to $50 and handwritten notes to gift cards. Remember, the point of asking is not for you to spend more than you can afford, but simply to ensure you aren’t being overly extravagant either.

To find out what other parents think, I set up the poll below.

Select the amount you most often spend on gift cards for teachers and see what other parents spend on gift cards for teachers as well.


Read this post to find out the Best Gift Cards for Teachers and learn more about Group Gifts for Teachers too.

How Much Do I Spend on Gift Cards for Teachers?

back to school supplies with happy student gift card

I tend to contribute $5 to 10 when I am donating money to a group gift card for the teacher, but may spend up to $20 if I am giving an individual gift card. With three kids in school, I don’t always have extra money for extravagant gifts–even if they were allowed. But I will definitely make time to have the kids write a note, bring in flowers from the yard, donate classroom supplies, and thank the teacher every chance I get. I admire people who go into the teaching profession. Few jobs look more difficult to me while also making the biggest difference in the lives of so many.

What other questions do you have about teacher gift cards? How much do you spend on gift cards for teachers? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter (@GCGirlfriend) or on Instagram (@Gift.Card.Girlfriend).

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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