The ‘age old’ adage that giving money is less appropriate than giving a gift is simply untrue. If you are unsure of what to give someone, money can be the best alternative. It allows the recipient the flexibility to use the money any way he or she wishes. Whether it will be used to help purchase that special something on their wish list or an added deposit in their savings account, money will always be appreciated.
For the financially savvy, giving money for holidays can be less expensive than giving a gift. No one likes to think his or her hard-earned money spent on a gift has been wasted. With the gift of cash, you can rest assured that it will not go unused or be included in the next yard sale.
For those who wish to give money but would prefer a more personal touch, consider including a note suggesting how the recipient might use the money. Perhaps you know they are saving for a vacation or want to upgrade their computer. Whatever the reason, this shows that you really put some thought into your gift and weren’t taking ‘the easy way out’.
There is also a gift giving superstition when it come to giving cash as a gift. It is said that money should always be given in odd amounts.
Giving money to children can be a valuable educational tool. By opening a saving account for them at an early age, they can learn how to manage money – a skill that has been left out of most school curriculum. To teach children about stocks, purchase stock in a company of interest to them by considering their interests. The child will learn how the stock market works by following the price of the stock.
Giftyness is not always in the shape of a box. Rest assured that the gift of money is appropriate and appreciated for any age. Once you see the big smile on the face of your recipient, you will know you made the best decision. After all, what would you prefer to receive?
When to Give Money
Certain occasions lend themselves to the gift of cash. Below are the more common occasions where giving money is appropriate...
- Graduations, Off to College
- Gifts to Kids
- Bar Mitzvah
- Sympathy and Condolence Gifts
- Bon Voyage
- Clergy Appreciation Month
Money is usually a safe gift for weddings as it can help new couples starting out, though, it would be considered gauche to ask for money as a wedding gift. If giving money, it would also be a good idea to send a small gift along with the money to make it more personal. Perhaps a travel book or map from where they plan on spending their honeymoon, etc. This shows thoughtfulness as well as generosity.
Gifts of money are typical and appropriate from grandparents, aunts and uncles to kids and teenagers. For kids, money is a good gift to introduce them to saving. For teenagers, it gives them a sense of freedom in allowing them to choose a gift that excites them. For young kids, a gift of money can be made more creative by giving a savings bond or a few shares of stock in their favorite toy company.
Gifts to Kids
Coming from a Grandparent or an Uncle or Aunt, money can make a nice gift to a kid. Either for the purpose of contributing to their savings or simply so they can have some mad money for their next trip to the store. If given for the purpose of mad money, a nice touch would be to take them to their favorite store and let them spend it on anything they want. Giving money is also becoming more popular for pre-teens to give to each other for birthday parties. Cash is a popular holiday gift for children in Asian countries.
When Money is Not a Good Gift
There are certain situations and occasions where the gift of money is not recommended:
- If you are giving money simply because you can't think of anything better to give, then this is a sign that money may not be a good gift for this occasion. This could give the impression that you didn't or weren't willing to put much thought into the gift.
- If the occasion calls for a more meaningful gift. An anniversary gift or a push present would be a good example of where giving money is not recommended.
- In general, money is not a good gift to someone who is older than you. Gifts of money to parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. are usually not a good idea.
- Gifts of money to teachers, assistants, coaches and team Moms are also not recommended. It would be much more acceptable to give a gift card instead.
- Be aware of international gift giving customs, because gifting money may not be an appropriate in certain cultures. For example in certain countries such as Russia and Germany, giving money is considered taboo.
Gifty Ways to Give Money
If you do decide to give money as a gift, here's a few ideas to add a gifty twist to your gift of cash...
- Shares of Stock are especially good gifts for kids and newlyweds. Use the concept of Lagniappe by adding a book on stock investing or a subscription to an investing publication.
- Giving it as savings bond in the person's name
- Hide the money in a Puzzle Box
- Disguise the gift of cash by placing in a new purse or wallet for that little something extra.
- Cash is given in a red envelope in Asian countries for weddings. New Year's and other holidays, especially as gifts for children.
Alternatives to Giving Money
- Charitable Gift Giving That Gives Back
- Emergency Gifts
- Gift Cards (also see the pitfalls of giving a gift card)
- A session with a financial advisor.
- How to Avoid Controversial or Inappropriate Gifts
- Gift Giving for Life's Milestones
- Quinceanera Parties
- How Gifty Are You?