When is it Appropriate to Give Money as a Gift?


Money is very essential to everyone.  Without it, how can you buy food, clothes, medicine etc.  Although money is indeed very useful for everyone, it is still awkward to give it as a gift.

To people who can afford to gift money, despite the awkwardness it could be given in a crafty manner or even personalized so that it won’t appear that you just bailed out and got the easier way of giving a gift.

For me, giving money as a gift may be a good alternative than giving a useless item for the recipient.  If the receiver of the present will not be happy with the gift, it may be re-gifted or be sold in a garage sale.  Money can be used in anyway, it may be used to purchase, to pay bills, to add to the existing funds your recipient may be saving for and the list goes on.  To sum it up, money will always be cherished.

If you are artistically inclined, you may showcase your talent even if you are giving money as a gift.  You may fold it in the form of a dress, a flower or a symbol that is significant for the giftee.  A personal touch may also be included by noting special recommendations or annotations that goes with your gift.  Suggestions on how to use the money you gave the recipient will show how much you care for them and how you want them to make use of your gift as a way in achieving their dreams or goals.

In terms of superstitious beliefs, old folks would reprimand that if you’ll give money as a gift, it should be in odd number. According to Jewish custom, when giving to charity in terms of monetary gifts; it should be given in multiples of eighteen.  Eighteen is chai in Hebrew and it means life.  So when you give money in multiples of eighteen, it’s like wishing the giftee a good life.  In India, it’s believed that when you are giving money as a gift there should be an extra amount for good luck.  For example, instead of giving one hundred dollars, make it one hundred and one.  In addition, Indians also believed that when you are handing over money, it should be handed using your right hand and the recipient should also do the same thing.  The left hand is believed to be “unclean” in their beliefs.

When children are given money, it can be a way to teach them how to donate, invest and save.  These values are not really taught in school, it may be mentioned but not thoroughly explained.  By teaching children on how to put money in proper channels and uses may give them a hint on what lies ahead in the future.  I, myself, give my daughter money and teach her these things.  At first, all she does is buy the things that she likes but as she grew older, she learned the value of money and how to use it properly.  She already outgrown the idea that money grows on trees.

We all know that money is important and that it can be given as a gift.  The next question arises, when can we give money as a gift?

There are different occasions that could call for money to be given as a gift. It may sound insulting or awkward for some recipient not unless the predicament calls for it.


Occasions that may Call for the Gift of Cash

  • Birthdays. The gift of cash is appropriate for all ages.  It may also signify several meaning per age group.  For the kiddos, it may give them the knowledge about saving money and the value of putting it to good use.  For pre- school children to school children, giving money as gift may give them an idea about the stock market if the gift comes with a toy that signifies it.  For teenagers, the gift of cash gives them option to choose what they want and may teach them how to be responsible in using their money.
  • Wedding. Money can be given as a gift in weddings.  This may help the new couple to start out.  You may make it personalized by including a note on how to use it or by enclosing them in a travel book.  Generosity and thoughtfulness would be combined in the latter gift idea.
  • Bat Mitzvah. In Judaism, when a girl turns twelve, she becomes bat mitzvah.  It means she becomes a daughter of the commandment.  In the Jewish tradition, this is a celebrated tradition.  There is no specific requirement of amount but considering their beliefs, it’s better to give in multiples of eighteen as mentioned earlier.


When Money is Not a Good Gift

Although money is useful for everyone, there are certain instances where in the gift of cash is not appropriate.

  • The gift of cash is not applicable to assistants, coaches, teachers or superiors.  It may give a bad impression or another meaning.  So instead of giving cash to these people, a gift card would do or a simple token.
  • Anniversaries are very memorable for couples.  The gift of money is not recommended for this occasion, as couples celebrating anniversaries tend to prefer something to remember the event by. Try giving keepsakes or a service like a massage for two instead.
  • Money given as a gift to people older than you like your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts may sound really awkward and inappropriate.
  • In countries like Germany and Russia, it is certainly not recommended to give cash as a gift because it is considered taboo in their customs.
  • Lastly, giving money for the sake of giving something or if you forgot to prepare is also inappropriate.  Especially when you reiterate that you failed to prepare and you are giving it as a replacement.


Other Ways of Giving Money

If you still feel awkward to give money per se, you may try out other options that are as good as money.

You may give gift certificates, stocks, savings bond.  Or you may camouflage the cash as something else to have a nice presentation.  Enclose in a special box or envelope.  Have it your way.

Gift giving, in all forms of gifts it may be would surely give a smile on the face of the receiver.  The gift of money is the most flexible gift that one could offer.

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