Creative Ways to Give Money as a Gift

Author: Johnnie Medrano, Regional Retail Sales and Services Manager 11/29/2022

Money is a useful and practical gift. It’s easy to give and offers flexibility to the recipient. But giving money doesn’t have to mean giving cold hard cash. Here are some creative ways to give money, whether it’s for the upcoming holidays, birthdays, graduations, or other celebrations.

Consider a 529 Plan Contribution for Kids

Are you looking for an impactful gift to give your grandchild, niece, nephew, or any other child in your life? Consider the gift of college savings by opening or contributing to a 529 plan on behalf of the child. This is a great way to help your loved one offset the many costs that come with college.

529 college savings plans are investment accounts designed specifically for education savings. They offer tax benefits that make it easier for people to save for college. With a 529 plan, any earnings you make are not subject to federal tax so long as you use the money for eligible expenses. These expenses include things like tuition, fees, school supplies, and equipment. Anyone can open a 529 plan for someone else, or you can contribute to an existing plan if the child already has one in place. If you’re thinking of gifting money toward a 529 plan, reach out to your financial advisor to learn more about 529 plans and how you can contribute to one.

Savings Bonds Can Teach Kids About Saving and Investing

Another good option for kids on your gift list? Savings bonds. Unlike other Treasury securities, savings bonds can be purchased in a minor’s name, making them an excellent gift for kids. Gifting a savings bond is a great way to help kids learn firsthand how investing and saving work. Savings bonds are low-risk investments that grow interest steadily over time. The recipient can cash out the bond any time after 12 months of purchase. Though the longer they wait to redeem the bond, the more interest it accrues.

You can buy a savings bond for as low as $25 online from the U.S. Treasury Department by going to treasurydirect.gov. The process is easy, and the website has many helpful resources for gift-givers. You can even print out a gift certificate that tells the recipient they are getting a bond from you.

Go Digital with E-Gift Cards 

Finding the right present for someone can be stressful. If you’re looking for a gift that offers the flexibility of cash but is a bit more personal, consider an E-gift card.

E-gift cards are a useful gift for anyone on your gift list – especially the hard-to-shop-for people. That’s because E-gift cards give recipients the freedom to buy what they want and when they want. Compared to physical gift cards, E-gift cards offer some extra perks. Due to their digital nature, E-gift cards are virtually impossible to lose. Also, they can be sent almost instantly, making them a good last-minute gift if you’re pressed for time.

There are a few important things you should keep in mind before buying an E-gift card. For starters, make sure to only purchase E-gift cards from reputable, trustworthy retailers. It’s best to buy E-gift cards directly from the retailer’s website instead of a third-party site. Additionally, be mindful of any expiration dates, fees, or other stipulations.

Gift Cards or Gift Funds for Newlyweds

Nowadays, there are lots of ways to give money to newlyweds and engaged couples. Most registry websites give couples the option to set up “cash funds” on their registries. How does it work? The couple creates a specific goal and guests can contribute money to the fund. Some of the most popular cash funds include honeymoon funds, home repairs funds, and first house funds. Cash funds are convenient for the gift-giver because you can donate any amount you’d like. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing your money is going toward something the couple wants. It’s a useful, easy gift that’s a bit more personal than cash.

Gift cards are another practical option for newlyweds. You can look at the couple’s registry to see what retailers they prefer. Gift cards to local restaurants and spas are also great gifts for couples. If you’re familiar with their interests, then opt for a gift card that supports their likes and hobbies. For example, give a gift card to a nearby movie theatre if they are film buffs or a sporting goods store if they enjoy the outdoors.

Consider Donating to a Charity the Recipient Supports

There are plenty of non-profit organizations in the world. Donating to one of them on someone else’s behalf is a meaningful gift, especially when you give to an organization that’s important to the gift recipient. Typically, contributing to a charity is a straightforward process. To donate to a specific charity, visit their official website. Most charities have instructions for donating listed on their website. If not, use the contact page on the website to inquire about donating.

If the person on your gift list is passionate about certain issues or causes, you can visit charity assessment websites like Charity Navigator and CharityWatch to look up reputable nonprofit organizations. These sites let you browse charities by category and provide helpful information about donating to specific charities.

There are also charity gift cards like the TisBest Charity Gift Card that make for nice gifts. The gift-giver chooses the dollar amount of the gift card. Then, the recipient gets to donate the card’s value to charities of their choice.

Gift-giving can feel stressful, especially during the holiday season when it feels like your gift list is never-ending. If you’re in a pinch, consider the above gift ideas. And remember that at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. For more tips on holiday budgeting, check out our blog, How to Stick to Your Holiday Shopping Budget.

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