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What is the Etiquette of Giving Money as a Gift?

written by: Robin L.•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 11/16/2009

The etiuette of giving money as a gift has changed over the years. This is now a much more acceptable practice.

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    While asking for a cash gift is still considered to be a bit of a social gaff, the etiquette of giving money as a gift is much more relaxed. There are several ways money may be given and several instances where it is perfectly acceptable. However, a gift that has been specially chosen for the recipient should still be the goal in gift giving.

    Long Distance

    When the recipient is far away, the cost of shipping a gift may be prohibitive or it may reduce the amount you are able to spend on the actual gift. If this is the case, giving money as a gift makes perfect sense. If there was a large item you would have bought had you been closer, you can always include that information in the card and express a wish that the money be used for that item. This makes the cash gift more personal. However, it is also perfectly acceptable to simply include the money along with well wishes.

    Special Request

    Sometimes picky teenagers, wedding couples, or the focus of a shower are saving for a big ticket item and want money to help reach their goal. If a specific request has been made, the etiquette of giving money as a gift is simple: it is not only acceptable but appreciated.

    Limited Options

    Sometimes you just don’t know what to get someone no matter how close they are to you or how hard you search for the perfect gift. This often happens when one waits until the last minute to shop a gift registry and most of the gifts are gone or when the friend or family member has moved far away and one no longer has access to constant ideas. It is perfectly acceptable to send money as a gift in these cases along with a heartfelt letter of good wishes.

    Gift Cards or Cash?

    Some people think a gift card means that the giver put little thought into the gift. However, if you know the recipient really likes a particular store and that he or she is likely to spend the gift money on something other than a treat for themselves, a gift card is a great choice. This lets the recipient know that you took their preferences into account when choosing a gift.