Unwritten rules for giving cash as a present?

Curious on everyone’s thoughts on giving cash as a present. As a kid, I loved getting $10 stuffed in a card from my aunt, uncle or grandparents. But if I received the same from my parents, I would’ve been very disappointed. This got me thinking about the “rules” surrounding giving/receiving cash. I few I came up with:

  • Cash is a better gift than gift cards, at least up to a certain age (maybe early 20s and below). If you’re older than that, receiving cash can come off as patronizing.
  • When giving cash, you need to use crisp, new bills when possible. It makes it seem like the giving party went a little out of their way to get the clean bills, even if it was a routine visit to the bank or ATM.
  • When giving cash to kids: If you’re a close family member or friend who doesn’t see the kids very often, cash is a perfectly fine gift. If you do see the kids all the time, better to opt for a physical gift that you can give in person.

What other unwritten rules are there when giving cash as a present?


I don’t know about any specific rules for cash, but my family pretty much want gift cards, now, and e-gift cards at that, LoL. So, now I buy little things I would have normally purchased for them throughout the year. They like the little treats as well.


My neighbors, when I was growing up, had big plaster banks. Mark had a gorrilla and Becky had a hippo. Each holiday and birthday they received money from various relatives. Half went into their bank and the other half was theirs to spend.

When Mark got to be about seventeen, he asked if I could drill a hole in the bottom of his gorilla. I said I would try. Needless to say. it shattered all to hell! On the upside, Mark was able to buy a new Jeep with his savings! I have no idea what Becky did with her bank. I just know she didn’t ask me to drill a hole in it!


I give cash to the older great grandchildren so they can do what they want with it.two are saving for a car ?


Im 34 and if someone wants to give me cash for any reason im happy with that ???


I don’t know that I have unwritten rules for giving/receiving cash as presents. I personally don’t give cash as presents just because I feel like the other party might take it as impersonal. The exception is like if you order crisp $2 bills from the bank and then gift that to someone, in which case the cash itself is a novel gift.

On the flip side, I’m happy to receive cash in any form as a gift. Give it to be crumpled, ugly – I don’t care lol just give me the money. If my friends know me, they probably know I don’t care and would be happy to receive cold, hard cash and won’t be offended at all.

Unless the amount is trivially small.

Like for example if as a grown adult you’re gifting me $10 then that’s a bit insulting. So I guess I do have an unwritten cash rule is that if you’re giving the gift of cash AKA the gift of spending, give $100+.


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When we gift, it is the form of consumables…a gift card, a bottle of wine or Prosecco, a bag of good coffee, something the person can appreciate and use.

Angie P, I was always taught it was the thought that counts. A lot of people can’t afford to give $100 to everyone they may want to give cash as a gift. Everyone has different budgets and limits of what they can give. You may want to reconsider your values this Christmas season.

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My wife & I were just discussing how much we’d love to have been given cash or gift cards from my family instead of the physical gifts they gave us. there’s family turmoil that I won’t get into here- we’re not just being ungrateful or anything, it’s complicated as family usually is

For me personally, I’d love any amount of cash as a gift. I’ve been given $10 gift cards so why not a $10 bill? I sure wouldn’t be mad at all. That’s $10 in my emergency fund that I didn’t have before. Even a $10 gift card is appreciated, though harder to use due to where I live. Luckily most can still be used online. ?

As for rules when giving money as a gift… I don’t really have any. It’s hard to think any amount of money wouldn’t be appreciated, but I can understand how some people would feel insulted by $10 even if that’s all I have to give. It’s all about perspective.