5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Buying Gifts And Start Giving Cash

5 Reasons Why You Should Stop Buying Gifts And Start Giving Cash

Yesterday, Alicia and I sat down and planned our birthday party next year. We decided to put NO GIFTS, CASH ONLY on our invitations . We are Asian [ I am not lying, even one of us looks mixed, and the other looks Hawaiian].  Asians give cash for all kind of things from weddings, birthdays, store openings to funerals. Many of you might think it is a lazy and crazy idea, but just hold on and let me explain why you should do the same this holiday season.


Every year, Alicia and I get things that we don’t need. Nine out of ten times, we dislike the gift. And the one person who got it right is our mother. Everyone has a different taste and need . Receiving a gift means we will have to go return the gift and get store credit off a store that we don’t even shop at. But if we get cash maybe $50 from a person, $100 from someone else; they add up to a large amount. Usually we save up that money to spend on something valuable that we actually need.  A lot of time we use that money to pay for the party [ we are Asian there is no hope the guests will pay for their meals and drinks. It can be very expensive if you have a large party]

Giving cash is just practical. Giving someone a $10 worth of presents that she does need is a waste of money. We are in a recession; we do not have the luxury to spend our money on worthless things. If you would not buy  something you don’t need for yourself, why would you buy for someone else?  That money can help your friends and family buy groceries for a week.  It might be little, but a little helps.


How much time do you spend on Christmas shopping? At least a few hours. Let’s do the math. If you spend 30 minutes to shop for each of your friends and family members and you need to buy 20 gifts, you will spend 10 hours of your time.  Let’s asumme you make $20 an hour. If you work instead of shopping, you will make $200. That means you can give each of your friends $10 or  spend that money on yourself. Time is money, and you have more important things to do than shopping. Don’t forget gift wrapping and the time to drop off the presents. Now you can just send money with one click.

Not only you will save time, the receiver will save a lot of time too. She will not have to spend time returning your gift. She does not need to find time to find a room for your present. Now she can focus on taking care her children better

It is a win win for both sides.


Holiday shopping is never easy. You never really know what the receiver wants to get. Even if you know, most likely it is wrong. Why would you spending time torturing yourself when you can give her something she will like for sure. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like or need money.


My siblings do not get an allowance. They only make money from helping our parents or gift money. The kids are extremely frugal because they know it is not easy to make money. For example, if Alicia wants a birthday party, she will have to pay for it. In order to invite our family and close friends, it would cost at least $1000. Every year she has to sit down and think what is the best way for her to manage her money and still have a good party. She has to come up with a plan and pitch it. The kids become much more responsible when we give them the power to spend money. They would think every time before they spend a penny. It also makes them better people. A few months ago, Jason got $100 birthday money from an uncle, he used $10 to buy a toy that he had wanted for ages and gave the rest to Ivy, our 5 year-old sister to throw her birthday party. He knows that money would help mommy buy more food for Ivy and will make his sister happy. Jason learned that it is not all about receiving.

Give your children money instead of gift is a good opportunity to teach them the value of money and how to manage it.


A lot of people feel bad about giving cash because they think it shows laziness and does not express any feeling or thought. It is wrong. If you really care about someone, you don’t need an object to express that. And if you think buying gifts shows that you care more about your family and friend, I will argue why don’t you make them instead of buying. Tell your friends and family why you are giving them cash and how much you love them. And if you still feel bad, why don’t you actually sit down and write a good holiday card without a template. Tell your family and friends why you care about them instead of the typical “Happy Holiday. Love”. You can make a little handmade gift to go with the cash. Doing an easy craft project is faster than shopping for a perfect gift.

Sometimes being practical is not bad, it is just doing the right thing.

It is your turn. What do you think about giving cash?

Photo:  hermitsmoores

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Post by Cammi Pham

Cammi Pham (@cammipham) is a digital marketer by day at ThinkRenegade, blogger by night, unlearner 24/7.  Cammi is a Medium Top Contributor, Quora Top Writer and TEDx Speaker. Her work has reached millions of people and has been translated into many different languages. Cammi has been featured in the BBC, Business Insider, Adweek, Yahoo, Lifehacker and more. Cammi lives by her personal motto, “Learn, Unlearn, Relearn.” Email: contact@cammipham.com