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4 Ways To Ask For Money Instead Of Gifts For Birthday

Your birthday is a couple of weeks away, and you know your friends and loved ones are about to shower you with so much love and adoration. Somewhere along the line, you realized you’re not big on birthday gifts anymore because they either give you things you never use or get you some motivational books, kitchen utensils, or appliances you already have. 

Was there a time when you wanted to receive monetary gifts instead of a regular gift but is unable to say it out loud? In this article, we are going to talk about the modern way of giving monetary gifts and how to request them as a gift for your birthday.

I know your loved ones mean so much to you, and you wouldn’t want to do anything that might upset them in any way. Like telling them the gifts they gave you for your last birthday ended up in some stranger’s house. I know for a fact that you’d appreciate a gift more if it’s something you want, need, or have longed to have. 

How To Ask For Money Instead Of Gifts For Birthday?

What is a monetary gift?

Thinking of what to gift someone can be difficult at times as there are multiple options one can choose from. This is how giving cash or gift cards instead of regular gifts for a birthday and other occasions became popular in the modern age. It can be when our grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even parents gifted us cash or gift cards for us to have the freedom to buy what we need or want.

Money Instead Of Gifts For Birthday? Imagine a situation where you’re given a list of items to choose your desired gift from. The best part of this is if you’re unable to find the perfect gift, there would be a close second and third that is just as perfect. Unfortunately, the odds of this ever happening is 10 in a billion. 

Is asking for Money or a Gift Card as your Birthday Gift Presumptuous?

Your birthday is fast approaching, and you’re thinking of a way to turn this gift problem around. I call it a problem because I understand the anxiety that comes with figuring out what to do with all these birthday gifts I do not need. 

You, me, and several millions of people would prefer getting cash on their birthdays instead of gifts that they barely like. Is there a polite way to ask for money? What are the ways to ask for money instead of gifts for your birthday? 

Below are four practical ways to do this. 

How Do You Ask For Money Instead Of Gifts For Birthday

1. Put It On The Invitation

The popular expression, “if you want something, just ask; the worst that could happen is a rejection,” applies to this point. If you would prefer cash gifts for your birthday instead of presents, put them on the invite politely. 

With this strategy, everyone goes home happy. Your friends and loved ones would not have to spend hours searching for the perfect gift just for you to receive it with a fake smile and then give it out a few weeks after. Also, you won’t necessarily have to lie about loving the gift. 

For this plan to be perfect, you should provide a compelling backstory that shows why you’ve chosen only to take cash instead of presents. This way, you don’t come off as being insensitive and rude. A backstory could be very short and detailed. You could tell them how special your birthday gifts have always made you feel, but now that you’re older, you’d appreciate cash presents more. 

Don’t forget to tell them how much you value their presence at your birthday party. You definitely would not want to receive a birthday invite that reads, “you’re welcome to my birthday party; please come with cash gifts only.” It comes off rude. So the key is to be polite and friendly. 

Also, remember that gift-giving is an option. It’s not something you force people to do. You might need to put that in the invite before making your cash request. If your guests feel like they can’t attend your birthday party without coming with gifts, it puts you in a horrible spot. 

2. Talk About It 

Your friends and loved ones are probably paying close attention to your conversations because they want to identify that item you’ve been raving about for months. Why not give them an easy way out? When the opportunity arises, talk about how you’d prefer cash to birthday gifts this time because you’d appreciate it more. 

You might need to talk about wanting cash for your birthday multiple times before they get the message; I know for a fact that it would be worth it in the end. My recommendation is that you only talk about this when it comes up. Talking about not wanting presents for your birthday out of the blue might send the wrong message. 

As I mentioned earlier, gift-giving is not compulsory. Don’t box your friends and loved ones in. Ensure that your approach is not forceful. 

3. Wait For Them To Ask You

This point is a tricky one. Why? Most times, people always want to surprise you on your birthday, and that’s fine. The gesture shows how much they care about you and want to make your birthday special. What if they get you something you already have? Like a box of cooking pots, books, or home decorations. 

You can save them the look of disappointment by outrightly telling them what you’d want for your birthday if and when they ask you. Before you do this, ensure that a gift-giving relationship exists. Telling a total stranger you want cash gifts for your birthday is both awkward and frowned upon. 

4. Provide An Avenue For Them To Give You Cash

One very effective way to successfully request cash instead of a birthday gift is by providing an avenue for them to do so. People find it difficult to give cash gifts not because they can’t afford them or because your demands are outrageous. They might not know the perfect amount to offer. 

Buying you a gift might be easier for them. They know what to buy, where to get it, and how much it costs. It saves them the headache of wondering if it’s perfect or not. On the other hand, a cash gift takes every protective layer of confidentiality away. Every amount might appear too small. If you want to make things easier for them, provide an avenue for them to give you cash without any difficulty attached. 

You could create a crowdfund link that only requires them to input their name and a message to you along with the cash. 

To top it off, you could summarize what you intend to use the cash for and how much you appreciate them in helping you achieve this goal. This gives them a reason to proceed with the cash gift without second thoughts. 

Now that we’ve covered the various ways to request cash gifts instead of presents, some factors must be considered before jumping into the cash request to avoid ruining your relationships. 

Examples of how to ask for monetary gifts in your invitation

How to politely show your preference to receive monetary gifts – cash or gift cards – instead of a regular gift on your birthday without sounding brusque or uncouth?

What if, instead of giving money as a gift, you are the one who would like to receive monetary gifts instead? What will you do to request such in the most polite way possible? To some, asking for money instead of gifts on your birthday can come as uncanny and burdensome.

No problem! Here are some examples of how to ask for monetary gifts through your Invitation cards or SMS.

  • Through your Invitation card. It is best to include the reason for asking for monetary gifts. Instead of simply saying; “Only money as gifts, please!” You can tell them the exact reason why you are requesting such and make sure that they are still welcome even if they won’t be giving you money as gifts. You can say it like; “Your presence at my party is enough as a gift to me. However, if you wish to give a gift, I would like to request your donation instead. I am planning to renovate my kitchen and any monetary help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!”It can be for traveling, student loans, or something else. It is better, to be honest with how you plan on using the requested monetary gift. This is to put the mind of the people you invited at ease and to help them decide whether to give you a monetary gift or not.
  • Through SMS. If you are part of a group and your birthday is near, you can bring it up as a tradition between your group of friends. It is easier to text someone close to you like family and friends when requesting monetary gifts as they can spread it around. But, what if you are unable to send paper invitations so you would like to send them as an SMS invitation instead? If you will be requesting monetary gifts via SMS, it is best to think of ways to get the message in a fun way. You can create a poem about your desire to receive monetary gifts instead. You just need to make sure not to sound demanding. See this sample poem below;

This is to invite you to the celebration of my upcoming natal day,

 Your presence alone is already greatly appreciated;

But if you are planning to send a gift my way,

A monetary gift is what I yearn for.”

NOTE: You need to remember that asking for monetary gifts – both cash and gift cards – can sound as rude depending on who heard it. If your family and friends asked you what you want for your birthday, it is always best to tell them what you truly want to receive even if it is a monetary gift. This will not only relieve them from thinking hard about what gift to give you; you as a recipient will also be genuinely happy to receive what you asked for.

However, even if you specifically requested a monetary gift, deciding on whether to go through with that or not depends on the giver. There are times when they would prefer to buy you a specific gift instead of giving you cash or gift cards.

Is it rude to ask for money instead of a gift?

Some people find it very offensive when you tell them you’d appreciate cash gifts instead of presents. I particularly don’t see anything wrong, but that’s just my perspective towards the situation. 

The factors include :

Read The Room Before Making Such Requests

If your friends and loved ones are going through a difficult time, you should not try to be smart about making birthday requests. The best thing to do is allow them to give you whatever their emotions allow. 

If you’ve been trying to have the birthday conversation with them, and the response you’re getting clearly states that they’re not mentally and emotionally equipped to have such discussions, your best move is not to bring it up again. Your birthday should not be the sole reason for having a fallout with a loved one. 

Choose your words carefully

The words you use to convey your message would determine people’s reactions when they receive it. If you send your message with an aggressive tone, people would immediately take offense to it, regardless of how solid your points might be. 

It is best if you consider using simple and straightforward expressions to pass your message across instead of trying to express your literary prowess.

Ask for money in a humble way

Please don’t give the impression that without gifts, they can’t get to be a part of your special day.

One mistake you have to avoid is giving your friends and loved ones the impression that if they don’t provide you with cash gifts on your birthday, they can’t get to be a part of your special day. 

Make it clear that everyone who chooses to be a part of your special day is loved and appreciated for doing so because their presence is what matters to you. Then you could include the cash gift suggestion somewhere that’s not so obvious. 

Everybody doesn’t want to give money

Bear in mind that not everybody would be open to the idea of giving you cash instead of presents. 

Regardless of how well you craft your message, not everyone can be open to the idea of giving cash gifts. Some might find it weird and offensive, while some might be so happy about the fact that they don’t have to worry about what gift to get you for your birthday. 

I prefer cash to presents. It gives me the liberty to buy something I love. Due to this feeling, I’ve cultivated the habit of giving people cash gifts on their special days. It has taken so much pressure off me, and I barely experience gift-induced sleepless nights anymore. 

Sadly, We all can’t be the same no matter how much we try. If you prefer cash instead of gifts, by all means necessary, request it. 

Are Gift Cards considered Monetary Gifts? Is it better than Cash?

Just like cash, gift cards can be considered a monetary gift. The similarity between cash and gift cards is that gift cards can give you the freedom to get something that you need or want. However, unlike cash, people have a better opinion about gift cards as they can be personalized and can come up as ‘less rude‘ when you ask for one on your birthday instead of a regular gift. . Also, gift cards are sometimes more convenient to bring around than cash.

What is the best way to give money as a gift?

Giving money as a birthday gift doesn’t mean that you are not sincere towards the recipient. However, due to that misconception, giving money as a gift can look less personal and may make the recipient feel less important.

There are times when we don’t know what to get as a gift and do not want to get it wrong so we resort to giving money instead. In that case, how will you politely inform the recipient about the reason for you giving them money as a gift?

Let’s say you have to attend a birthday party but you have been too busy that you are unable to get a birthday gift on time. Will you miss the party? Of course, not! There are easy ways to add your personal touch to monetary gifts.

Below are some examples of creative ways to give money as a birthday gift? and how you can show your sincerity while doing so.

  • Balloon in a Box. With this idea, you can fold the paper bills of different values and put them into small balloons. You can then put the balloons in a gift box with a note of what to do – i.e. “Pop the Balloons One by One and You will surely have FUN! XD“.
  • What’s in that Jar? With this idea, you can fold the bills with some colored paper into simple origamis and put them in a jar. You can also fold the bills and wrap them using clean candy wrappers. Make sure to add a ribbon and a handwritten card with it – i.e. “With each origami/candy you undo, your wish will come true“.
  • Money Bouquet. As the name suggests, with this idea, you can have each of the paper bills folded into the shape of a flower (tulip), attach each of them to a stick and shape them into a bundle like a flower bouquet – i.e. “All I hope when I give you this Bouquet, Is that on your special day – you will be happy and gay.”

Note: With these creative ideas on how to give money as a birthday gift, it is best to include a handwritten letter with a heartfelt message with it. Make sure to let the recipient know that you have a reason why you decided to give money as a gift instead.

Instead of just saying that you want them to get what they want with the money, you can instead add a personalized note. If the recipient likes traveling, you can include a note that says, “For your next adventure! Have fun and stay awesome!” You can also add a note about the recipient’s hobby if they have one, “Here’s for your next tea set!“.

No matter what the gift is, be it monetary or just regular gifts, as long as you can show your sincerity about the gift towards the recipient, they will also sincerely thank you.

What to do when you receive money or a gift card as a birthday gift?

First and foremost, show appreciation no matter what gift was given to you – be it monetary or not. Gift-giving has never been obligatory. It has always depended on the giver if they decide to give you a gift or not. However, instead of just saying a simple thank you in person or thru text, you can write a letter or compose an email instead. This will ensure that you appreciated the monetary gift received.


With the steps provided in this article, you can strategically make your cash request without giving your friends and loved ones a wrong impression of you. Before you put any of the steps in motion, ensure you understand the receivers well enough to know what works best. 

Cash and gift cards can be used as a gift, however, we should always look for the best gift options first before using cash or gift cards as gifts.

As a recipient, we also should never let the people we invited feel that they are not welcome to celebrate with us if they can’t provide monetary gifts. Let them feel that, although you prefer monetary gifts for your birthday, you respect whatever it is to give you and appreciate that they are there to celebrate your special day with you. Let them know that their presence itself is enough as a gift.

I hope this article helped you decide what you want for your birthday. Happy Birthday!

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4 Ways To Ask For Money Instead Of Gifts For Birthday
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