Quit your endless searches on Amazon and toss away useless stocking stuffers. What that broke post-grad child, family member, or friend in your life really wants is the most useful gift of all: money.
When you have a recent college graduate in your life who is struggling to manage his or her money, money gifts are usually the way to go. Especially if they’re having difficulty with month-to-month budgeting.
But you don’t have to just hand them over a check or an envelope of dollar bills. Here are 10 creative money gift ideas sure to win over just about any young adult strapped with student loans.
Holiday money gift ideas
1. Financial literacy motivation
One of the biggest issues with money management is simply a knowledge gap.
Perhaps your gift recipient is struggling to learn financial terms. Or maybe they don’t know much about debt repayment or retirement savings. Having a good literary resource handy could be immensely helpful to them.
Earlier this year we laid out our top books and publications for recent college grads. This list is a great place to start looking for some money gift ideas.
But if your grad is more focused on debt payment, consider checking out Melanie Lockert’s Dear Debt: A Story About Breaking Up With Debt. There’s plenty of info in there that will have them nodding their heads and setting financial goals in no time.
2. Advanced piggy banks
You really can’t go wrong with giving out piggy banks to help people save money.
However, you can make a few custom versions on your own. Or, treat vintage lovers to an antique, collectible version of a piggy bank.
And if you’d rather encourage them to save for specific goals, you could go for a more adult piggy bank. For instance, the Money Savvy Pig has dividers within the piggy bank for saving, spending, donating, and investing.
For those a little bit more ambitious with saving their pennies there are also electronic coin counters. They calculate how much money you have in a piggy bank at any given time
3. Head start on retirement
Starting with an entry-level salary or having to pay back student loans doesn’t give many recent grads the ability to really save money for the future.
But there is a creative way to give them money while encouraging them to save for retirement. You could open a Roth IRA on their behalf.
To qualify, the gift recipient must have made some income in the past year and have a modified adjusted gross income of under $120,000 per year.
Once the Roth IRA is set up, you can make a contribution up to the amount they made or the maximum cap of $5,500.
What’s more, the gift receiver can withdraw early for education expenses. Or, even take out up to $10,000 for a down payment towards a new home.
4. Professional financial help
While you may feel that you have all the answers, personal and professional financial help is the gift that keeps on giving.
Today, financial advisors go through rigorous training and certification and are often specialized. For example, you may be able to find a pro that only works with millennials. Or, one who helps those who are just starting out on investing.
While a sit-down meeting with a certified financial planner may not be the most fun ways to give money, it will allow them to get the answers they need.
Just be sure to find a financial advisor that is fee-based rather than commission-based.
5. Year of money organizing
You can add money gifts to your stocking stuffers by giving out financial planner books.
Just like a day planner, a financial planner focuses on budgeting, spending, and money goal setting.
The Super Fab Financial Planner by money expert Tonya Rapley is both stylish and practical. It offers strategies for tracking bills and built in debt repayment plans.
6. Shiny new resume
So a resume may not exactly be a money gift, per say. But, it will help them reach that salary potential, or get an edge over other recent grads out on the job hunt.
Today, career advisors and resume builders specialize in customizing resumes, portfolios, and cover letters. All in an effort to match the job seeker’s career goals with positions available.
A typical resume building or consultation appointment can run anywhere from $50 to nearly a thousand. It all depends on the resumes complexity and the person’s needs.
Take the time to shop around. And remember, quality of service and customer testimonials matter when searching for the right company.
7. Debt repayment
One of the best and most creative ways to give money is not to give it directly to the person at all. Instead, give it to his or her debtor.
Perhaps there are some small bills you can help pay for those on a budget. These could include paying for a Netflix account, phone bill, or the remainder of a small loan.
There is nothing more amazing than seeing a $0 balance. Or receiving a “your debt is paid in full” letter in a nicely wrapped gift box.
However, it is important to remember that money gifts of substantial amounts, such as student loan debt repayments, do have some tax implications for you in terms of gift tax. Review all rules and restrictions before proceeding.
8. Cold hard cash
Still, there is absolutely nothing better than the color green during the holidays. And there are so many fun ways to give money out there.
You could fold cash into fun origami shapes or create a calendar with money and coins attached to certain days. You could even hide money in fun places around the house and create a scavenger hunt.
Creative ways to give money with a lesson
No matter what kind of creative way you give money, recent grads will appreciate it. In fact, it could be the help or even guidance they need to get on the right financial track.
Whether you give a wad of cash or help out on a debt payment, these top money gift ideas may help you give exactly what your post-grad wants during this holiday season.
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