3 Simple Ways on How to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts for Birthday

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So, your birthday is coming up, and you’re happy about the upcoming party, but not so much with imagining all those gifts you’ll get? Maybe you realized you have everything you need, and that you’ll be getting the stuff you won’t use at all. Well, perhaps it’s time to change things this year and begin a new chapter. If you would rather get money instead of gifts for your birthday, you should say so. We understand that might seem difficult, but don’t worry, we are here to help. With our 3 simple ways on how to ask for money instead of gifts for birthday, you’ll do it in a breeze.

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Simple Ways on How to Ask for Money Instead of Gifts for Birthday

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Ask Politely

The best and maybe the most intimidating way to ask for money instead of gifts is to ask directly. Yes, you’re supposed to say the words and ask for money. No, it won’t sound rude if you ask politely, especially when asking friends and family. You should be honest and tell them you would prefer money over gifts for your birthday. Tell them what you want to do or buy with the money. They’ll understand, and some of them might even feel relieved. Most people have difficulties buying gifts year after year. You giving them an alternative might be stress relieving. Either way, you shouldn’t be ashamed to make a birthday gift request as long as you’re not greedy, and you do it politely.

Invitation Cards

One of the best ways to ask for money instead of gifts is through invitation cards. It’s a polite way to ask, yet you don’t have to do it personally. Get some elegantly designed birthday invitation cards and fill them in by hand. Make sure to express how happy you are to invite a particular person, a couple, etc. to your party. Then politely let them know you would rather skip the gift-giving part. The presence of your guests is what matters the most. Still, if they want to bring something, you would appreciate a small cash gift, so you can use it for a particular thing (you should name the thing on which you’re planning to spend the money). Here are a few examples:

  • Please note that gifts are not required. If you would like to give one, I would appreciate a cash gift to help me spend a long-awaited holiday in Hawaii.
  • The most important thing is to have you with me on a special day. And, if you want to give something, some pennies would mean a lot.
  • Your presence is all I need for the day. But if you want to give something, you can make a little donation to help me decorate my very first apartment.

Also, if you want to ask for gift cards rather than money, you can take a look at our article about How to Ask for Gift Cards on a Birthday Invitation. It should give you more ideas and some useful tips.

Start a New Custom

Have you ever considered that some of your friends, coworkers, or family members would also prefer giving and receiving money instead of gifts? Most people are too ashamed to ask or say anything at all, so they just do what the group does. If that’s the case, you need to be brave enough to launch an idea, and you’ll start a new custom of gift-giving. Even if other people haven’t thought about it, they’ll most likely find it’s an excellent idea. In big groups, people have difficulties finding gifts for other members. Not all of them are close enough to know what to get, and most of them don’t like games like Secret Santa. To avoid all these things and awkward situations, giving gift cards or money instead of gifts is a perfect alternative. Our advice here is to talk to your friends, family members, or coworkers and present the idea for a new tradition. If you don’t feel like talking about it with all of them, start with a friend or two and ask them for opinion. If they agree, you can present the idea together. Now, make sure this starts with your birthday to avoid changing other people’s plans because some might not agree with your idea.

Things to Remember When Asking for Money Instead of Gifts

Let the Guests Know How You’ll Spend the Money

First and foremost, tell the guests where will you spend the money. You want to avoid: 1) being rude with not telling where their money will end up 2) making them believe you’ll spend it recklessly 3) making them think you don’t like their gifts in general You don’t even have to talk about the topic, only include a subtle hint on an invitation card, and that’s it.

Ask for Gift Cards

Consider asking for gift cards instead of money. Some people might feel more comfortable with knowing where their money will go. On the other hand, you get to spend money in your favorite store, restaurant, etc.

Let Some People Give you the Actual Gifts

Yes, you would rather have the money, but keep in mind that some people are not comfortable with giving money instead of gifts. They might get confused over how much to give or feel they don’t have enough to be polite. Whatever the reason, some people are more comfortable with giving gifts, and you should allow for that option.

Don’t Be Greedy

You know this one already, but we have to mention it. Be modest with all gift types, whether it’s cash or experiences. Let your guests know that you would appreciate any donation, however big or small. Don’t be greedy and keep in mind that people are giving hard-earned money for your birthday.

Ideas on What to do When Receiving Money Instead of Gifts

If you came here searching for the best way on how to ask for money instead of gifts for birthday, you probably already know how to spend it. Still, some people might have difficulties deciding on a particular thing, as there are a lot of things you can buy or do. For that reason, we have listed a few things for you to consider when searching for gifts.


Crowdfunding is quite a popular thing these days. It’s pretty simple yet convenient for the host and the community. A host organizes a 50/50 party, and guests are to bring a certain amount of money, from which one half goes to the charity and the other one to the host. Isn’t it convenient? A host gets to buy whatever he or she wants and also do something good. The money can go anywhere, from helping groups of people to helping animals. Wherever it goes, it will be well spent, and make some lives better.

A Special Thing

Most people have difficulties answering the question on What To Buy When You Have Everything. Well, it’s perfectly understandable. If you do have a lot of stuff or don’t need anything at the moment, receiving numerous gifts for your birthday can be inconvenient. You might end up with a bunch of things you’ll never use. That’s why you should ask for money or gift cards, and use it for other things. For example, you should consider getting a unique and useful gift for yourself. With the help of your guests, you can even get a very special thing you never wanted to spend money on before (high-end tech gadgets, home appliances, decorative stuff, etc.).


If you enjoy experiences way more than physical gifts, you should let people know that. The information might be quite helpful for people that don’t know you so well. For example, your coworkers might spend days figuring out what to give you for your birthday because they don’t know you outside the work. If somebody tells them that they can all save some money to send you on the desired trip, they might be thrilled with the idea. That would save them a lot of time and effort. Of course, you can say that yourself or you can spread the word around the office. Let people know what you prefer when it comes to birthday presents. In the end, if you feel comfortable with talking sincerely to your friends, family, and other people in your life, ask for experiences directly. It shouldn’t be too hard, but if you need some guidance, you can take a look at our article on 5 ways for How to Ask for Experiences Instead of Gifts.

Most Common Questions

We noticed that people generally have a lot of questions regarding the entire money-instead-of-gifts thing. Hence, we tried to answer a few of them to help you with some extra guidance.

Is it rude to ask for gift cards for a birthday party?

No, it’s not rude to ask for gift cards for a birthday party or any other occasion. You should only make sure to deliver the right message to the guests. Be honest about why you need the money, but also be polite, and let the guests know you’re okay with a limited budget. You don’t want to sound greedy or make someone feel uncomfortable because he or she doesn’t have enough to meet your requirements. Let your guests know that you’re happy to have them over, regardless of the gifts. If they can help you with a small amount of money, that would be great, but you’re not setting up the budget, and you’ll be happy with any help they can provide. P.S. If you need more information about gift cards, you can follow our article What to Say When Giving a Gift Card. We wrote it for those who are giving a card, but we also included some general info about gift cards that might be useful for the receiver too.

What should I avoid when wording for monetary gifts only?

You probably know this already, but we have to mention it just in case. Avoid strong phrases and statements when writing invitation cards. Although it’s not rude to ask for money instead of gifts, it might look that way if you don’t get the wording right. Here are some things you should avoid when writing invitation cards:

  • We receive only cash gifts
  • No regular gifts, just cash
  • Keep in mind that we prefer cash gifts
  • Come without gifts or with gift cards

As you can see, these statements do sound rude, and you’ll want to avoid them. Your main goal is to let your guests know why you prefer money instead of gifts (e.g. for building a new home, for charity, etc). This way, you can be sure that there won’t be any misunderstandings, and you most certainly won’t sound rude.

How to ask for money instead of gifts for the wedding?

All the tips we gave you on how to ask for money instead of gifts for birthday also applies for other occasions, including weddings. The weddings might even be easier, as nowadays most people expect giving money rather than gifts for the event. Still, if you feel uncomfortable with it, follow our directions on writing invitation cards, and you’ll be just fine. You can also follow our article about 3 Cute Ways to Ask for Money as a Wedding Gift. It should give you even more ideas about the topic.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ll find our suggestions useful and that you’ll be able to use them for your upcoming birthday party. All of our tips are based on thorough research, so you don’t have to worry you’ll do something wrong. Be honest about your needs and wishes, make sure to properly present them, and you won’t be misinterpreted. Oh, and keep our list of ideas on how to ask for money instead of gifts for birthday close by when writing cards. It will make things way easier!





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