Gift Registries: Do You Really Just Want Cash?

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

These days, it seems that more and more people are looking for cash gifts, rather than relying on physical gifts. It’s not really a surprise these days. After all, when you have cash, it’s possible to buy whatever you want. When you receive a physical gift, you can try to return it, but if you can’t return it, you are stuck.

Cash is the most versatile of gifts. Plus, it can provide the means for the recipient to put it toward a bigger goal.

Cash Gift Registeries

One of the growing trends to accommodate these opportunities for recipients to ask for cash is the rise of the cash gift registry. These registries are designed to allow recipients to ask for help reaching a goal. One giver might not be able to provide all of the funds for a $2,000 honeymoon, or $15,000 for a down payment on a house. However, if several people contribute, there is a good chance that the combined efforts can help the recipients get that much closer a little bit faster.

Cash gift registries work much the same as other, more traditional gift registries. The recipients share what they hope to buy — whether it’s an expensive new bedroom set or a college education for a new baby — and givers can log on and make a contribution. Often, these registries allow the giver to specify an amount they are willing to pay. Then, it’s possible to pay with credit card, echeck, and sometimes even a third-party payment processor like PayPal.

Even if the total amount isn’t reached, the cash received from such an effort can substantially help the recipients toward their goals.

Do We Need Traditional Gift Registries Anymore?

One of the reasons that cash gift registries are growing in popularity is that many recipients don’t have a need of traditional registries. After all, the marriage is older now. In the past registries let others see what items were needed to outfit a home. Now, though, many couples already have what they need — or even duplicates as they combine households.

The same is true of baby gift registries. Many parents have money to purchase the basics, rather than needing help from friends and relatives to purchase basic items. A cash gift registry would allow parents to ask for help when paying for more expensive items, or even encourage givers to help contribute to a college fund for the future, rather than something fleeting for the moment.

The use of cash gift registries is one that has generated some controversy, however. Some givers find the idea tacky (although not quite as tacky as just asking for cash outright). The idea of providing an actual physical gift is one that is still strong in our collective psyche. Perhaps, though, the rise of social giving, and different opportunities to use social media to accomplish financial goals will change the tenor of the conversation.

What do you think? Do you think that cash registries are a step in the right direction? Or do you think that it just encourages more materialism and grants more status to money?

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