Whether you're sending congratulations or birthday cards, a greeting card is always an appropriate way to send a heartfelt message. However, what goes inside that card can be a challenge. While it may be appropriate to send money for a graduation or to say "happy birthday" with some cash, determining the amount to include in the card can be a difficult decision. Follow this guide for determining how much money you should send with your next greeting card:
'Tis the season for graduation. Now that summer is beginning, many graduates will be tossing their caps in the air, which means you'll probably have your fair share of graduation parties to attend. Middle school, high school and college are the typical levels at which graduation merits a celebration.
Though graduating middle school is an exciting time for the new freshman, the transition isn't big enough to warrant a major money gift. They are likely still under the care and financial umbrella of their parents, so money shouldn't be their major concern. Consider giving a gift between $10 or $20 in the graduation card. However, you may even want to skip the money altogether and opt for helpful school supplies or a gift card of the same value.
High school is next in line. Make College Count suggests friends and distant relatives give anywhere from $15 to $100 for a high school graduate. This gap is pretty big, but staying within its confines will help you make the decision. Plus, if you give only a small amount now, maybe you can send them a thinking of you card down the road with some extra pizza money. They'll appreciate the thoughtfulness when they're far away from family and living on their own for the first time.
College graduation is the biggest transition of all. However, the new graduate is likely to start making a regular salary soon, and the loans won't seem so hard to pay off. Stick to the same money-gift guidelines as high school graduation, and write some life advice in the greeting card. After all, your wisdom is priceless!
Birthdays don't typically have a standard for how much to give – it's really determined by how close you are with the birthday boy or girl. Use what's going on in their lives as a means to making the decision. For example, a 5 year old would probably prefer a new toy over a $20 bill. On the other hand, a sweet 16 may warrant some extra cash. Not only are these teens excited about finally getting their licenses, but between gas and insurance, there are a lot of expenses that come with driving a car. As a general rule, make sure the amount falls in your own comfort zone.
Luckily for wedding guests, the couple typically sends out a registry to guide you through the gift-giving dilemma. However, this isn't always helpful when all that's left to buy is a simple set of wooden spoons for the kitchen or a flat screen TV that's well out of your price range. According to the 2013 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey, guests spend an average of $108 on the wedding gift. So, if you're all out of options on the registry, consider using this average amount as a guide.
While a greeting card is the go-to option for saying congratulations or happy birthday, a monetary gift is a typical custom, too.