Gift giving of the financial sort can be a sensitive subject. You certainly don’t want to offend the recipient by insulting their intelligence or making them feel ashamed for the financial situation.
However, chances are your friend or loved one confided in you about their debt, so when approached with the proper spirit, one of the following gifts should be well-received.
1. Offer to make a one-time monthly payment
People who are saddled with a lot of debt are probably living paycheck to paycheck each month. Whether its a mortgage payment, student loan, auto loan or a credit card debt, offering to cover at least a month’s minimum amount due will give the recipient a little breathing room.
2. Give a copy of your favorite personal finance book
I received Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book as a gift some years ago and it provided my family a lot of motivation to become debt free.
3. Offer to pay the first month of financial/credit counseling
Many people often find themselves in situations where they need to seek the consultation of a financial expert, or a credit counselor, to help them get back on their feet. These services often come with a cost and that cost often deters more people from seeking help.
4. Pay off the balance of smallest credit card
If you are familiar with the debt snowball method of debt repayment you know that retiring that first debt is key to getting the snowball rolling.
5. Paid-for Vacation
Being under the pressure of thousands of dollars of debt causes a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights. Your friend or loved one in debt is probably long overdue for a vacation.
6. Pay a monthly utility bill
Outside of common debt payments like auto loans, student loans or credit card bills, many people find themselves financially strapped because of rent, cell phone bills or utility payments. Offer to pay someone’s electricity bill or rent for a month to give them a little breathing room.
Cash can be spent everywhere, unlike store gift cards. It can also be used to add to savings or pay down debt, should the recipient decide to do so.
Again, these gift ideas should be given with a strong degree of sincerity, and from a position of wanting to offer help. To lessen the chances of this becoming an expectation all year around, I recommend offering something like, “We obviously can’t help every month. This is just a little something we wanted to do for you around the holidays.”