Thursday, December 30, 2010

What to do with Gift Money?

What do you do with money you’ve received as a gift?  I always hate the idea of it being mixed in with everything else and just being part of my everyday spending.  Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me.

When  our parents give us money as a gift, they tell us to use it where we need it most.  But what if where we need it most is making a payment on a credit card?  That doesn’t seem right to me either.  Someone else shouldn’t have to put their money towards the hole I dug all by myself.

Sometimes when we receive money, it’s towards a specific thing.  Last year we asked all the grandparents to help us pay for the activities the kids wanted to do when we travelled to Drumheller.  Shawn and I paid for gas and tenting, and we paid for all the attractions and mementos the kids wanted with money that was given to them at Christmas.  We’ve also been given money and told “ I know you’ve been wanting to paint that room ( or buy that light fixture,or whatever project) so here is some money to help you out with that”.

This year, the kids were given money from grandparents, and we’ll use that towards paying for an activity.  Then we can tell the giver that “ we used to money you gave them to pay for swimming lessons” and that person knows what we used it for.  I like being able to share with them what we used the gift for.

Sometimes, when I don’t have a good idea for the money yet, I just put it in our savings and think about what would be good to use it on.  This year at Christmas, Shawn and I received a sum that was large to us and totally surprised and astounded us.  So We have the happy job of deciding what to do with it.  We decided that we would use some of it to get us to our $1000 which we are saving first following the Dave Ramsey plan.  We were getting pretty close, and finally getting there is a great gift.  Some of it will be put aside to re-paint our house in the spring.  This was another job we knew we needed to do but weren’t sure we’d get enough saved.  Not having to worry about that is a great gift, and I will do a few extras that I might not have been able to if we were scraping together just enough.  I can’t wait to get rid of the hideous yellow glass 70’s light fixtures on the front of our house, and now thanks to the Christmas gift, I will do that when we re-paint.  After that, I think there are still a few dollars left, and they will set in our savings account, marked so they don’t get mixed in, to await a special project.

What do you do when you receive money as a gift?  Do you make sure you use it on something special, set it aside?

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