We’ve all been there. Sitting on the couch, opening a gift box with another sweater or a kitchen gadget we don’t need. Of course, the thought is lovely. And don’t get me wrong, we’re so appreciative.

At the same time, there’s something we do really need: money. For many of us, that’s money to pay off the student loan balance that hangs over our head like a rain cloud (or an anvil).

Here’s the thing. The people who love you and give you gifts may actually be able to help with your student loan debt — and in a pretty easy way.

With the launch of Your Village, it may just be a matter of asking for what you need.

How to ask for money instead of gifts

Some people feel very attached to their gift-giving. They thought of the perfect gift for you six months ago, and they’ve been anxiously waiting for your birthday to give it to you. Their face while you open it could be a poster for the phrase “it’s better to give than receive.”

That’s awesome. How nice to have someone who’s thinking about you and what you might like.

Someone who loves giving gifts and always has plenty of ideas may be resistant to a gift of money — even if it’s for something like your student loans. They love the thrill of the gift hunt. And if that’s the case, let it go and enjoy their love of gifting.

Of course, there’s always that other situation: your mom gives you a new pair of pajama pants every year for your birthday. Very nice except that now you have approximately seventeen pairs of pajama pants, and they won’t all fit in your dresser.

Or your brother can never think of what to get you and always agonizes over trying to find something you’d like. Sometimes he’s right on target. Other times, not so much. (Though you did have the perfect person to re-gift that kombucha-making kit to.)

Your mom and your brother might really appreciate learning that what would bring you the most joy this year is making some progress on your student loans.

Or hey — maybe you have one of those families that just asks, “What do you want for your birthday this year?” or puts a check in an envelope. In which case, jackpot. Send them the link to Your Village, and you’re both set.

See: How to Ask your Employer for a Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program

Is it tacky to ask for a specific gift?

Every family has their own gifting etiquette. If everything in the section above made you cringe, then maybe yours is one of those families that’s a little close-lipped about money and gift-giving.

Perhaps in your family it’s considered presumptuous to talk about what you might want as a gift — even if you know that person is going to give you a present.

There are certain situations where we’ve come to a general societal agreement that asking for gifts is allowed — marriage and babies and when you’re a little kid. But for everything else? Many of us have held onto a certain type of propriety that leads us to say things like, “Oh, you didn’t have to get me anything,” even if we 100% knew they were going to get us something and had three wishes for what it might be.

So being direct and asking for something specific might feel a little uncomfortable at first.

In all likelihood, you’re going to ask people that you already know are planning to give you a gift. So you might start with letting them know that you’ve loved and appreciated all the gifts they’ve given you in the past.

Talk to them (or write) about how your student loans are impacting you — whether that’s emotionally or financially.

Then ask that whatever money they would’ve spent on a physical gift, they contribute instead to your Your Village account. And here’s a super important part: let them know that small monetary gifts are super helpful.

Some people may feel anxious that you’ll know exactly how much they spent on your gift. Or they may feel that whatever they have to offer won’t be meaningful against your large loan balance. Explain to them that because of compounding interest, even small reductions to your balance add up to larger benefits over time.

You may even want to point them to a calculator that shows the impact of a single lump sum payment on your balance over time. (And perhaps they’ll decide to make these contributions every year.)

See: Student Loan Anxiety: How it Impacts Your Mental Health and Your Relationships

When should you ask for money for your student loans?

Only you know the gifting protocols among your loved ones. Some friend groups never give each other gifts — others shell out big bucks for Christmas, Hanukkah, and birthdays.

The right time to ask for money for your student loans instead of your gifts is whenever you know someone is going to be showing up with a present. That could mean talking to your mom about your upcoming birthday. It could mean talking to your spouse about your anniversary. It could mean emailing everyone in your family’s holiday gift exchange. It could even mean adding Your Village to your wedding registry. Companies like Honeyfund have already laid the groundwork, popularizing the idea that it’s okay to give money instead of gifts to newlyweds.

Most importantly, once you see that someone who loves you has put money toward your student loans, don’t forget to send a really nice thank you card.

Contributed by Katie Taylor.