We’ve all been there. Sitting on the couch, opening a gift box with another sweater or kitchen gadget we don’t need. Yes, it’s the thought that counts.
But there’s something we really do need: money. Massive wads of cash to pay off the student loan balance that’s hanging over our head like a rain cloud (or an anvil).
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can stop getting sweaters you don’t like and start getting dollars toward your student loans.
With the launch of Your Village, it’s just a matter of asking for what you need.
Ask for money instead of gifts
Honest question here: how many gifts have you received and then donated to Goodwill? Or regifted? Or threw away? Or (if you’re like me) shoved in a box for 8-10 years until you had a panic attack about how much random crap you had and then took to Goodwill?
10? 20? 50?
What if every one of those gifts had been a contribution to your student loans instead?
Count it up. Would you have paid an extra $500? An extra $1000? $5000?
It’s staggering when you really think about it. A pile of things you don’t need. Or the freedom of paying off your student loans.
Which would you choose?
And here’s the thing: the people who love you don’t want to give you things you don’t want. They’re trying their best, and they don’t realize there’s a better way.
Honestly, there hasn’t been a better way. It didn’t occur to anyone that they could give you money for your student loans. How would it even work?
They’d give you a hundred dollar bill in a birthday card. You’d deposit it in your checking account, then have to call your lender to change your auto payment for that month. I mean, who wants to go through all that?
And that sucks because money to pay off your student loans faster is actually a brilliant gift. After all, isn’t a gift supposed to be something that makes you happy? That makes your life better?
Yes, yes it is.
Which is why we created Your Village — so you can send your loved ones a link, and they can contribute to your student loans as easily as they could buy you a kombucha maker (that you would later donate) on Amazon.
So ask for what you want. You’ll be doing the people who love you a favor.
Is it tacky to ask for money?
But wait! Isn’t it tacky to ask for money?
You know what’s making you worry about that? Old, outdated rules. Rules that don’t work in 2022. Don’t make a fuss. Go along to get along. Pay your dues to get ahead.
We live in a world with a lot of broken systems, including student loans. There’s no way every borrower in the United States (all 37 million of them) can put their nose to the grindstone, work hard, and pay those loans back by themselves.
We can’t follow the rules of yesterday and expect to move forward today.
So is it tacky to ask someone to replace their gift idea with money for your student loans?
Your great-grandmother might think so. We think it’s smart, resourceful, and just the right level of bold to get us through the student loan crisis.
How to ask for money instead of gifts
Most of us have been socialized under some old-fashioned norms, so being direct and asking for something specific might feel uncomfortable at first.
Remember that you’re talking to someone who cares for you and wants to give you a gift that will improve your life. With that in mind, it’s pretty straightforward:
- Tell them how your student loans are impacting you — whether that’s emotionally or financially.
- Ask that instead of giving you a tangible gift, they contribute instead to your Your Village account. Explain that even small gifts can add up to large savings because of compounding interest.
- Email or text the link to your Your Village account.
- Send a heartfelt thank you.
You might be talking to your mom about your upcoming birthday. Maybe you’re sharing the link with your spouse before your anniversary (there’s nothing more romantic than financial freedom).
Perhaps you email everyone in your family’s holiday gift exchange. You could even add Your Village to your wedding registry. Companies like Honeyfund have already laid the groundwork, popularizing the idea that newlyweds often need money more than they need stuff.
No one is going to rescue us from the student loan crisis. But you can grow the community of people that will help you move through it. And one day soon, you’ll have the financial freedom to contribute to someone else’s village.
Contributed by Katie Taylor.