How to give money as a gift! These creative ways to give money for Christmas, birthdays, and graduations are so much more fun than cash in an envelope.
The gift-giving struggle is real. It feels impossible to think of new ideas for people.
When it comes to Christmas and birthdays, you know that everyone loves to receive a cash gift or gift cards …
… but you need a creative and fun way to present that cold hard cash.
Money stuffed in an envelope is fine, but there are actually a ton of way more unique ways to give money as gifts.
These creative money gift ideas make giving cash so much more fun for you AND the recipient.
So whether you’ve been invited to a birthday or graduation party or bridal shower, or simply want to get inspiration for the best ways to give money as a gift at Christmas, these money present ideas are for you!
There are DIY ideas if you’re kind of crafty, or things you can buy on Amazon to make gifting money as simple as possible.
(We’ll start with a few store-bought, premade ideas you can just buy and use, then cover the DIY ideas.)
Let’s dive into these fun ways to give cash!
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Creative Ways to Give Cash as a Gift
1. Money Pull Out Box
This luxury-looking gift box makes an extra special presentation, and comes with everything you need.
Your gift recipient will be so surprised when they open this beautiful box, then pull out cash when they lift the card.
If you’re looking for a more sophisticated way to present cash, this is it!
2. Double Layer Cake
It’s simple to arrange and set up this double layer ‘cake’ money holder.
Related: 57 Unique Gift Ideas Under $25
3. Cash Stash Cake Surprise
Cake AND cash?! Now that’s a winning combo.
This money holder allows you to hide a roll of money inside a real cake, then watch the receiver’s face light up when they pull out the secret cash stash.
4. Surprise Money Wooden Puzzle
An excellent gift for adults and teenagers, this wooden brainteaser puzzle actually has the surprise of hidden money inside.
Why not make them work a little bit for that cash!
5. Money Maze Puzzle
Since this money maze puzzle comes in a pack of 2, it’s perfect to pick up if you’re looking for multiple cash gift ideas for Christmas.
Neither frustratingly hard nor boringly easy, this maze puzzle game takes an ordinary gift giving experience to a new level of fun.
6. Light Up Money Tree
We gave this light up money tree to my daughter for her birthday gift last year and she absolutely loved it!
Simply attach money and/or gift cards to the tree with the provided clips, and you’re done.
The lights give it a beautiful presentation, and the tree doubles as decor, so it’s the gift that keeps giving.
7. Wooden Letter Piggy Bank
Any child or teenager would love a personalized wooden letter piggy bank with their initial.
Fill it with as much money as you’d like, and maybe they’ll even be excited to add to it instead of spending it!
DIY Money Gift Ideas
8. Money Pizza
This Money Pizza Box is the perfect gift for any pizza lover.
It is entirely made of money so when the celebration is over, the gift recipient has some dough they can spend on whatever they want.
9. Money Notepad
Who wouldn’t LOVE to receive a notepad full of real money?!
Choose whatever denominations you’d like to customize the gift for your budget.
Your gift recipient will truly enjoy tearing off each bill when they’re ready to spend.
Grab a DIY money pad kit to make assembling it so much easier!
Related: 65 Cheap Gift Ideas Under $5
10. Hidden Gum Gift
This punny “I hope your day is filled with excite-mint” play on words hidden gum gift will be such a surprise for the gift opener.
They’ll start off underwhelmed about receiving a pack of gum, only to discover it’s filled with everyone’s favorite gift – cold hard cash!
(It’s up to you whether you want to include the gum, or take it all out. We all have different germ tolerances!)
11. Business Card Holder
This business card holder money gift is super simple, and would work well for so many occasions.
Grab a cute business card holder from Amazon or the dollar store, and put a bill of your choosing in each slot.
For a young kid, maybe $1 in each slot would thrill them. For a teenager or college student, you may want to up the budget to $5 or $10 bills, depending on the number of slots.
12. Emergency Stash
Sure, we may need bandages or burn cream in an emergency-preparedness kit, but what about an emergency stash of money?
You never know what might come up!
This cute money gift idea involves grabbing a cute first aid kit case, then simply filling it with money and whatever else you’d like.
This idea would be perfect for someone taking on a new adventure.
Or maybe for a 16th birthday gift if they’re going to start driving and might need a first aid kit for their car anyway.
14. Money Origami
If you’re looking for creative ways to fold money as a gift, (and have better hand-eye coordination than me), turn your money gift into origami!
Watch a quick tutorial on YouTube, and turn the bills into cute shapes.
You can customize it for the event, like a graduation hat or Christmas gift or tree, or into a shape that’s fitting for the person, like a butterfly.
Here are some money origami shape ideas:
- Graduation gown
- Dollar sign
- Arrow with heart
- Ninja star
- Graduation cap or diploma
- Christmas tree
15. Play-dough Canister
This “I got you some dough” play on words is such a simple DIY idea.
Grab a Play-Doh container, remove the “dough” and place some rolled up dollar bills inside.
This would be such a fun prank gift or graduation gift or present for a kid who just wants to be a grown up.
If you want to take it a step farther, print out some of your own ‘punny’ stickers made in Canva or Word to add to the Play–Doh canister.
16. Money Tree
Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?!
This pretty money topiary tree makes a beautiful presentation, and is actually easier to create then you’d think.
I suggest using single dollar bills, unless you have a large budget, because depending on the size of the styrofoam ball you use, you might be using a lot of bills!
17. Money Gift Ornament
Way more fun than a basic envelope, these personalized money ornaments with hidden cash are super easy to make and definitely fun to receive.
Grab some clear bulb ornaments online or from the craft store, put some money and maybe some shimmery shredded gift filler inside.
Add some twine or ribbon, and maybe even some personalization letter stickers to spell the recipient’s name.
Read next: 25+ Easy DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas
18. Fun Money Gift Box
Turn that trash into treasure with this fun money gift box!
All you’ll need is an empty tissue box, wrapping paper, some fun festive stickers, and of course, money!
Tape the bills together lengthwise, so that they pull out of the tissue box like Kleenex.
I love that this idea is totally customizable for any holiday or event, based on what wrapping paper and stickers you use.
19. Money Balloons
These money balloons are such a simple and fun idea for kids!
Roll up some bills and slide them into the balloon before blowing them up.
Note: If anyone in your home is sensitive to the sound of popping balloons, this might be the idea for you.
To make them extra beautiful, you can even use confetti balloons!
20. Money Lei
For a tropical themed event, or graduation or wedding gift, these money leis are beautiful and definitely well-received!
While a little time consuming, this is actually easier to make than you’d think.
Just turn on your favorite show, and start accordion-ing up dollar bills.
21. Fortune Cookie Money Gift
This project might be a bit labor intensive, but if you enjoy crafting, these “fortune cookies” made from construction paper are SO cute and fun.
I mean, who wouldn’t rather receive money instead of a random message inside their cookie?!
Place the “cookies” in a takeout-box-style gift box with a cute pun on the outside and watch the giftee’s face light up when they see the bills.
22. Money Cake
Perfect for a birthday, wedding, or anytime there’s a cake involved in a celebration, this DIY money ‘cake’ isn’t an edible cake at all!
It’s the gift that keeps on giving – cold hard cash.
This easy DIY money gift does involve using a cutting machine like a Cricut, and six different celebration designs are included in the free tutorial.
23. Fast Food Money
It can be tough to think of creative ways to give money to a teenager or young adults in college.
But this fast food money idea means the gift receiver will have some cash to enjoy their favorite fast food restaurant.
Ask McDonalds for an extra fries box, and roll up some bills to place inside to make money fries!
24. Graduation Shadow Box
This is graduation shadow box such a fun gift idea for the graduate! We all remember being a young adult, and feeling the financial pinch.
All you need is a shadow box, and a way to add “In case of emergency break glass” wording to the front.
(If you have a Cricut machine gathering dust, that’s perfect!)
Fill the inside of the shadow box with bill denominations of your choosing.
Just be sure to let them know that they can actually access the money without actually having to break the glass.
25. Graduation Cap Money Jar
You can make this festive graduation money jar gift from Dollar Tree supplies!
I love that it works for any budget, since you can adjust the denominations and amount of money and use different mason jar sizes.
Plus, it just looks super cool!
26. Bright Future Money Gift
This simple DIY ‘bright future’ money gift is perfect for any high school or college graduate, or just anyone starting something new with a bright future!
Grab a glass light bulb holder online or from the craft store and the free gift tag included in the tutorial, and you can put together this cute gift in minutes.
27. Inside an Empty 2-Liter
No one has ever been so happy to receive a soda bottle as when they realize it’s full of money!
In a clean, empty 2-liter soda bottle, place cash, confetti, sparkly shredded gift filler, and even gift cards or lottery tickets, then add a fun label.
(Maybe a “don’t come up empty” pun is in order!)
Since you’ll be cutting the bottle in half, you’ll have plenty of room to place whatever you’d like inside.
28. Money Gift Basket or Vase
This money vase is the perfect last minute money gift idea.
All you need is a basket, vase, or jar, and some bamboo skewers you have left over from summer shish kabobs.
Attach the bills to the skewers with double-sided sticky tape, and add some tissue paper or shredded filler and maybe a ribbon.
If you’re feeling crafty, turn the bills into flowers and put them in the vase for a money bouquet effect.
Read next: 15 Ways to Be a Better Gift Giver
29. Money for a Rainy Day
This punny ‘money for a rainy day‘ idea is perfect for a shower, graduate, or really anyone else who likes money gifts.
Buy either a cute or inexpensive umbrella, then attach bills at varying lengths to the inside of the umbrella.
When the receiver opens the umbrella, they’ll be so surprised to see all that money for a rainy day!
30. Money Crayons
Any child would go crazy (in a good way) for these money crayons.
They’ll think they’re receiving a coloring book and crayons, but each crayon is actually wrapped with money!
Simply attach the bills to the crayons with tape and slide them back into the box.
31. Cash in a Can
Hide a roll of cash in a clean pop-top can, and then create a tab they can pull out for a swirly twirly effect!
The cash in a can tutorial includes free printable can labels for birthdays and graduates.
Or keep the food label that comes on the can to make it a gag gift!
32. Real Cake with Hidden Money
When I was a kid, my aunt used to hide actual coins in my cousins’ birthday cakes.
That doesn’t seem overly safe from a choking or “germs” standpoint, but it was thrilling to find money while enjoying cake.
If you’re looking for a safe, unique way to hide actual money inside someone’s cake, try this unique method!
33. Money Shirt
Inside a t-shirt box, fold and form cash bills into the shape of a shirt.
You can even use coins as ‘buttons.’
So much better than a regular shirt!
34. Money Explosion Box
Really surprise your gift recipient with this DIY exploding box filled with money!
The reveal moment is priceless.
35. In a Chocolate Box
This is kind of a gift for the giver too.
Pick up your favorite box of chocolates, eat those chocolates, then fold up different denominations of cash and place them in the little chocolate papers.
You’ll get to eat delicious chocolate AND make giving the gift of money a total win-win.
36. Money Salad
Poll: Which do you like more, salads or money?
Tough call, I know. But what about cash made to look like a salad?
This ‘money salad’ idea would be perfect for a bridal shower or housewarming gift, in a gift basket with some kitchen supplies.
Plus, money definitely makes a much more fun gift idea than salad.
37. In a Photo Album
Grab a photo album from the dollar store, or maybe even find a new, empty one on your bookshelf at home.
Instead of pictures, place cash and/or gift cards in each of the photo slots.
Just think of it as a photo album of dead Presidents.
The album might even encourage the gift opener to get some photos printed to fill the album after they spend the money.
38. PayDay Candy Bar
Since we all love puns and candy in equal measure, wrap some cash around a Payday candy bar for an “It’s Payday” themed money gift.
Use a gift tag or label to write out the pun, and you’re done!
39. Stax of Cash
Using a clean canister that formerly held Lays Stax chips, fill it with tissue paper, shredded gift filler, and some money.
Then make a label that says something like “I hope you enjoy your stacks of cash!”
40. Money Wreath
Using a styrofoam wreath form, wrap and pin dollar bills so that it looks like a beautiful green wreath.
Add some ribbon or twine, and maybe a bow for the full wreath effect.
They make such fun Christmas presents!
41. Hidden inside a jar of candy
Grab a mason jar, or clean out a pasta sauce jar, and fill it with the gift recipient’s favorite candy.
They’ll love it before they even realize there’s hidden money inside!
Note: Wrapped candy works best, since the food won’t touch the cash. If you prefer to use loose, unwrapped candy, I’d recommend putting the money in something (like a plastic baggie) inside the jar.
42. In a piggy bank
Set the child on the right saving-money path by including money inside a piggy bank.
It’s the perfect gift idea for kids in elementary school or even younger.
Mix up coins and bills so it makes a fun jingling sound.
43. Cold hard cash
Freeze money in a container full of water for a ‘cold hard cash’ funny gift pun.
Yes, the money will be soggy by the time it melts, but everyone will get a good laugh.
Plus, it teaches patience!
44. Inside a pair of socks
A great gift is equal parts useful and fun, and hiding money in a cute and cozy pair of socks is the perfect way to accomplish both.
Of all the clever ways you can give cash as a gift, this might be the very easiest!
45. Deck of cards
This could make a really easy stocking stuffer, a birthday gift for someone about to go to Vegas, or a good item to include in game night-themed gift baskets.
Hide a couple gift cards or some money inside a deck of cards as a fun surprise.
Just be sure to let them know to look inside the box, in case they never actually want to use the cards!
Read next: 150+ Cheap & Easy Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Ready to try some fun ways to give money as a gift?
I hope this list of the best money gift ideas has given you lots of inspiration for creative ways to give cash for Christmas, birthdays, graduations, weddings, bridal or baby shower, teacher appreciation, or any special occasion.
These funny money gift ideas and creative ways to wrap money as a gift make the gift of cash seem much more thoughtful and unique.
Think how much simpler the holiday season will be when you don’t have to find, buy, and wrap tons of gifts.
It’s a great way to give the best gift of all to your family member, friend, or coworkers while still feeling like you gave a thoughtful gift.
Even though these are crafty, creative ideas, you don’t need to be Martha Stewart to to gift cash in a cute way.
Which of these fun money gift ideas will you try first?
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