Fun with funds
10 creative ways to give cash as a graduation gift
Whether they’re going off to college or shopping for an interview outfit, all grads can use some extra cash. You can make your gift of money more meaningful and memorable by presenting it in one of these unique ways.
With my complimentsCut sheets of blank paper into dollar bill–sized pieces. On each one, write something you like about that person. The messages can be meaningful (“You’ve always been there for me.”), lighthearted (“You have cute shoes!”) or a mix!
Roll those into scrolls and tie them with pieces of thin ribbon. Then do the same with a bunch of dollar bills. Put them in a jar or some other clear container for a gift that will never be forgotten.
This little piggy was fullGive a piggy bank with money already inside! College students are often short on change for laundry and vending machines, so a bank stuffed with quarters can be helpful indeed.
The art of moneyFeeling crafty? Transform your money into a proud peacock or a new-job shirt and tie. Unless you’ve done origami before, you might want to practice with one-dollar bills before trying it with a twenty.
Sweet bootyA lot of banks still distribute dollar coins. They are golden in color, so why not get a bunch of them and mix them up in a bag with gold, foil-covered chocolate coins?
Cash for a bashFor a graduation party, buy balloons in the graduate’s school colors. Roll up the bill, tuck it into one of the balloons, and blow it up. The grad has to pop the balloon to get the gift.
Fan mailFold a bunch of bills accordion-fashion to make them into little fans, and secure them with ribbon. Label a large envelope “Fan Mail,” put the money in, and seal. We recommend hand delivery so the fans don’t get smooshed.
Ice, ice, babyBuy an ice cube tray and fill each square with a folded-up bill. In the card, write: “Thought you could use some cold, hard cash!”
Smart cookieAre you giving money plus another gift? Trim the wrapped package with a cookie cutter, and put the cash or a gift card in an attached envelope that says: “Thought you might like some extra dough!”
Money and memoriesBuy a small, old-fashioned photo album (the kind with plastic sleeves), and fill it with photos of the graduate’s school days. In a few spots throughout the book, tuck in a folded bill instead of a picture.
Spell it outCover a piece of 8x10 scrapbook paper or card stock with cash, folded up as the letters to spell out “CONGRATULATIONS” or “CLASS OF (year).” Add it to a frame without the glass, for easy access. They can add their favorite photo to the frame later when the cash is all gone.
- Place a gift card in a travel mug or water bottle and then fill it up with candies
- Add one inside a mint tin decorated to look like a tiny suitcase
- Make a Jacob’s ladder toy out of lots of gift cards in small spending amounts
- Place one or several gift cards in a dictionary, taped to the pages with the definitions for “graduation,” “congratulations” or “success”
- Add one inside a gift—like a luggage tag, toiletries bag, wallet, or the front pocket of a new shirt
Stacey Donovan has been a writer and editor at Hallmark for more than 20 years. She also writes romance novels (under a pseudonym), and has collected a wealth of obscure knowledge in the process.
Contributions by Casey Ligon and Hallmark editor Jeanne Field.