10 creative ways to give cash as a graduation gift

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.

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1. With my compliments  

Creative ways to give cash: money scrolls

Cut 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.

2. Cash for a bash  

For 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.

3. This little piggy was full  

Creative ways to give cash: stuffed piggy bank

Give 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.

4. Ice, ice, baby  

Buy 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!”

5. The art of money  

Creative ways to give cash: origami

Feeling 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.

6. Spell it out  

Cover a piece of 8×10 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.

7. Smart cookie  

Creative ways to give cash: smart cookie

Are 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!”

8. Sweet booty  

A 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?

9. Fan mail  

Creative ways to give cash: fan mail

Fold 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.

10. Money and memories  

Buy 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.

Bonus Video: DIY Money Lei  

In Hawaii, people give leis to celebrate lots of different occasions—and for graduation and weddings, money leis are favorites. Our Hallmark photo stylist provides step-by-step instructions for making your own, and personalizing it with school colors.

  • Credits:
  • Contributions by Casey Ligon and Hallmark editor Jeanne Field.

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.