40 Clever Ways to Give Money as a Gift


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Money is a perfect gift for most occasions, and there are few people who may dislike receiving extra cash they can use as they please.

Even if you know the person you're sending money to will appreciate the gift, you might feel like sending them a card with cash or a check can be a little boring. Perhaps you're interested in more creative or clever ways to give money.

Our Top Picks for Giving Money in Clever Ways

Creative Ways to Give Money to a Child or Teenager

Fun Ways to Give Money as a Gift

Creative Ways to Give Money as a Christmas or Holiday Present

Creative Ways to Give Money for a Birthday or Another Special Occasion

Creative Ways to Donate Money for a Special Cause

Creative Ways to Give Money for a Graduation

Creative Ways to Give Money Online

Creative Ways to Give Money for Father's or Mother's Day

Jump ahead to these sections:

If so, keep reading ahead. We've got tips on numerous creative ways to give money, helping you turn a common gift or donation into something a little more special.

Creative Ways to Give Money to a Child or Teenager

There are plenty of reasons to give a kid or teen money as a gift. Consider adding a creative spin to the gift with these ideas.

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1. Give a "diploma"

This is an ideal and creative way to give money to a recent grad. Roll up cash or a check like a diploma, and tie a ribbon around it. Sure, it's simple, but it fits the occasion.

2. Bring home a "special treat"

This is a cute and creative way to give money to a younger child. Bring home their favorite fast food treat and surprise them by hiding money in the box or bag, along with the food.

You'll need to place the money in a small plastic bag and tape it to the inside top of the box or side of the bag to keep it from touching the food, but this can be a fun trick to brighten a child's day.

3. Tape it to the dashboard

This creative way to give money is perfect for a teen celebrating getting their driver's license. When they head out for their first unsupervised drive, surprise them by taping cash or a check to the dashboard.

4. Stuff it in a report card envelope

Some schools mail final report cards, and some parents check them before their kids even know they arrived.

Maybe you're that type of parent. Maybe you're also very proud of your kid's grades. Reward them by resealing the report card envelope and pretending you haven't opened it yet. A kid dreading to see their grades will love to find cash (along with a "great job!") message when they open it.

5. Dress up

One of the cutest creative ways to give money to a small child is to do so dressed as one of their favorite characters. What kid wouldn't want to receive a gift from a favorite cartoon hero?

Fun Ways to Give Money as a Gift

All people, from romantic partners to old friends, enjoy receiving money as a gift. They'll enjoy it even more if you give them money in one of these creative ways.

6. Hide it in a candy jar

Cheer someone up with a glass jar filled with their favorite candy. Bury a small plastic bag with money inside to sweeten the surprise!

7. Trick them

This is a creative way to give money to someone who shares your sneaky sense of humor. Mail someone money, but use an envelope with an official-looking message that reads "URGENT: OPEN IMMEDIATELY."

This ensures they'll open the gift as soon as they receive it, while also giving them a harmless little scare.

8. Give money "tissues"

Looking for a get-well gift idea? Send someone a tissue box containing cash instead of actual tissues. (You could even include an adorable tissue box holder like this one.)

9. Ask for "help"

Show a loved one you appreciate the ways they support you in your daily life by asking them to "help" with a chore, hiding money accordingly.

For instance, maybe your partner is taller than you, and you rely on them to help you grab items from high cabinets. You could hide money with a "Thank You" message in one of those items.

10. Pack their wallet or bag

If your relationship with a partner or loved one is trusting enough that you know they'd have no qualms with you going into their wallet or purse, pack it full of money when they're not around.

Use small bills so you can include enough cash that they'll notice it.

Creative Ways to Give Money as a Christmas or Holiday Present

Holidays offer the perfect chance to give money in creative and festive ways. Consider these examples!

11. Stocking stuffers

This creative way to give money as a Christmas gift may seem a little weird to some, but to others, it's a perfect gag. Surprise a loved one with a twist on the traditional stocking stuffer idea by stuffing a pair of socks you know they plan on wearing soon with some cash.

12. Pick a tree

Consider this idea if you like to turn gifts into arts and crafts projects. Design a diorama that resembles a lot where someone would purchase a Christmas tree, with dollar bills folded into triangles and propped up to look like trees. You could also stick dollar bills into foam tree cones, like these.

13. Hang ornaments

If you typically ask a loved one to help you hang ornaments during the holidays, fill a clear one with a removable top with cash, and write their name on it.

Place it in the bag or box where you usually keep your ornaments, choosing a spot where you're sure they won't miss it.

14. Plan an Easter egg hunt

Easter is another fun time to give gifts for some. Bring out an adult loved one's inner child by filling plastic Easter eggs with cash and sending them on a surprise Easter egg hunt around the house.

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15. Wrap holiday bonuses in small boxes

Many companies give all employees small holiday bonuses in the form of gift cards. Surprise your employees by wrapping these bonuses in small boxes.

Creative Ways to Give Money for a Birthday or Another Special Occasion 

A good occasion to give money is also a good occasion to be creative. These ideas can help.

16. Give a "boring" gift

Play a harmless prank on a young person's birthday by giving them a "boring" gift, such as a pair of socks, with money hidden inside.

17. Show sympathy with a picture

Giving money on an occasion that's "special" for sad reasons can be difficult. You might wonder what the right funeral gift money amount is, or if you should even include money in a sympathy card.

That said, if you know someone who lost a loved one would appreciate the gesture, send them a framed picture of the loved one among family and friends, and tie a small envelope with money inside on top of the picture, positioning it near someone's arms or hands so it looks like they're presenting it as a gift.

18. Fill up some balloons

This is another fun and creative way to give money during a birthday celebration. Most party stores carry perfectly clear balloons you can fill with confetti.

Add in some cash and challenge the birthday-haver to pop them and collect their "winnings."

19. Cheer them up at work

Do you know someone who has to report to a retail or hospitality job on a special day, whether it's their birthday, Mother's Day, or any similar occasion?

Cheer them up by stopping by and making a purchase. When it comes time to pay, hand them a gift card first, instead of your actual debit or credit card. Just make sure you actually pay for your purchase too!

20. Add some fun to a meal

Serving someone breakfast in bed or simply making their favorite meal is a common way to celebrate a special occasion.

When the meal is over, deliver the "check" as if they were at a restaurant, surprising them with money or a gift card instead of a bill for the meal.

Creative Ways to Donate Money for a Special Cause

Whether you're making a memorial donation or simply donating to a cause that's important to you, it never hurts to donate in a creative manner. The following are some ways you can do so.

Tip: If you want to donate funds in the name of someone who has passed away, consider creating an online memorial page with fundraising. Cake's online memorial pages are easy to use, free, and complete with the fundraising capabilities you need.

21. Donate in someone's name

Making a donation in the name of someone who either would have strongly supported a cause is a fun way to make a basic donation more creative.

22. Put on a show

If you're a talented performer, or you know people who are, raise even more money for a donation by organizing a variety show and donating all the money from ticket sales.

23. Play trivia

Jeopardy! often broadcasts special episodes featuring celebrities donating their winnings to charities, with the amount of money donated based on their performance in the game.

Put a twist on this by deciding on an amount of money to donate to a cause ahead of time, then host a trivia night, with the plan to donate 50 percent of the sum in the name of the winning team, 25 percent in the name of the second-place team, etc. This can help spread awareness.

24. Declutter

Inspire your loved ones or friends to give to charity (and declutter their homes) with a spring cleaning challenge.

When they're cleaning their homes, they should identify items they no longer need, selling them online and donating the proceeds.

25. Organize a charity backyard BBQ

Plan a simpler version of the charity dinners popular among the rich and famous by hosting a backyard BBQ with a box or jar where guests can deposit money to donate to a cause.

You may want to encourage everyone to make a donation to place their money in envelopes, so no guests feel ashamed of not donating as much as others. Or you could use a donation box that's not see-through, like this one

Creative Ways to Give Money for a Graduation

Money is a traditional graduation gift. Creative ways to give money to a recent grad include the following:

26. Cash in a savings bond

OK, you'll have to prepare very far in advance for this one, but purchasing a savings bond for a child and cashing it in when they graduate from high school or college is an idea worth considering if you're a parent or relative of a young child.

27. Pay for student loans

This idea is a lot more expensive than others. However, if you can justify the cost, you could surprise a recent graduate by letting them know you'll pay off some of their student loans for a year (or any other length of time).

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28. Open an investment account

If you believe a recent grad is mature and wise enough to use an investment account responsibly, and if you have the money to do so, open an account for them and deposit a certain amount of money in it. This gesture will also signal to a grad that you have enough respect for them to trust them with an investment account.

29. Give money in a popular book

A popular gift for recent graduates is Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. While a grad may appreciate the gesture if you were to give them this gift, they also might not have much practical use for a children's book. Surprise them by taping a check or cash to the inside of the front cover.

30. Give rent money

A recent graduate may be looking for an apartment of their own. Help them out by giving them money to pay for their first month's rent and/or security deposit. Again, the amount of money you give in this case will depend on how much you can afford. You may want to begin setting aside money in advance if you're considering this idea.

Creative Ways to Give Money Online

You don't have to see someone in person to give them money as a gift. The following creative ways to give money online are ideas worth considering if you live far from someone you're sending money to:

31. Give an online gift card

A gift card doesn't need to be a physical item. Many online retailers, such as Amazon, allow customers to purchase digital gift cards. This is a simple way to give money online that's also more eco-friendly than mailing an actual gift card.

32. Send money through a service such as PayPal or Venmo

Creative ways to give money online can be simple. Instead of overcomplicating the process of giving someone a gift, surprise them by sending them money through PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, or any other service of that nature that you know they use.

33. Give credit on an app store

App stores typically allow customers to give credit to other customers. This is similar to a digital gift card. Consider giving money in this way if you know someone who loves purchasing apps.

34. Give an eCard

Digital greeting cards, or eCards, serve the same purpose as traditional greeting cards. The only difference is that you send them via email. They may also be animated. Consider sending one for a special occasion, along with some form of money, such as a digital gift card or an online money transfer.

35. Set up a GoFundMe

Do you know someone who's in need of money but is perhaps not the type to ask others for it? If so, you could set up a GoFundMe page for them, contributing some money to it yourself to get them started. Then, share the page with others on social media and through email to attract more donations.

Creative Ways to Give Money for Father's or Mother's Day

Giving money is one way to show a parent you appreciate them on Father's or Mother's Day. These creative ways to give money are ideas to keep in mind:

36. Give a bouquet with cash in it

A bouquet of flowers is a popular Mother's Day gift. You could add a little twist to this common gift idea by also placing cash bills between the flowers in the bouquet. Just make sure theyre noticeable and that you've inserted them in such a way that they're unlikely to fall out!

37. Give a "chocolate" box

A box of chocolates is another popular gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day. You can use one to give money by emptying out a chocolate box (make sure to save the chocolates themselves, though!) and filling it with cash. You can then give Mom or Dad the chocolates in another container.

38. Surprise them with a novelty check

If you're visiting a parent for Mother's or Father's Day, when you arrive at their home, surprise them by acting as if you're giving them a large novelty check because they won a competition for being the best mom or dad around. Of course, be sure to give them an actual check as well!

39. Make a "cash tie"

A tie may be a popular Father's Day gift, but it can also be a somewhat boring and predictable one. Spice it up by wrapping cash bills around a tie and taping them so that they don't fall off. There are various guides on how to do this online.

40. Give memories and money

To give money in a genuine and heartfelt way, create a book with cash bills taped to the pages. Beneath the cash on each page, write something like "This is for…" mentioning a happy memory that involved Mom or Dad being there for you in some way.

Creative Ways to Give Money: Ideas Worth Keeping in Mind

Giving money as a gift or donation is rarely a bad idea. If you're tired of putting cash in a card or handing it over discreetly, hopefully these tips will simply help you do so more creatively. 


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