25 Super Creative Ways to Give Money as a Gift This Year
Picture this: you’re crossing people off your gift list this holiday season without having to search for proper sizes or favorite colors. Sometimes, it pays to gift your loved ones some cold, hard cash. But the act of giving money doesn’t have to be as cold as the cash is — there are plenty of tricks to making the gift of money fun and personal.
Instead of stuffing cash into cards and envelopes, you can try something artsy, funny, or practical this year. (Who wouldn’t want to receive a pizza box full of dollar bills?) Ahead, find plenty of out-of-the-box ways to style cash as a present this year, so you can give the gift that’s always in style: money.
1. Photo Acrylic Tumbler
There are two reasons I’m thinking of buying this photo tumbler for myself and lining it with cash. One, seeing cash keeps me focused on work. Two, cute tumblers and bottles remind me to drink water constantly. I might get this for all my friends who work from home and need accountability partners, but don’t have them.
Buy: Photo Acrylic Tumbler, $12.99 from Amazon
2. Personalized Cash Box
Get the name of your recipient engraved on this personalized cash box. The little safe comes in four designs — butterflies, cupcakes, flowers, and ladybugs — and offers a slot on the top for inserting coins and folded-up dollar bills. The box, complete with a carrying handle, features two locks: one with key operation as well as a combination lock, so your kiddo can learn the ropes of twisting and turning to the right combo.
Buy: Personalized Cash Box, $24.99 ($17.49 on sale) from Personalization Mall
3. Chocolate Box of Money
Replacing candy with currency is a totally unexpected way to receive money. Life as a Mom suggests either getting a candy box and paper candy liners from the store, or reusing a candy box. The key, especially if you’re dealing with shake-the-box-to-see-what’s-inside types, is to include coins by sticking them to the candy liners with foam stickies.
4. Money Maze
Teenagers and young adults will love this money maze. It’s a fun conversation piece and it’s a smart way to help combat impulse buying. All you do is put the money in and lock it. Then to retrieve the money, you just guide the metal ball to the hole by turning the maze in different directions. This would’ve come in handy when I was in college, spending so much money at the snack and cold drink machines.
Buy: Money Maze, $7.99 from Amazon
5. Coin Counting Jar
Years ago I had a similar coin counting jar, but there was no way to subtract from the total when I took money out. This coin counting jar includes a minus button for that reason. Kids can choose to simply watch their money literally add up, or they can work toward a goal for buying something.
Buy: Coin Counting Jar, $11.99 from Amazon
6. Money Pizza
Redhead Can Decorate explains on her site how she made a money pizza for her son Vic’s 17th birthday. First, she got a free pizza box from her neighborhood pizzeria, then used $55 total on the slices of “pepperoni pizza,” which included dollars rolled loosely as crust, laid flat as slices, with quarters for pepperoni.
7. Laugh & Learn Learning Piggy Bank
Ten large, colorful plastic “coins” come with this pink piggy bank that teaches colors, numbers, animals, and songs to babies from six to 36 months. Real money can go in this bank, of course, but it should be removed for safety before the little piggy is given to a baby.
Buy: Laugh & Learn Learning Piggy Bank, $16.99 from Buy Buy Baby
8. Personal ATM
Perfect for the middle school set, this ATM has its own debit card to use for transactions. The machine automatically recognizes coins, and paper money can be added by inserting it in the slot and entering the dollar bill amounts on the keypad. Sure, it’s smart to get young people their own actual debit cards, but it’s fun to save cash in a machine like this.
Buy: Personal ATM, $62.99 from Amazon
9. Super Money Shooter
Maybe it’s a Taurus thing, but nothing excites me more than seeing money on the ground. Look at that money, just waiting for me! Getting stacks of ones from the bank to fill this money shooter, then blasting money everywhere could make for a memorable holiday. No matter the weather, you can always make it rain.
Buy: Super Money Shooter, $21.99 from Amazon
10. Book Safe
The kid (or kid at heart) in your life will love the security of this gift for one reason: nobody needs to consult a dictionary anymore. That’s what smartphones are for, right? This money safe comes disguised as an ordinary dictionary and offers a three-digit lock for extra protection. Stuff it with dollar bills for your giftee, and then watch them stick it on the bookshelf, safe and sound.
Buy: Book Safe, $16.95 ($13.99 on sale) from Amazon
11. Giantsuper Smart Piggy Trio Bank
I love anything that makes being a wise and kind human easier. This bank is divided into three sections: one for spending, one for sharing, one for saving. Kids can get introduced to philanthropy and financial planning this way, and adults can stay on track to avoid giving too much or saving too little.
Buy: Giantsuper Smart Piggy Trio Bank, $24.99 ($20 on sale) from Amazon
12. Fortune Cookie
A crisp dollar bill is one thing, but a stack of dollar bills folded into a fortune cookie? That’s an awesome gift. This suggestion from Project Denneler points to the numerous YouTube tutorials out there for folding cash into cookies. Plus, receiving fortune cookies made out of money is way more financially sound than playing the lottery numbers on the backs of real fortune cookie slips, right?
13. Money-Wrapped Crayons
Imagine how surprised kids will be when they open a crayon box and find each crayon is wrapped in a dollar bill. Es La Moda shows how easy this is on their page—all it takes is a little tape to attach the dollar to the crayon, and another piece to lightly secure the dollar after rolling. Masking tape or painter’s tape would be best for this since it comes off easily.
14. Money-Filled Balloons
Experience ’80s kids game show magic by sticking paper money in balloons, blowing them up, and popping them. The Balloon Time website suggests cutting the plastic spout from a gallon jug, then wrapping a balloon around it to make inserting things easier. Where was Balloon Time when I was hurting my fingers, sticking confetti in balloons in 2006?
15. Money Butterfly
Pretty money butterflies are easy enough for a kid to make and are a nice way to use money as decoration. Homemade Gifts Made Easy has a step-by-step photo tutorial of how this is done, including a link to a video tutorial for those who need extra guidance.
16. Money Ring
In New Orleans, we pin dollars on ourselves to celebrate birthdays. Even if you see a stranger with a dollar pinned to them, you add to it. I’ve even heard people in public mention it was their birthday, noticed they were empty-lapeled, and quickly set them up with a dollar and whatever bobby pin or snapping hair clip I found in my purse. And people still wish you a happy birthday when they see it, even if they don’t have cash on hand. A money ring (or another type of money jewelry) is a real statement piece — and a guaranteed way to get the guest of honor lots of congratulations from others. Learn how to make them on Style Baggage.
17. Money in Case of Emergency
There are some things I’ve always wanted to do that I haven’t and likely will never. Getting into a taxi and yelling, “Driver! Follow that car!” is one. Breaking glass in case of emergency is — thankfully — another. A “break glass in case of emergency” gift is perfect to bring to a housewarming, bridal shower, college sendoff, or bon voyage party. Landeelu shares how easy it is to make, on her blog.
18. Money Matchbox
My best friend Erica and I used to spend time reading greeting cards at different stores. A money holder we saw at the Hallmark store once said “Put in freezer first.” The front of the card read “For a cool kid…” and the inside read “HERE’S SOME COOL CASH.” That was (mumble mumble) years ago, but we still laugh about it. If the recipient loves similarly cheesy jokes, try giving them a kitchen matchbox full of money to burn. See instructions on Style Baggage.
19. Money Umbrella
A little something for a rainy day is another great gift that friends won’t see coming. Sunburst Gifts explains how to do this on their blog. Make sure to tell your recipient to open the umbrella when they get it so that they find out what’s inside.
20. DIY Money Tree
Many believe that by displaying money in the home, more money will come. (It’s me, I firmly believe that.) A money tree is a perfect way to attract abundance, and it makes a great gift for any occasion. Lorie Witkop has a money tree design tutorial on Love to Know.
21. Electric Coin Sorter
This coin sorter is not for the faint of heart. Described as a “heavy-duty” electric coin sorter, this money machine can count up to 400 coins. A screen on top of the sorter shows the dollar amount of the coins inside, while the body of the thing does the work of sorting quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies into wrappers.
Buy: Heavy Duty Electronic Coin Sorter, $119.99 from Sharper Image
22. Coin Treasure Chest
This money-themed gift is unique in that it doesn’t require you to place money in it: the wooden treasure chest comes already stocked with 51 rare coins. Coins of all kinds are included, and some date back decades. The cool part is that no two chests are alike, so your giftee will receive a one-of-a-kind present.
Buy: Treasure Chest of 51 Historic Coins, $69.99 from Sharper Image
23. Money Bouquet
Flowers are pretty, but they also have a tendency to wilt. Do you know what keeps its luster? A bouquet of cash roses. You’ll need five to seven bills for each bud, as Feltmagnet diagrams, but this DIY will have anyone swooning over green flowers in no time.
24. Everlasting Flower
Or, if you’d like to include a real flower in the gifting process, why not splurge on an option that will last upwards of a year (really!) This keepsake by Venus et Fleur includes five everlasting roses in the color of your choice, plus an acrylic box you can fill with bills before gifting the blooms.
Buy: Le Clair Cinq Eternity Roses, $189.00 from Venus et Fleur
25. Money Bookmark
This gift couldn’t be simpler, or a better fit for a bookworm in your life. Simply place one or more crisp bills between the pages of a book you’d like to gift (bonus points if it’s money-related!), whether that’s at random, at key scenes, or at the start of each chapter. Your recipient will have more than one reason to keep turning the pages.