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Money gifts don’t have to be boring. How to make them fun!

Inside: 13 ideas you can DIY to make giving cash money gifts hilariously fun!

Grandpa has everything. The teens just want cash. The long distance family says “just mail us gift cards”.

Your heart sinks every time they ask for boring basic gift cards or cash.

Handing over a cash-filled greeting card feels more like a bank transaction than a heart-swelling gift giving experience. They know what they're getting. There's no secret surprise inside.

What if you could give everyone what they want but still have fun giving a thoughtful, clever gift? A gift that makes you the best auntie/mom/daughter on the planet?

Tall graphic with money gift ideas

These 100% brand new, creative ways to give cash and gift cards are just the ticket to bring laugh-inducing surprise to your next money gift.

While many of these ideas look Christmas-y, they'll work for these gift giving occasions too:

  • birthdays
  • graduation
  • bar mitvah or bat mitvah
  • quinceanera
  • new home
  • new job
  • wedding or bridal shower
  • baby shower

This post contains affiliate links. That means when you click I might get a bonus from the seller at no additional cost to you. It's really cool!

Creative ways to give gift cards

1. Make a gift card “brick”

diy gift card brick

This stack of gift cards is the perfect gift idea for a college-age kid who just wants gift cards and cash.

Load 10 gift cards with 5 to $20 each. Here are some ideas:

  • Gas card. Typically these come in increments of $25 and you can pick them up at the gas station, Staples or Best Buy. If you get them at Best Buy you can also get rewards points for your purchase. 
  • Fast food gift cards. Load with a minimum of $5 each on your next trip through their favorite drive thru.
  • Restaurant gift cards. During the holidays you can earn free gift cards when purchasing a certain dollar amount in gift cards at restaurants like IHOP and Chili's. Buy gift cards before your meal, earn the free one, use the gift cards you bought to pay for your meal. Use the free gift card for your brick!

supplies to make gift card brick: gift cards, zip ties, and pliers

Here's how to put the brick together:

  1. Stack the gift cards.
  2. Then weave zip ties (like these) together around the cards and tighten with pliers.
  3. Snip the long ends of the zip ties off with scissors or wire cutters.

2. Decoy coin rolls

rolling cash around roll of dimes to put inside empty roll of pennies

supplies to make decoy coin rolls money gift idea

A roll of pennies is 50 cents. Trick them into thinking they're only getting 50 cents with this crazy decoy gift idea.

You'll need:

  • Roll of dimes
  • Empty roll for pennies
  • $20 dollar bill (or more)

Do this:

  1. Roll the cash tightly around the roll of dimes.
  2. Slip this roll into the empty penny roll and close.
  3. Wrap and give.

The kids are gonna die when they think you only gave them 50 cents!

coin rolls wrapped as candies money gift idea

Wrap the coin rolls like candies for stocking stuffers. You can also wrap extra cash money around the rolls for an added surprise!

3. Money Ziptied Mug

$100 bill ziptied around a Starbucks cylinder metal coffee travel mug

supplies for coffee mug money gift idea

Stuffing a mug full of cash is cute. But wrapping the mug in cash and securing it in place with 72 zip-ties is devilishy hilarious!

Make them work for the cash by snipping all those zip-ties:

  1. Get a tall travel coffee mug or tall metal water bottle
  2. Wrap the cash around the mug
  3. Secure in place with colorful zip-ties like these

4. Cute Drink Cup with money rolled inside

drink cup with money rolled inside

supplies for money hidden in drink cup cash gift idea

A nice drink cup or water bottle is a sweet gift. But when they open it up to reveal a roll of cash inside, their huge smile is a gift you'll both enjoy!

Here's how:

  1. Start by taping dollar bills end to end.
  2. Then roll them up in a tube.
  3. Insert the money roll into the cup and replace the lid.

Get even more tricky by attaching the first bill in the roll to the inside of the lid so the cash roll spills out when they open it!

5. A “Full” Piggy Bank

girl surprised by weight of small gift

piggy bank with coins

A beautiful or fun piggy bank is a great gift. But don't start them off empty-handed.

Add rolled coins inside the piggy bank and wrap. The weight of the gift will fool them!! And with the coins already rolled, they can choose to cash them in now or use them to start their piggy fortune.

6. Gift Card Key Ring

keychain with gift cards

supplies to make gift card keyring gift idea

Take the gift of a cool key ring beyond basic by adding gift cards to it!

You'll need:

  • A cute keychain – these cactus ones are so cute! And you get a BUNCH for a low price
  • Gift cards
  • Heavy duty hole punch
  • Short piece of ball chain (optional)

Do this:

  1. Load gift cards with as little as $5.
  2. Punch a hole in the corner of each one, making sure not to damage the stripe or punch through the bar code.
  3. Thread the cards into the key ring or attach to the key chain with ball chain, and wrap.

This makes a great stocking stuffer!

7. “Green” Saran Wrap Ball Game

saran wrap ball game wrapped like giant candy

Play the saran wrap ball game … but in an eco-friendly way with this DIY gift ball! Every single part of this plastic-free “gift ball” is useful. 

Wrap it like a big candy to throw them off the scent of it being a “saran wrap” ball.

It's a win for the gift giver and win for the environment! Get the how-to: Eco-Friendly Saran Wrap Ball Game

8. “Surprise Inside”

boy surprised at Cracker Jacks box with hidden cash gift inside supplies for cracker jack box gift idea

Here's how:

  • Place cash in a zip top baggie
  • Stuff inside a box of Cracker Jacks
  • Seal it back up
  • Add a cute gift tag and done

Last minute? Snag free printable gift tags here!

9. Cash Wreath Idea

boy laughing holding wreath with money on it

wreath with money on it

Give a “decoration” that's really a gift! You'll need a wreath, cash or gift cards, and clothespins. Find a colorful wreath like the one I used at a dollar store … or these are even better! You can use full-size clothespins or make it even cuter with adorable mini clothespins like these!

Choose a wreath in a color that matches the celebration:

  • White for wedding
  • Pink or yellow for birthday
  • Pastels for new baby
  • Team colors for sports fan
  • School colors for graduation
  • Red or green for Christmas

Here's how:

  1. Fold the bills in half
  2. Secure on the wreath with the clothespins.
  3. Do the same with gift cards

10. Nested boxes with a surprise inside

nested boxes with money inside

This one is simple but oh so fun! This set of nested boxes tricks the eye because they are so small.


Here's how make this cash gift idea:

  1. Get a $100 bill. Fold it in half two or three times
  2. Roll the $100 bill as tight and small as possible and place it in the smallest box
  3. Wrap the small box. Nest it in the next largest box. Wrap that box
  4. Repeat until all of the boxes have been used

Make some popcorn so you can snack while the giftee takes forever to open this gift.

11. I got you a Can of Cash!


money hidden in canned food wrapper

supplies to make money gift idea with canned food

Got a college student on your list? Try this trick with their favorite canned food!

  1. Cut off the label from the canned food
  2. Roll money around the can
  3. Replace the label and wrap as a gift

This is a clever way to give them money that they won't expect because of the weight of the can. I thought it would  be funny to do this with dog food but my husband said that would be messed up. (To be honest, I still think it would be hilarious!)

12. Baseball Cards with an extra “Card”

supplies to hide money gift in pack of baseball cards

Sports or Pokemon, you can do this trick with either!

  1. Slit the back of the card pack open with a craft knife
  2. Slip the money inside
  3. Seal with clear plastic tape

This craft knife works best, giving you more control so you won't accidentally damage the cards.

13. Snowman Mason Jar with Candies

mason jar snowman

supplies to make mason jar snowman with candy and gift card inside

Decorate a mason jar to look like a snowman, using gloves a hat! Add a gift card inside, nestled under their favorite candies. They can wear the gloves too!

Didn't find what you were looking for? Here's more:

Surprise and delight each person with a different unique idea that they will never expect! Belly laughs are a bonus.

For even more creative ways to give gift cards and cash, check out these posts:

About the Author

Author Profile

Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. I love these ideas! My partner’s brother clearly wanted money as an engagement present, but we didn’t just want to slip a note into a card, so we got a photo frame and decorated it with the words “in case of wedding, break glass” and put the note behind the glass! It was actually my partner’s idea (and I thought *I* was the creative one!) and I loved it instantly! I think they did, too ☺️

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