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25+ Clever Graduation Money Gift Ideas to Surprise Anyone

In this article: Graduation Money Gift Ideas the graduate will love! The coolest ways to give graduation money, gift cards, and cash gifts, all in one place

Walking across that stage, palms sweaty with excitement, was one of the best days of my life. I did it! I survived five years in college as a single mom, graduating with 2, yes TWO, Bachelor’s degrees.

I was sure my life was going to be incredible after this!

I didn't anticipate what happened next. It took 9 months for me land a job offer after college. Boy, was I thankful for those money gifts I received on graduation day.

Chocolates Box Money Gift

Why Cash is the Most Popular Graduation Gift Idea

Graduation gifts are a way to celebrate and honor the huge accomplishment of finishing a challenging program of studying and learning. Money gifts can help the grad make the transition from school life to career so it makes sense that cash is the most popular graduation gift.

The National Retail Federation says cash will be the most popular gift this year, given by 55 percent of those surveyed. The goal of giving cash is to help students with the costly transition:

  • from high school to college, or
  • from college to the “real world”

The next most popular gifts, after cash, are:

  • greeting cards (many of them with cash inside): 43%
  • gift cards: 32%
  • apparel: 14%
  • electronics: 10%

It’s not just mom and dad or the grandparents giving graduation gifts.

“One growing trend we have noticed year over year is the fact that peers continue to give gifts to each other,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Most prefer to give cash, along with the quintessential graduation gift card, to celebrate the new grad.”

Piles of cash and greeting cards with money inside are typical graduation gift ideas. But what if you could make giving money even better?

Check out the ideas we've rounded up below.

Luckily, I found over 25 exciting ways to give cash to the grad. Grandma, friend, cousin, or mama, you can find a smart money gift idea to surprise and delight everyone at the graduation party, including the grad!

Graduation Money Gift Card Holders

Let's face it, nothing will make a graduate happier than a gift card, right? These DIY graduation gift card holders will help you give gift cards in a clever, unexpected way.

Heck, some of these gift card ideas can even be useful to the grad in their new life, even after they remove the gift card!

Graduation Money Gift Card Holders Collage

Looking for even more ideas? Check out these 120 creative ways to give cash or gift cards!

Unique Graduation Money Gift Idea

If your grad loves the unexpected, try these unique gift ideas you can DIY:

Unique Graduation Money Gift Ideas Collage
gift card brick made with zip ties

Find even more clever money gift ideas, like this gift card and zip tie brick, here: 13 Funny Ways to Give Money Gifts

Graduation Money Cake

Better than a diaper cake, and maybe better than a real cake, a money cake is a clever centerpiece and graduation cash gift all in one.

Try these 6 ways to make a graduation money cake:

Graduation Money Cake Ideas Collage
college girl laughing at bread pun money gift with Xzibit printable

Love puns? Grab these free money gift printables to make your grad crack up as they open their cash gift!

Creative Ways To Gift Cash For Graduation

Maybe money doesn't grow on trees but it does on a money lei or wreath!

Fold all that cash into one of these creative money gift ideas:

Creative Ways To Gift Cash For Graduation Collage

BONUS: make this gorgeous money lei using faux flowers!

I hope it takes less than 9 months for your grad to make the transition to the next part of their life. Your cash gift can help them bridge that gap and celebrate their achievement. You might as well have a little fun with it!

Which one of these creative cash gift ideas will you give your grad?

Love these ideas? SAVE this post by pinning this image to Pinterest:

Collage of clever cash gift ideas for graduation

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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