colorful box that says "Congrats Grad" with dollar bills all around it

These are the best ways to give cash to graduates – over 25 creative ideas to spice up your graduation money gift!

With graduation season nearing, you may be wondering how to give a cash gift to a soon-to-be high school or college graduate that’s a little more creative than simply handing over a card.

Well, we’re here to show you that graduation money gifts don’t have to be boring – they can be incredibly unique, fun, and even, well, funny!

We’ve rounded up 27 super unique ways to gift money for graduation that are bound to surprise and delight your graduate – and provide them with a little extra disposable income to start them off on the right foot for their next adventure.

Scroll through these clever graduation money gift ideas to find one that inspires you.

But not to worry – if you don’t find the perfect one here, head over to Creative Money Gift Ideas. 75 Fun Ways to Give Money For All Occasions. for even more clever ways to give the gift of money!

PIN for when you need some clever money gift ideas for a graduate:

Money Gift Ideas for Graduation

Whether the graduate uses the money to decorate their new dorm room, or put it towards paying off their student loans, the extra cash is sure to be appreciated – and with these creative graduation money gift ideas, it’s bound to be remembered as well!

(1) Graduation Money Cake: This eye-catching cash-lined centerpiece will be appreciated much more than your traditional cake on graduation day. All you need to create this “cake” made of money are some tiered Styrofoam layers, some crisp dollar bills, and some pretty ribbon to secure the money in place. And if you’re feeling extra crafty, add a graduation-themed cake topper, too! (via Y’all Come In The Doors Open)

(2) Origami Butterfly Money Lei: To make this stunning Butterfly Graduation Money Lei, all you need to do is accordion pleat your dollar bills according to this tutorial and then cinch in the center with a thin ribbon or floral wire. These are so cute laying on the cake table, added to balloons, or adorned on a traditional flower lei for the grad to wear! (via Sugar & Charm)

(3) Cash in a Can: Any old can will work for this clever graduation money gift idea, as long as it’s clean! Simply tape your dollar bills together from end to end and roll them up loosely. Make a message out of cardstock that says “PULL!”, and attach to the end of the bills. Place the bills in the can with the pull tab sticking out of the top. Cover the top with curled ribbon so no one can see inside! When the graduate pulls, the money will start rolling out! (via It’s Always Autumn)

(4) Graduation Money Cap: Whether your grad wears it, or use it as décor, this Graduation Money Cap is a super userful gift. There are a few ways to make one, but taping your dollar bills over cardboard is probably the easiest. Attach a “button” on top to hold a ribbon tassel and finish with a bill dangling from the tassel, too! (via Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss)

(5) Money Grad Badge: We love this wearable money gift idea that involves accordion pleating your bills. Then grab some pretty cardstock and the ribbon of your choosing. Once you construct the pieces with a glue gun, simply add a pin to the back for the grad to wear! (via Passionate Penny Pincher)

(6) Graduation Cards: Send words of encouragement with your graduation monetary gift by creating a beautiful personalized card with these lovely free printables. Add some rolled up dollar bills to look like a diploma and stick to the card with glue dots. It’s the perfect graduation gift for any friend or family member. (via Skip to My Lou)

(7) Graduation Tissue Box Printable: Need a cute way to gift money creatively? Check out these colorful printables to dress up any old tissue box. Tape dollar bills end-to-end and watch the grad smile as they pull them out! (via A Girl & A Glue Gun)

(8) Diploma Money Jar: This has got to be one of the cutest graduation money gifts out there! We love this idea that uses a mason jar to hold multiple rolled up dollar bills tied with string to look like little diplomas. Then create a “cap” from construction paper, complete with a tassel cord. Any graduate would appreciate this thoughtfully crafted money gift. (via No Biggie)

(9) Light Bulb Cash Holder: This is such a simple yet creative idea for gifting cash. Fill an empty crafting lightbulb with cash and create a tag that says, “your future is looking bright!” (via Happy Mothering). If you’re not into DIY, you can buy these cute Lightbulb Cash Holders on Etsy!

(10) Money/Gift Card Wreath: Put your money on display with this fun DIY money wreath idea. Use small clothes pins to secure your dollar bills and gift cards to a simple cardboard wreath. You could even add some ribbons, bling, or their favorite small candies to fill it in. The grad will love this great gift with such a personal touch. (via Savannah Smiled)

(11) Money & Candy Lei: Your grad will surely stand out on their big day with this graduation lei, full of candy and money! Cinch dollar bills and secure them around a ribbon necklace to look like bows. Then add another layer of fun with assorted candy bars! (via Leigh Anne Wilkes)

(12) Graduate Money Chain: Let the new grad show off their gift by wearing it! This creative money chain necklace involves folding dollar bills and taping them together in a chain-like fashion (tip: make sure to give additional length to fit easily over their head!). Secure with a money “medallion” with a congratulations message on the front. (via Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss)

(13) Graduation Cap Card: Make a clever money envelope card in the shape of a graduation cap with this fun idea. Add cutout words on the top of the “hat” so that when the money is inside, it will peak through. You can also add a tassel from the top center to make it look more authentic. (via HGTV)

(14) Congrats Money Wreath: Here is another wreath idea that is just as adorable as it is useful! Simply snag a wreath form, then roll up little dollar diplomas with string closures. Attach via glue dots and voila – fabulous and functional. (via Crazy Little Projects)

(15) “Here’s Some Dough” Money Pizza Box: This idea is a deliciously funny way to surprise the graduate. Make them think they’re getting pizza delivery, but record their look of surprise when they open a box full of money instead! Snag a clean pizza box and arrange with as much money as you’d like; use crisp dollar bills and place in a circle. You can even create pepperonis out of red colored paper and quarters! (via Simplistically Living)

(16) Money Tie: This money gifting idea gets an A+ for presentation! Create a tie out of your dollar bills and pair it with a well-folded dress shirt (make sure to get the grad’s size so they can actually wear it!) and arrange inside a well-wrapped shirt box. This practical gift will certainly keep everyone talking about the creativity involved! (via My Weekly Pinspiration)

(17) Exploding Money Box: Opening up a gift box is even more exciting when it “explodes” – especially when it explodes with money! Check out this tutorial on how to set up your box and tape the layers with rolled up dollar bills. Make sure you add an encouraging messages for the new graduate. (via Rivera CraftsCo)

(18) Mini Money Pinata: You’re never too old to partake in a pinata smashing! Whether you’re actually playing the game or just gifting it this time, a mini pinata is a fun way to give cash. Stuff it with folded dollar bills, candy, confetti, and good luck messages. (via Fun Squared)

(19) “Because Adulting is Hard” Money Envelope: Give cash to your grad straight and simple – in an envelope. But not just any envelope! This “adulting is hard” message is funny and to the point, and hopefully the grad will remember to save it for a time in need and not spend it all at once! (via DIYInspiredInc)

(20) Graduation Cheddar: Prank the grad and hand them a packet of cheese. We love this cute printable idea that is essentially an envelope to hold your money and looks like a pack of cheddar cheese. Check out their reaction before they realize it says “graduation cheddar” on the front of the package! (via Ashaty)

(21) Soda Bottle Full of Money: Unique graduation gifts won’t soon be forgotten. Save a 2-liter soda bottle for this one because the outcome is worth a fun gift for the grad! You’ll need to cut it down a bit, tape, and cover with a graduation message. Fill the bottom with colorful crinkle paper and add your money bills on top. Then watch as the recent grad struggles to figure out how to get out the cash! (via It’s Written on the Wall)

(22) “To Help Build Your Castle”: If you’ve got a college graduate, it’s likely time for them to head out into the real world and find a place of their own. This idea for gifting money is one of the most unique. Start their new home fund off in a great way with a bucket full of sand, a shovel, and dollar bills sticking up out of the sand. Add a cardstock message on the front that says, “to help build your castle”. Such a clever idea! (source unknown)

(23) Money Wreath: You will need a Styrofoam wreath to create this thoughtful money gift. Make sure to check the width of your wreath so the bills fit all the way around it; if not, you may need to cut the wreath in half to make it thinner. Then simply pin the ends of the bills around the wreath and adorn with a cardstock message. (via Sugar Bee Crafts)

(24) Origami Money Grad Caps: If you’re into origami, then you won’t want to miss this super fun money gift idea. Create little graduation caps out of your dollar bills and add colorful string tassels to each. They make for adorable garlands hanging from helium balloons at any graduation party! (via Sugar & Charm)

(25) In Case of Emergency, Break Glass: This creative graduation money gift idea is the perfect present, even if you’re not the crafty type. Simply purchase a picture frame (you’ll probably need an 8” x 10” frame to have extra white space) and print out a piece of paper to fit the frame that says, “In case of emergency, break glass”. Tape that cold hard cash in the center. Such a clever idea and we love that the picture frame can be reused! (via Sendomatic)

(26) Graduation Money Card Box: Anyone can gift money in a gift box, but making your own adds to the gift-giving experience! Check out this step-by-step tutorial for a folding pizza box that you can stash your cash gift in. We especially love the inside message: “You can’t live on pizza, so here’s some dough!” Any grad will surely appreciate the sentiment…and the extra money! (via Tatertots & Jello)

(27) Money Tree Gift Holder: Not a crafty gift-giver? Don’t worry. There are products out there that can still help you gift money creatively. This little light-up tree has clips to which you can easily attach dollar bills and gift cards. The graduate can also use it as a picture frame holder long after the money is gone.

(28) Origami Money Fortune Cookie: This truly unique origami idea will have the grad and guests raving! Fold up dollar bills in the shape of fortune cookies and add small slips of paper with a customized graduation-themed fortune inside. Place a few inside a Chinese to-go box and hand the grad the take-out box of their dreams! (via Project Denneler)

We hope you’ve enjoyed this creative roundup of cash-giving graduation gift ideas – they’re the perfect gift for high school graduates or college graduates alike.

 Let us know which of these fun ways to give money for graduation you’ll be using at your next grad party!

RELATED: And remember, if you want to see some additional money gift ideas, head to Creative Money Gift Ideas. 75 Fun Ways to Give Money For All Occasions.

Jill C

Jill C

Jill is a Creative Director at a marketing agency who also runs her blog, Kentucky Makeup Junkie. She lives in Northern Kentucky with her ten-year-old daughter, six-year-old son, and firefighter husband. She’s a beauty fanatic, fashion lover, and Mompreneur that loves to get her hands on anything creative. Follow along with her on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest.

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