Plain ol’ $$$

an innovative way to gift cash

Where’s the dough?

When there are two blogs writing on the same topic, one might think the content would be the same. Turns out, not. So I wanted to make the most of this situation by getting  Anne of Unique Gifter to do a guest post on a topic I wanted to attempt but never did — gifting cash. She also shares some fun and creative ideas on how to make a cash gift interesting!


Hello, my name is Anne and I write over at Unique Gifter where I try to inspire creative, personalised and unique gifts and ways to save on gifts.  I was so happy to discover a kindred spirit in Sarita!  She graciously guest posted for me recently, so now I am returning the favour. 

Plain ol’ cash as a gift

But wait – cash is so impersonal, cash is so specific, cash doesn’t have any thought put into it, etc.  Has anyone ever been disappointed with cash and not had a way to spend it?  Not usually, most of us are glad to end up with a bit extra.  It just spends so well, on anything!  When given cash, many people choose to save it up in order to purchase a larger item, such as a TV, new piece of furniture, vacation or that ridiculously expensive pair of designer jeans they’ve been wanting.  Especially at weddings, cash is considered the best gift idea!  In some cultures, it is the only gift given at weddings.

I have read of people who hate to give cash as a gift, because they think it is such a “cop-out” or lazy gift; however, they still like to receive cash as a gift.  Rest assured, you can make cash a very creative gift and still end up with smiles all around.  For a much larger list of fun ways to give money, please visit my Cash Gifts page.

One of the easiest, and one of my favourites, is to simply buy a can of Play-Doh and put the money inside!  This works best for adults, who usually have a feeling of nostalgia regarding Play-Doh.  A 12-year-old doesn’t usually feel the same way.  As an aside, if someone is highly allergic to gluten, do not choose this idea, as Play-Doh is full of it.

Another simple, sneaky way to give cash is to go out and purchase a chocolate bar with a wrapper that slides and/or folds on.  First, compare the size of the chocolate bar to the size of the bills.  In some countries, such as those in the Euro Zone, the size of bills varies.  Make sure that your bills are smaller than the chocolate bar.  Next, wrap the money in plastic cling wrap from your kitchen, making sure to get it as flat and smooth as possible.  Then carefully unwrap the chocolate bar, lay the money inside and re-wrap the bar.  It is easiest to do with chocolate bars that have foil covered by a slide-on sleeve.  In your card, make sure to say “open the chocolate bar to check for your golden ticket!” or something similar, as you don’t want them to not receive the money!

Innovative way to gift cash

Don’t get let the wrapper fool you

When it comes to kid’s birthdays, apartment dwellers or students going off to college, it can be very handy to have lots of coins.  For kids, it may be a way to give them a trip to an arcade!  For others, it could be a good way to pay for the coin-op laundry throughout the year, or a way to pay for coffee or parking easily.  Go to the bank and ask for a roll or two of coins in whichever denomination you choose.  Warning: some coins can add up quickly in value!!  Here are a few ways to wrap coins as a gift that’s fun and unique!

There are several great ideas in this forum thread, one of which is making a pickle jar!

Pickle Jar

1)     Get a pickle jar.  Either decorate it with paints or leave on the label.

2)     Paint the rolled coins to look like little pickles, warts and all.

3)     Stuff your “pickles” back in the pickle jar.

4)     Fill the excess space with green tissue paper “brine.”

Paper Car

1)     Create a folded paper car, using this eHow tutorial.

2)     Use two coin rolls to make the axles – glue the front two wheels to either end of a roll, then glue the back two wheels to the other coin roll.

3)     Decorate your car!  Include the message, “This is how I roll!”


an innovative way to gift cash

Coin candy

1)     Find or print wrapper paper in a striped pattern, like red and white or red and green.  Alternatively, use plain paper and then wrap strips of ribbon around them.

2)     Wrap the coins up in cellophane, and twist the ends!  Use a bit of ribbon or tape to keep closed, if they need it.  I originally found this idea on the Martha Stewart site.

Important tips for giving cash as a gift:

  • eMail money transfer: By far the most secure way that we received money was via eMail money transfer.  Pretty much every financial institution in Canada (I do not know about Europe) provides this option and most accounts will be allowed a few for free per month.  You set up a question and answer for the recipient to verify the transfer.  In your card, indicate the $$s you will be sending and give them the question and answer.  This is a good spot to add some flare and personality in for the couple, by making the question personal and funny.  At an appropriate time, send the eTransfer from your online banking to the recipients email.  This may be once they have returned from a honeymoon, before the wedding, the next morning, or whenever makes the most sense.  Most transfers are valid for 30 days or so, before expiring.  The recipient simply clicks on a link in the email, logs into their online banking and deposits the money.  It massively reduces any chance of cash or a cheque going missing.  Cheque canceling fees can be pricey!  [Yes, I’m Canadian, we use cheque not check.]
  • The thing that makes cash such a great gift also makes it very attractive to thieves.  It is very portable and hard to trace.  If you are ever worried about leaving a cash gift somewhere, trust your instincts and make sure to hand it to someone trusted!
  • If you really want the recipient to use it for something specific, you should say so in the card.  Otherwise, do not be offended when they use the money to pay down debt, pay for wedding costs, spend it on their honeymoon or just to buy groceries.

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