The first thing I should point out is that not everyone would probably label all of these ideas as terribly “creative” ways to give money as gifts, but there are times when you’ve waited right up to the last minute, and then realize that you have to get a gift to someone in less than a few days.
You have no time to mail a package, no time to mail a card with money inside – no time to do anything but wonder how you let yourself get into this position.
You don’t want your friend or family member to think that you forgot about them, but you’re also stuck in a situation with very few options. Tina recently wrote a great post with some last minute gift ideas. In this post, I’d like to offer a few additional creative ways to give money as gifts through online resources when you’re really hard-pressed for time.
Why Prepaid Credit Cards Make Excellent Gifts
The simplest and fastest method to send money online is also the most common – sending gift cards. It’s also arguably the least meaningful, because it doesn’t really reflect that you know much about the person. It’s sort of like handing them a wad of cash – how meaningful is that?
Well, things have changed in the world of gift cards. Previously, you had to walk into a bank and specifically purchase a prepaid credit card. A little later, you could find them in your favorite convenience store. These prepaid credit cards were bland and boring. Finally, you can purchase these gift cards online, and you can usually choose from some fairly creative card designs. To find legitimate and safe resources, I would suggest starting by going directly to either Visa or Mastercard.
Visa offers a specific section for online vendors that offer Visa gift cards. In many cases, these are banks where you have to be a member, but if you scroll through the list you’ll find some pretty awesome gift card vendors that let you customize the card design.
For example, on Visa’s list you’ll find Gift Card Lab, where you can actually upload photos and use them to create your own customized prepaid Visa card. Now how cool is that? Mastercard similarly offers a list of online and offline vendors where you can purchase prepaid Mastercard gift cards.
Alas, most of the Visa and Mastercard vendors will only sell gift cards for use within the United States, so if you’re an international customer then you’ll want to check out the awesome international gift card service known as CardRex.
Creative Ways To Give Money In A Meaningful Way
Of course, maybe you don’t just want to send money – but instead send a gift that’s a little bit more meaningful. Maybe the person that you’re sending the gift to is a book lover, or an online shopping addict or loves to dine out! Thankfully, almost every online store offers gift cards, but in my opinion one of the best gift cards that everyone loves to receive is an Amazon Gift Card.
Amazon is an online paradise for any shopaholic. If you’re buying for an avid shopper, this is one gift that will be greatly appreciated. The convenience of Amazon cards is obvious – especially when you just don’t have time to wait for the card to get shipped to the recipient. If you need it today, then e-mail the gift card to them! If you’re throwing a birthday party or they’ll be arriving shortly, just print out the gift card right on your home printer!
If you do send an Amazon card through the mail, they’ll include a free greeting card with it. However, if the standard Amazon Gift Card isn’t creative enough for you, just scroll down the Amazon gift card page for the option to visit HDGreetings where you can personalize an e-card using your own photos. When you’re done, just email it!
Maybe the person you’re sending money to isn’t really a shopper, but instead loves to go out and dine at various restaurants. In that case, the obvious choice is to head on over to Restaurant.com. Sure, you could go out and buy a specific gift card for a single restaurant, but why not let the recipient of your card choose their own dining experience? At Restaurant.com, they get to do just that.
When you buy someone a Restaurant.com certificate, they can choose from over 13,000 restaurants across the United States. If you’re in the UK, check out Esha Gun for Indian gift cards, or if you’re in a country where it’s virtually impossible to access useful banking services like this – consider the Royal Bank of Canada. It’s one of the few banks that offers truly international services, including credit and debit card services. When living in an unstable part of the world, it’s a safe solution.,
Create Fun Customized ScratchOff Cards!
If you want a really creative way to give money, consider creating a Personalized Party Scratchoff card. These is a significant collection of premade scratch cards, but you can also email this vendor and ask them to custom create one for you. Unlike other services that are corporate based, which require you to order thousands of cards, with this service the minimum order is only ten.
This is a fun approach, because you can have them play a scratch off game that you’ve customized, and when they win you can hand them the envelope full of money as the prize! It would add a bit of fun and laughter to any party.
Send Graduated Paypal Payments
The last creative way to give money that I’d like to mention is something I call the “graduated” gift approach. It does require that the recipient have a Paypal account. In the case where the friend or family you’re giving the gift to does have one, just go into your Paypal account and send a personal gift payment as shown here.
Just one dollar? Yes, it’s the beginning of the graduated gift that will keep on giving every day up to the person’s birthday. This works great up to about age 16. On the number of days prior to the person’s birthday, you send them a very small gift via Paypal. For example, if they’re 15, send them a penny ($0.01) and then write a note that you plan to double the gift every day until their birthday.
At first, your gift recipient may scoff as the amount goes from just 1 penny, to two, to four, to eight… However, on the last few days up to the 15th birthday, the payments are just over $40, just over $80, and then a final payment of $163.84!
Before you take this gift approach, make sure that you understand the power of compounding, and calculate each payment amount before you get started. You’ll have to send a sufficiently low initial payment so that you can afford to send all of them – especially the last few big ones. This approach makes for a wonderful countdown to a big day, like a graduation.
Do you have any creative gift giving ideas using online resources? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.