Giving Money as a Gift: A Notebook of Money

Twice a year, I rack my brain to come up with a creative way to give money as a gift for my nephew, Timothy. I'm not out of ideas yet, but now that he lives 1000 miles away, I have to consider portability. This severely limits my options. I'm not mean enough to make him board a plane with 4000 pennies or a gigantic money tree.

For his 17th birthday, I decided Timothy needed a notebook of money. I played off the word 'Notes' by using patterned paper with musical notes (affiliate link) and filling it with bank notes, aka dollar bills. He can pull out bills as he needs them and the rest will stay nicely bound in the notebook. 


A Notebook of Money


  • Mint condition dollar bills 
  • Chipboard, cut to the size of a dollar bill (2.61" x 6.14")
  • Patterned paper, also cut to the size of a dollar bill (2.61" x 6.14")
  • Binder clips
  • White glue
  • Foam brush
  • Letter stickers


Gather supplies, avoiding security incident if possible.**

Line up the patterned paper, dollar bills, and chipboard so that they are flush. Use the binder clips to hold everything securely in place. 

Use the brush to put a thin, even layer of glue across the exposed end. Let it dry, then add another coat of glue. I did a total of four coats and it held nicely.

When the glue is dry, use the letter stickers to spell out 'Notes' on the cover.

I paired the gift with a pen so that it looked more like a regular notebook. It was hilarious watching Timothy inspect the pen for more money. None hidden there... this time!

Now it's time to start thinking about his Christmas gift. Haha! (cackling and rubbing her hands together...)

** The Story of My Bank Security Incident

When I've given money gifts in the past, I've gone to the bank, asked for, and received $100-worth of mint-condition $1 bills. Easy. This time, however, I went to two different banks, neither of which had mint bills on hand. It would take over a week to order them and I wanted them sooner. Unwilling to traipse all over the county to banks that may or may not have the bills, I phoned branches until finding one that did. I told the man on the phone I'd be right over. 

It took about 15 minutes to get there. I stood in line and asked the teller (a woman) for $100 of mint-condition bills. Her eyes bulged out and she said that may be a problem. Annoyed, I told her I'd just spoken to someone 15 minutes ago who said the bills were on hand and that it wouldn't be a problem. She tells me, "OK, but I'll have to alert security."

Then she grills me about who said this wouldn't be a problem. I hadn't gotten his name, but was able to describe his voice well enough that she figured out who it was. At this point, I'm totally confused. Why is this such a big deal?! She calls security, then starts tapping away at her computer like crazy. Then she announces, "OK, security will be here soon. One hundred mint condition hundred dollar bills." 

Wait, what?

Not $10,000! I want $100! She looks at me, confused. The man who I'd spoken with on the phone comes out, also confused. He'd prepped my $100 and had no idea why she was calling security. Pretty much everyone was confused. 

The story ends uneventfully. I left with my $100 and all was well. 


  1. OMG!!!! That bank story is hilarious!!!! Shows she needs to work on her listening skills!! LOL!!! I loveeeeeeeeee the notebook!!! So clever!!!!!!!

  2. Haha...love that bank story!
    I'm sure Timothy will be delighted with his notebook!

  3. We did this for Christmas one year. I took a picture of my mom with a Santa hat on... scanned a dollar bill and changed wording on the same. Such as "In Gram we trust" and changed the signatures to cute names etc... put Gram in the center and a label across the top saying "Gram Bucks" OMG what a hit it was that year. You can do whatever denominations you want, but all together it was wonderful. Gram has passed on now, but a few still have their "Gram bucks" covers... a wonderful memory for an amazing lady!!!


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