Teenagers often prefer to receive money as a gift, but cash in an envelope can feel impersonal and uninteresting.
Giving money in creative ways presents special opportunities to bond with your teenager while teaching valuable lessons about how to manage their finances.
Finding the perfect balance between thoughtful and practical is tricky, but luckily, there are many creative ideas to give money to a teenager as a gift that will honor both aspects.
Creative Ways To Give Money To A Teenager
Have a look at some of our favorite creative money gift ideas to turn a boring gift of money into a fun money gift idea instead.
1. Gift Cards
The best way to give money without handing out plain cash is through gift cards. You can get gift cards for just about everything these days.
Amazon, the App Store/Google Play, Target, Best Buy, and Starbucks are just some of the most popular gift card options for teens, though a generic Visa or Mastercard gift card would be amazing, too.
📢 Suggested reading: You might be interested in knowing if you can return gift cards.
To make it more personal, you can buy a few different gift cards and place them in a cool credit card wallet to complete the gift.
2. How’s It Hanging?
Blow up enough balloons to fill your teen’s room and tie some money at the end of each balloon’s string. Set it up while they sleep and watch them wake up to this fun surprise.
3. Cold Hard Cash
Teens love it when they get cold, hard cash for any occasion. Next time you give your teen cash, wrap it in plastic and have it frozen in a block of ice! They won’t see it coming, which will be such a memorable one for them.
4. Sticky Notes… Literally
Wouldn’t it be fun to have a wad of cash to pull out money from every time you need it? Just like you could rip off a sticky note from your notepad every time you need to write something down.
This tutorial shows you how you can bind bills into a notepad for your teen.
5. Bougie Bookmarks
If your teen is a bookworm and you’re not sure what book to get them, give them the money to buy the book they like instead! Take an old book from their collection and insert bills in between several pages, like a bookmark, then wrap it up! They’ll be confused about unwrapping a book they already own but enlightened as soon as they flip through the pages.
Alternatively, you can place the money in a book that teaches them how to manage their finances, like this one from Amazon:
- Your Ultimate Visual Guide to the Basics of Finance
- 12-18 years
- Grade 7-9
6. All Dressed Up
Make wearable stuff with money! From a kingly crown and cape combo to cool money chains, money rosettes, and rings, getting your teen dressed up in a money wardrobe made of dollar bills is definitely one for the books!
7. Money shirt
Here’s another creative way to gift money. Instead of a regular shirt, give them a shirt made of paper money.
8. A Piece Of Cake
If you’re thinking of giving your teen money for their birthday but are looking for a neat place to hide it, why not stash it inside their birthday cake?
Check out this video tutorial on how it’s done.
9. Money Bouquet
Best for teen girls from their dads, this cute money gift-giving idea is super easy to DIY. Throw in a natural flower or two for color if you like!
10. Disguised Fries
Get some fries to go, then remove the fries and give the container a clean. Roll up some money, put them in the fries container, and hand it over to your teen.
Bonus points if you wrap it in the McDonald’s bag before giving it to them!
11. Making Bank
Although practical, it’s no fun if you simply deposit money into your teen’s bank account on special occasions. Get your teen one of those mini ATMs on Amazon and stuff it with money.
These usually come with a card that they can use to “withdraw” money from the machine. It’s a great novelty gift that your teen will surely love.
- Mini ATM Piggy Bank
- Loads Real Money
- With Card, Coin Reader and Balance Calculator
12. Pop Some Money
Is there anything more fun and festive than popping confetti on special occasions? Make it even more exciting for your teen by popping money instead of confetti. We found this easy tutorial on how to make money poppers for your next event.
13. Life’s Like A Box Of Chocolates…
Just like Forrest Gump’s mama said. Replace some chocolates in a box with money. Wrap them in colored paper for an added layer of mystery and excitement.
14. Candy Jar
Hiding cash inside a mason jar filled with their favorite candy is another cool idea and a great way to surprise someone!
Since money can be quite dirty, it would be best to put it in a small plastic bag or tube before hiding it in the candy.
15. Butterfly Bills
Good with your hands? Fold up a few origami butterflies with money and stick them around the house for your teen to find.
Fun Ways To Give Money To A Teenager
One of the best gift ideas ever is to give a teenager money as a gift! Check out these clever money gift ideas to turn a boring gift of cash into a fun one.
16. Money Hunt
Hide money in random places around the house and give your teen clues to lead them to their gift. You can make the treasure hunt as easy or as challenging as you want, depending on how much you think your teen will enjoy it.
17. Da Vinci Style
Got a Da Vinci fan? This cryptex can hold quite a bit of money inside. Set the code and give your teen clues to help them unlock it.
- Set up your own password
- Measures approx: 14cm Long.
- Hidden compartment measures approx: 8cm Long x 2.5cm in diameter.
18. An Amaze-ing Idea
Another fun way to give money to your teen is to put it in this maze puzzle. They’ll have to solve the puzzle before they can get to the gift. It’s reusable, too, so they can still have fun with it after getting their gift.
A great combination of a money-saving box and a challenging puzzle makes an amazing gift.
Solve the puzzle by maneuvering the bead through the maze and making it to the slide bar to lift the latch to open.
With a little logic and patience, you can figure it out!
19. Pop! Pop!
Popping money balloons is always fun. Blow up some balloons and fill the balloons with cash. You can also fill the balloons with confetti to make it even more fun.
Then stick them up on the wall and give your teen a dart so they can start popping.
20. It’s Raining Money
Make it rain money on your teen’s special day with this money gun.
- Install 4 AA batteries into the gun.
- Lift the top cover open, and place the money in the loading compartment.
- Aim and pull the trigger.
21. Popping Boxes
Ever seen an explosion box? It’s usually filled with photos and mini mementos, but you can fill it up with money for your teen too!
Here’s how to make a simple money box, but you can also search tutorials for explosion boxes with more layers.
22. Money Bath Bomb
Make a bath bomb and stick some cash inside. Remember to place the money in a small plastic container or bag so that it doesn’t get wet. It’ll be a real surprise for your teen when they discover the gift inside.
Watch how to easily make bath bombs in the tutorial below:
23. Let It Burn
Buy a candlemaking starter kit on Amazon and pour your own candle to give to your teen. Wrap some money in foil and plastic and put it in the candle halfway through the pour. This is great for teens who could use a lesson or two in being patient.
24. Money Pizza Box
Giving money this way might take some time, but the result looks impressive!
To recreate this design, you need to follow these steps:
- You will need tape, quarters (for the pepperoni), and about $75 in dollar bills.
- Layer the dollar bills in a circle pattern.
- Place a few quarters on top (and tape them down)
- Make the crust edge by rolling up some dollar bills
- Make a fun sign to go inside the box
Funny Ways To Give Money To A Teenager
25. Gag gift boxes
There are tons of gag gift boxes you can buy off of Amazon to put your cash gift in. This one is for a fart filter, but there are lots more to choose from online.
Put some money inside the joke box and try to keep as straight face as you watch your teen open their gift.
Confusion will turn to relief and laughter as they discover their real gift of cash inside.
26. Don’t Panic Chinese Finger Trap
If your teen has never seen a Chinese Finger Trap before, now might be a good time to introduce them to one.
Place your cash gift in the finger trap and ask them to try and get it out. It is common for victims to pull their fingers outward when they are trapped. However, that only tightens the trap. Instead, the victim should push both ends toward the middle, which enlarges the openings.
Watch the panic on their face as they try to get their fingers out!
27. Funny Zip Tie Challenge
A zip-tie wrapped gift like this is a funny way to make teens laugh and have a good time if you want to give them a run for their money.
28. It’s A Little Sus
Take a big jar, print your teen’s favorite restaurant/fast food logo and the words “Tip Jar” on it, and stick it on. Fill the jar with bills and coins and hand it to them to see their reaction.
29. Do You Even Lift, Bro?
Get a brick, tape your cash gift to it, and then wrap it up. Let your teen guess what’s inside before letting them unwrap it.
30. A Great Way To Start The Day
Remove all the cereal from your teen’s favorite cereal box and fill it up with folded/crumpled-up bills. You can wrap it or wait for them to pour themselves a bowl and discover your gift.
If you are looking for a fun and unique way to give money as a gift, stuffing some into an empty playdough container will surely confuse them.
32. The Trunk Prank
Blow up a few balloons and tape money on the strings. Make sure to tie the end of the string to something heavy to weigh it down and keep it from floating away.
Next, put the balloons in the trunk of your/their car and let your teen open it. They might panic, thinking the money will float away with the balloons, so be ready,
33. My Favorite President Is…
Print a picture of all the U.S. Presidents whose faces appear on dollar bills. Frame each one and place the corresponding note(s) at the back of each frame. See how long it takes for them to figure it out.
Creative Ways To Give Money To A Teenager For Christmas
Money is a universal Christmas present that teenagers can use to buy their own stuff they want or put away some savings. But how do you turn cash into awesome gifts?
If you’re looking for a cute idea of how to give money to a teen this holiday season, then look no further!
Here are our 9 favorite unique ideas on how to give them the financial gifts of their dreams.
34. Stocked Up On Cash
Surprise your teen on Christmas Day by stuffing their Christmas stocking with some cash! If it’s a big stocking, you can place random goodies in there as well.
35. Trusty Old Socks
Insert some money in a pair of socks or two, roll them back up, and wrap them up to give to your teen. If they always get socks on Christmas, they’ll be unsuspecting of the cash gift inside, which makes it an even more, fun gift idea!
36. Wrap It Up
Take a small to medium-sized box and put a random mini gift inside, then wrap the package up with cash. Use artist tape to avoid damaging the bills!
37. Christmas Pinata
Who says pinatas are only for birthdays? If you’re hosting the Christmas festivities this year and have teens in the family, this is a fun and creative way to gift them some cash.
38. Money On The Tree
Fold up some money origami stars and hang them up as ornaments on the tree. You can label each star if you have more than one teen in the house or let each teen pick one star from the tree.
This still doesn’t mean money grows on trees, kids!
39. Advent-ure Is Out There
Now that they’re teens, mini chocolates and toys are no longer options for their advent calendar surprise. Wondering what to put in there? How about money in different denominations?
40. The Best Gift Topper
Wrap your teen’s gift up as you would, but this time, make one of these origami money bows instead of putting on the usual gift topper!
41. Hiding in The Hat
Make everyone wear Santa Hats on Christmas Day while opening presents. In your teen(s)’ hat, sew in a little detachable pocket and stash the cash there. It’ll be a great last gift!
42. Money Christmas Cracker
Make a Christmas cracker filled with money and confetti.
You can find fillable ones on Etsy.
Also, here’s a tutorial for how to make these yourself using wrapping paper and empty toilet paper rolls:
Money Tree Ideas For Christmas
Money trees are gaining popularity as more people seek fun ideas to gift cash for Christmas. Discover how to make some money trees at home with detailed DIY instructions.
1. Christmas Tree Farm Origami
This takes quite a while, but it does make for a showstopping gift! Learn how to make origami trees here.
2. Money Tree Tower
Make your preferred tree shape base using a pool noodle or styrofoam and pin money on it until it’s full.
3. Pop Up Christmas Money Tree Card
If you’re looking for a simpler, subtler way to give money to the teens in your life and a money tree just isn’t an option, this pop-up card might just be the next best thing.
4. Money Tree Gift Topper
Add a little something extra on top of your present for your teen. Instead of the usual bow/ribbon topper, use an origami Christmas money tree!
Carve a cone out of styrofoam and cut slits around it. In each slit, insert a coin to make a money Christmas tree made out of coins.
How To Make Christmas Money Tree
There are plenty of ways to make a Christmas money tree. Three of the most popular options include the following:
Origami – to make an origami Christmas money tree, all you have to do is fold the bill into your preferred shape and decorate. There are plenty of tutorials you can watch online if you’re unfamiliar with money origami. This method is great for small and subtle Christmas money trees, whether for gifts or decoration.
Base+money=tree – another popular method used in making Christmas money trees is the base+money method. Make a base for your tree and attach the money to it. Your base can be anything as long as it’s something you can stick your bills onto. You can use tape, pins, or staples since glue and other adhesive options could damage your bills.
Combo – can’t choose between the two? You can always combine them to make a bigger and better Christmas money tree! Fold your paper bills into leaves or any shape resembling leaves, then stick them onto your base.