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13 Creative Ways to Give Money to a Teenager

Looking for creative ways to give money to a teenager? These ideas will make your cash gifts totally exciting (and unique).

Teenagers love to get cash. And it makes sense – when you have money, you can spend it on the things that YOU prioritize, and the savings goals that you have.

teenage girl opening small box with money in it, text overlay 9 creative ways to gift money to teens

But giving cash can be boring.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of creative ways to give money to a teenager – use these ideas for birthdays, graduation gifts, new teen driver gifts, Christmas, and, really, any occasion where you’ll be giving money.

Creative Ways to Give Money to a Teenager

Let's get creative with how you gift money to a teen!

1. Create a DIY Hidden Gift Jar

Cool idea alert: fill a mason jar with their favorite candy, and hide the cash inside of it!

two mason jars of M&Ms with money in the inside of it, inside tubes

Hint: since money can be quite germy and dirty, I would personally put the money into a small plastic bag before placing it into the candy. But that's just me! She uses tubes and that works, too.

2-5. Make them Solve a Puzzle to Get their Cash

What’s more motivating to solve a puzzle than knowing there’s a cash bonus at the end for your prize?

Here are some cool money puzzle ideas for teens:

Cosmic Pinball Money Maze

Your recipient will have to shoot three balls into the slot at the end of the lightening bolt in order to access their cash!

pinball machine type money maze, small

Trap Cash in a Chinese Finger Trap

While not made to hold cash, this can still be a fun way to gift cash to a teenager. You’ll get to watch them fiddle about as they first insert their fingers into one of these…and then figure out that there’s cash rolled into the middle of it…and then try to actually get it out (without a pair of tweezers!).

purple and white, diamond-checkered fingertrap

Money Maze Box

Put money into this money maze box, and let them “work” their way towards it.

bright green money maze in square plastic container

Puzzle Pod Junior

Here’s yet another cool money puzzle – but with this one, you come up with the code they need to solve, then feed them a few clues to help them get there.

gift card puzzle box, black, with coding

Puzzle Mini-Pod Cryptex

Wow – this is such a cool-looking gift (with cash as the prize, too! Gift cards also fit). This is a re-settable puzzle (one additional time) for any five-letter word that you choose. You give them clues, and they work through them in order to release their money.

blue-domed top with blue letters all around on white body

6. Make a Money Cracker

Have you ever heard of Christmas Crackers? They’re English festive tubs that you pull from each side to pop open, revealing gifts, confetti, or really, whatever you want to stash in them!

So…why not stash cash for your teen inside one?

You can find fillable ones on Etsy.

Also, here’s a tutorial for how to make this yourself (just use non-Christmas decorations, of course):

7. Give them Cash to Buy a Share of Stock, Inside a Stock Kit

There’s this really neat thing called The Shareholder Kit for tweens and teens. Not only does it teach a child about investing in the stock market (in a very down-to-earth way), but you get a $20 discount on a single stock purchase.

SO, you can gift them this book with some cash for seed money, and then help them (they’ll need an adult) to complete their stock purchase!

red cover with caricatures on it

8. Put into Gold-Foiled Envelopes

These gold-foiled money envelopes are really eye-catching. At least, they caught my eye!

9. Gift a Savings Match Promise with an Oversized Piggy Bank

One of the things we want our teens to learn is to save money, right?

How about you gift them this gigantic Coca-Cola piggy bank (my grandmother has one – they're super cool), and then tell the teen that you'll give them a certain amount of time to fill it with all the change and dollars they can.

At the end of that time period? You'll match whatever savings they have.

This could be 3 months, 6 months, a year…however long you'd like to go (to give you an idea, my grandmother filled hers completely over the period of several years, and ended up with over $800 when she cashed it in).

hands holding a gigantic clear plastic coca-cola bottle with coin and dollar slot at top

10. Gift them Cash Envelopes for Kids

Did you know that there are sets of cash envelopes for kids and teens (using the Dave Ramsey envelop budgeting system)?

You can introduce them to this new budgeting concept, buy them some cool-looking envelopes, and then stash a full budget inside of them to get them started on their budgeting journey.

A few teen-styled cash envelopes to choose from:

horizontal cash envelopes in navy blue, dots, and pastel pink
horizontal envelopes in bright colors with small white plastic snaps
horizontal brightly colored cash envelopes

11. Hide the Money in a Financial Literacy Book

You could put it popping up from the front page, OR, actually hide it later on in the book so that they have to read it (errrr, at least skim it) before they find their surprise.

Here are 3 teen money books I recommend and have read myself:

Check out my review (plus additional money lessons) for 29 different money books for kids and teens, broken down by age.

green cover with Jean Chatzky and group of teens smiling
purple and black cover with author kiyosaki on it
bright blue and white cover

12. Tuck it in a New Wallet or Purse

I still remember being awestruck, as a teenager, when I watched that scene from Terms of Endearment where the aunt gives the teenage/young adult daughter a beautiful new wallet…and she looks inside and shockingly pulls out $1,000.

How fun to gift both a purse or wallet to your teen, AND, to fill it with some cash.

Here’s a very sturdy, outdoor wallet for teen boys. And here’s a super-cute wallet for teen girls with tons of designs to choose from.

navy blue and taupe wallet
white with blue patterned cactus throughout

In fact, in some cultures, it’s also seen as good luck (my grandmother, who is Hungarian, told me to never gift a purse or wallet without stashing a coin inside). 

13. Create a Money Notepad for Them

Here's a really neat idea that I never would've thought of: you can take real dollar bills, and create a money notepad with them!

You'll need padding compound, a wad of dollar bills, a glue brush, a paper trimmer, and some binder clips.

What a creative way to give money to someone.

Personally, I'm going to check out those money puzzles as a new way to creatively gift money to a teenager. Which one are you most excited about?

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money,, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here.