For Parents

Creative Ways to Gift Money for Kids

Money as a gift doesn’t have to be a boring exchange. Here’s how to make the moment special. Come learn 10 homemade and 10 store-bought ways to give money to your kids.

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Looking for new and creative ways to gift money to a teen in your life? We’ve got you covered. They say presentation matters, and that’s especially true when it comes to monetary gifts. Not only does a creative money gift help imbue a teen with a sense that the gift is a big deal and not be squandered, but it also turns a rather mundane moment into a happy, healthy childhood memory. They grow up so quickly that those kinds of moments matter. So we’ve put together 20 unique ways to gift money. We’ll split it into two categories. Category one: homemade options for those of us that believe it’s the thought that counts. And category two: paid options for those that want to add a little monetary razzle-dazzle to their gift. 

Let’s get started with the best ways to gift money to teens in your life. 

Top 10 Entirely Homemade Ways to Gift Money to Teens

Here are a few gifts that pack a punch and add a unique and engaging angle to monetary gifts.

Cards

First on the list is a timeless classic. Getting cards with money in them, folded neatly under a “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” is the stuff that childhoods are made of. We had to include it on this list based on that. But, homemade cards are, in our opinion, a bit more special than store-bought cards. Especially if your kid is an artist, like the other gifts on this list, adding a little meaning to the gift of money is a great way to keep your kid appreciative of its uses. 

Clues

Clues are like scavenger hunts for money. Hide the money in clever places like behind the cereal box, in that textbook they never open, or with the cleaning supplies. Then give your kid easy-to-follow clues that lead them to cash prizes. Here’s one to get you started, “If George Washington had drunk more of this, then rumors about his teeth might never have started.”

Answer: Milk

Location: The milk in the fridge.

Money Art

A great idea for a money art gift is to make a poster and stick money to it. For example, you could draw a bank vault with cash around it. Or money falling from the clouds. Prefer a more arts and crafts approach? Try building a small cash register out of boxes and filling the till with cash. Let your mind run wild thinking of new ideas for money art!

Money Books

Money books is a two-fold plan. The idea is to spread out the cash you’re gifting between book pages, preferably a book you want your kid to read. Let them know there’s money in the book but that it’s almost impossible to unstick all the money from the book just by shaking it. The goal is to get them to read the book to find more bills. This is perfect for kids that have a hard time sitting still or are overly engaged with their phones. There’s no guarantee they’ll actually finish the book, but it is a neat way to gift money and point them in the right direction. 

Money Origami         

Money Origami deserves its own space outside of money art, even though Origami is one of the oldest art forms in the world. There are hundreds of Origami instructions online to make paper money into animals, objects, and abstract art. It takes a little time, but your kid will love it, and you’ll pick up a new skill in the meantime. 

The Lottery Winner

The Lottery Winner is a great way to gift a large amount of money. Create a winning lottery ticket either online or by hand and let the teen know that instead of all at once, they’ll get their gift in a set number of increments. This helps teach them how to budget, prevents them from spending it all at once, and gives them something to look forward to!

Money Ceremony

This money gift idea is ideal for kids that struggle with self-confidence and is great for birthdays. Choose a time and set up a little podium or arrange some lights and when you’re ready, gather your household for a ceremony. Talk about the things you appreciate the most about your kid, whether it’s their grades, a recent accomplishment, or anything else you’re proud of. 

The key to this gift is to be as genuine as possible. Also, if you have multiple kids, then you’ll have to do this for all of them at some point or another. It’s only fair. 

Money Tail/Banner

This is an easy gift that’s great for kids that love a certain animal. Draw or print out an outline of the animal and stick money to the tail. Bonus points if you feather the bills for bird animals. If your kid loves an animal that doesn’t have a tail like a gorilla or a frog, then use the money to make fur, or use it to make the tongue of the frog. Does your kid like model planes or cars? Attach the money like a banner streaming in the wind. It’s a simple, easy money gift you can do that doubles as a way to let your kid know you care. 

The Hand-Me-Down

Does your kid obsess over collections, history, or generally more timeless ideas of wealth? The hand-me-down idea is just giving your kid a wallet or a purse and a few bills to get them started. It’s also a unique opportunity to pass on or create a family heirloom. Extra points if you put a happy birthday or congratulations card inside the wallet/purse. 

The Debit Card

Last but not least on the top 10 ways to gift money with homemade gifts is the debit card. Admittedly, debit cards aren’t homemade but hear us out. Youth banking accounts have no fees or minimums, and you can open one up at your local bank or credit union with or without your kid. When the time comes, you can gift your kid an ATM or debit card and let them know that their financial journey has officially begun. 

Top 10 Ways to Gift Money With Store-Bought Items!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a little bang for your buck. And there’s even less wrong with giving a well-timed gift. Here are some ideas for parents looking to gift money in new ways!

The Piggy Bank

Here’s the best piggy bank that we recommend. It’s a durable classic. But any piggy bank works. The point is to fill the piggy bank and then gift it. It helps put your kid off to a strong start and gives them something to aim for – a full or fuller piggy bank. If you have an older kid who’s not too keen on this item, then read on for more ideas!

Money Soap 

Money soap is great for kids that love scents and have a healthy passion for cleanliness. You can try a well-reviewed brand of money soap here. This is a great gift for kids that are about to embark on a big adventure like living abroad, camping for an extended period, or traveling for competition. Granted, they aren’t going to use them all at once, so this gift isn’t the best if you’re looking to give emergency money. But it will give your kid something to look forward to. 

Gold Coins

Ideal for gifting large amounts of money, converting cash into gold coins, and gifting them can be done via any coin shop. Present the coins as an investment opportunity and let them know how to check the value of the coins and what to do with them when it’s time to sell. This gift is great because it stops them from spending all their money at once, gives them a unique gift that’s not easily replicated, and introduces them to investing. Combine it with the next gift idea for an extra surprise.

Treasure Chest

You don’t have to buy a treasure chest, but it sure helps sell the theme of this gift. Fill the chest with cash and other baubles for aesthetics, and then gift them the key. It’s perfect for pirate-obsessed teens, those with a flair for the dramatics, and really anyone who loves getting a chest full of money. You can’t go wrong with a treasure chest as a way to gift money. 

Coin and Bill Collector Books

If your kid has a habit of collecting things like figurines, cards, movies, etc then this is a great way to get them interested in the history of U.S. money. Like other items on this list, you’ll fill the item with money beforehand. Coin collector books are especially easy to fill if you use state-based quarters, older coins, and the occasional silver dollar, which you can get from your bank. Plus, what kid didn’t have one of these growing up? Here’s a coin and bill book to get you started. 

Money Jar

A money jar is a more mature spin on the piggy bank that’s sure to be loved by any kid who already has their aesthetic figured out. Instead of a pig, the jars are decorative and don’t stick out as money holders. That means you can find one that fits your kids’ individual look and vibes while also bypassing their disdain for toys. Perfect for teens and older. You can write a little message on the bottom to make it that much more endearing. Here’s a money jar we recommend. 

The New Wallet or Purse

Unlike the hand-me-down method, the new wallet or purse is ideal for kids who pride themselves on owning new things. Put a few bills in it and present them with their gift. The best part is it’s great for little kids, too, as many wallets and purses have bright, colorful designs on them. It’s also a great gift for kids that are just beginning their lifelong journey to money management. 

Hot Air Money Balloon 

Here’s a fun little money idea for a festive approach to birthdays and holidays. Grab a pack of balloons, and carefully insert rolled money into them. This idea isn’t ideal for children who don’t like loud noises. But getting balloons full of money is sure to be a blast for those who do.

Money Pinata

Pinatas are a classic for birthdays. You can buy an empty one from your local party store and fill it with money. Just be sure to attach the money to candy to ensure it doesn’t blow away during an outside party. 

Money Tree with Planets

Making money trees is easy, but you can make a more complex one with a little Origami – as mentioned above. The special thing about this gift is to gift it with a potted plant with the money wrapped gently around the branches or leaves. It’s perfect for nature-obsessed kids and those that want to try their hand at gardening. 

Those are the creative ways to gift money to your kid, whether at home or from the store!

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About the Author

Chadhurst Sharpe

Chadhurst Jainlett Sharpe spent over six years working as a personal finance banker. He's passionate about giving young minds the tools and resources they need to succeed with money.

Last updated on: July 6, 2022