There comes a time, typically in your kids’ teenage years, when they ask for cash instead of gifts. But you don’t have to stuff pound notes in an envelope or buy a gift card. There are many ways to get creative when gifting money to a teenager.
Here are some ideas for birthdays and other special occasions. From creative ways to package money as a gift to buying shares or donating to a charity of their choice.
Money gift ideas for teens on any occasion
Say it with flowers. Or money that looks like a bouquet of flowers, in this case. They’re pretty easy to make, and you can always pop in a few real stems too.
Hidden money bath bombs
You won’t have to encourage your teens to wash if you give them money bath bombs. You can pick the scent and value.
Once your teen is old enough to start taking driving lessons, you might want to contribute to the cost, perhaps as a 17th birthday present. Fold a £10 note into a car shape, use coins for wheels, and tape it to a card.
Rainy day funds
A money umbrella is a fun take on the idea of saving for a rainy day. Attach notes to umbrella spokes with clothes pins. When they open it up, they’ll be showered in cash.
Freeze coins in blocks of ice. You can do it in layers, so the money gets scattered throughout. Your teens can chip away till they get to the money. Or practice delayed gratification by waiting for it to melt.
Instead of one envelope filled with cash, why not give your teenager several? A cash envelope system can help teens learn to budget. Make your own and label them ‘spend’, ‘save’ and ‘give’ or buy envelopes ready-made.
A GoHenry prepaid debit card for teens comes with our in-app Money Missions tool. Through interactive games and quizzes, they’ll learn how to budget their money, save, invest and more. Learn about GoHenry for teens.
Invest money in a savings account for them
Instead of giving your teenager a bundle of cash, why not invest the money for them? Starting to save young will help them understand the power of compound interest.
There are plenty of savings account options available. You’ll just need to open the account on your child’s behalf. They’ll be able to take control of it when they turn 18.
Donate money to a charity of their choice
Your teen may want money to go towards a savings goal but you can show kids how giving is important by donating some to their favourite charity.
If your teenager has a GoHenry card, you can use the giving feature on the app to donate to the NSPCC.
Buy them shares in a company of their choice
Instead of giving cash, help your teen learn how to invest their money. “Understanding that people can own shares – small pieces of a company – can help kids appreciate that investing doesn’t have to be mysterious and inaccessible. It’s something regular people can do,” says Beth Zemble, VP of Education at GoHenry.
Let your teens pick a company that interests them and buy them shares. There are lots of kid-friendly stocks to choose from. To purchase shares for under-18s, you’ll first need to open a brokerage or custodial account.
Money gift ideas for teens on birthdays
Instead of a traditional birthday cake, give your teens a money cake. You can make it out of cardboard and decorate it with rolled-up notes around the sides. Or put them on top, in place of candles.
For a grand gesture, make a tiered money cake. Cut three circles of foam in different sizes. Place the biggest on the bottom, the second largest on top of that one, and the smallest on top. Stretch a rubber band around each and slot rolled notes around the sides.
To hide cash in a cake, buy a money-pulling cake kit. Place notes in a roll of plastic pockets, roll them back up and place them in the special box provided. Cut out a piece from the centre of the cake and replace it with the box and topper. Ice the cake, and hey presto. When your teen pulls out the topper, a roll of cash appears.
Gift box of money
Roll up notes and tie each with a pretty ribbon. Then fill a box with them. You could use a shop-bought gift box, or wrap a cardboard one. Sit back and watch your teen's face turn from confusion to surprise when they realise they got the gift they wanted after all.
For a special finishing touch, add a money bow to the top of your gift. It doesn’t have to be a bow, either. You can fold notes to make origami butterflies, stars, or hearts. It just might take a little practice!
Put coins or notes inside balloons, then inflate them. Your teen will need to pop the balloons to get to the money. You could even put the balloons inside a big box and wrap it. If you’re doing this, blow up the balloons a day or two before you box them. That way, they won’t deflate before the grand opening.
Hide the money
Stash cash between the leaves of a book by an author you know your teen likes. Or if they’re not great readers, you could fill pairs of socks with notes instead.
Hunt the money
Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Get your kids to play hunt the cash by hiding notes with clues attached to them around the house or backyard. You could add rhymes for younger kids and cryptic clues for older teens.
Gift boxes of your teenager's favourite snacks or sweets and hide money among the packages. If you’re slipping cash into a batch of homemade popcorn, you may want to wrap it in plastic first.
A new wallet is a practical and useful gift. Even better is a wallet stuffed with notes. Just make sure you tell your teen to look inside the wallet when they open their gift.
What’s the best bit of a pizza? In this case, it’s the dough. A pizza box of money may raise a laugh. Although teens are always hungry, you might want to have a slice or two of actual pizza to hand.
Money holiday gift ideas for teens
Buy a fillable tree bauble and fill it with coins or notes. You can get them in your local hobby or craft shop. They often come in little boxes, too, so you can add a layer of disguise to your teen’s festive cash gift.
DIY money trees
Make a festive money wreath. You can dress it up with a Santa hat, sprigs of holly and fir cones for the holidays.
Tissue box of notes
Wrap an empty tissue box in festive paper and fill it with notes. When your teen opens the gift you can remind them not to blow it all at once.
Surprise your teen with a simple-looking box of chocolates full of cash. You’ll have to eat the chocolates first so you can fill up the box, of course.
Count down with cash
Swap a traditional advent calendar for one containing cash. Make an advent yourself or buy a ready-made one with drawers, bags, envelopes, or mini-stockings you can fill with coins or notes.
Photo album of money or gift cards
Gift a photo album filled with notes. You’ll want to buy one with cellophane pages so it’s easy to slip the notes or gift cards inside. You could always add photos too.
Money gift basket
How about a holiday hamper with a twist – of cash? Fill a basket with notes and candy canes, gingerbread, and other festive treats. If your teen asks for cash instead of a gift, this one’s a winner.
Fill two white balloons with notes or coins and tie them together. Add a red pom-pom for the nose, and draw on hands, eyes and mouth. You could even add a ribbon to make the scarf. Remember to sing ‘Do you want to pop a snowman?’ as your teen unwraps their gift.
How can GoHenry help?
Carrying cash can be problematic. It’s easily lost. It can fall out of pockets or wallets or slip down the back of the couch. And in these digital days, some places only accept card payments.
GoHenry’s Giftlinks make giving money to teenagers easy
GoHenry makes gifting money to your teenager easy. A prepaid debit card and app for 6-18-year-olds comes with a companion app for parents. You can transfer money to your teen’s account whenever you want.
92% of parents say their teens are more money-confident, thanks to GoHenry. And while they’re learning financial independence, you get peace of mind. You can set spending limits, pay in pocket money and get notified every time they use their card.