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I remember the first time I saw a friend get money as a gift at a birthday party. My friend’s parents had wrapped at least fifty one-dollar bills into a giant bankroll with little pieces of scotch tape.

For me, I had personally never been so jealous. I, too, wanted to feel like a mob boss with a thick roll of money to show off to my friends.

So parents, friends, adults, and guardians looking for creative ways to give money to a teenager: you, too, can help your teenager feel like a powerful mob boss for a second or two.

All jokes aside, teenagers love money as a gift, but they’ll love it even more if you give it to them with a little more thought and creativity!

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What are creative ways to give money to a teenager as a gift?

Giving gift money to a teenager in creative ways will help prolong the gift-giving process and make a relatively impersonal gift feel personal. To make it feel more fun, all you need to do is focus on how you display the money or how difficult it is to get to, in order to make it last.

1. Tissue box

To make the tissue box, get some crisp ones and lay them on top of each other. Tape one end of the bill to the opposite end of the bill on top of it so it pulls upward in a zig-zag. Tape the final bill to a tissue and poke it out of the top of the tissue box.

Alternatively, you can simply buy the money tissue box you can see in the image above! If you don’t like the see-through box, either wrap it in wrapping paper, put it inside a large tissue (or other) box or, as it’s actually designed for, stick it in a cake!

Depending on how many bills you’re using, you may want to cushion them on top of some poly-fill or tissue paper, so the tissue can actually poke out of the top of the box. This is a great way to hide money as a gift, as they won’t find the money until they need the tissue!

2. Pull-top can of veggies

Use a can-opener to get the pull-top off of the can without bending it. Clear out the contents and clean the can. Then, insert a roll of bills taped together. Tape the innermost bill to the bottom of the pull-top, then hot-glue the top of the can back on.

You may or may not want to sand down the edges of the top of the can when you are ready to glue it back on, considering the edges can be crazy sharp.

This is a great way to gift a large sum of money because the inside of the can is roomy enough for a ton of bills, even if they’re just ones taped together. And your teenager will feel like they’ve become rich overnight!

3. Money making machine

This may be one of the more annoying ways to give money – at least if you choose to make it yourself. To make the “machine,” hot glue a base and two arms of cardboard to make a “U” shape. On the arms of the stand, cut two holes each to insert markers that will act as the machine’s rollers.

On the bottom marker, tape a piece of long white paper the width of a dollar bill. Make this as long as you want, but somewhere along the length of the paper, hide a true bill. Roll up the paper so it’s secured between the bottom and top marker when you put them in the stand.

If all that sounds too hard to make, you can simply grab this money making machine – which is actually the one you see in the picture above!

As they pull on the paper, the markers should be able to spin, so the paper comes unrolled. Voila! They’ve printed money!

4. Dress shirt

Depending on their personality, this might be one of the best money gift ideas for a teenage boy. To really sell it, get a shirt box from Dillards or another clothing store. Tape a layer of tissue paper to the bottom of the box as the stage for crafting your money shirt.

To make the shirt, make an even layer of money by taping the bottom of the bill to the tissue paper. To make the collar, fold a few bills in half, then tape them into a circle. For the tie, make a fan with the bill, then tape the tie to the collar.

Tape some quarters down the middle for some buttons, and you’ve made a very dashing dress shirt.

5. Money tree

We all wish money could grow on trees, so how about the next best thing to that?

That is, this money tree provides both a pretty nice-looking centerpiece and a truly creative way to give money to a teenager. In fact, as you can see from the image above, you can’t even really tell it’s money at first. 

This can make it fun for you too – let’s see how long your teenager takes to notice the cash “growing” from their new favorite little shrub!

6. A “notes” pad

With a fresh stack of bills from the bank, you can make this fun way to give money using a piece of cardboard, some cardstock, binder clips, and padding compound. Lay your pre-cut cardboard, bills, and cardstock cover on top of each other and clip together to start.

Your arrangement should be cardboard on the bottom, bills in the middle, and cardstock on top, so it looks like a notepad. Clipping them together ensures they don’t slip in the gluing process. Use a cheap paintbrush to apply coats of the padding compound to the top of the “notebook.”

Apply in thin layers until the glue looks bubbly and tacky. This way, when they want to pull a bill from the notebook, it should come apart from the glue easily; however, it won’t fall apart inside of the notebook. And remember what money is made of, so don’t get any glue on the notes or the gift may not go entirely to plan.

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7. Photo album

Hiding money in a photo album is a great way to prank a teenager who may be less than thrilled to receive family photos as a gift. To make the photo album, fill one or two pages with photos before putting bills in the remaining slots.

If you really want to be mean, put a ton of embarrassing photos in there and hide the money behind the pictures. You can also opt to be less cruel and just start straight off with the pages of bills. It might depend on how long you want the gag to last.

8. Cold hard cash frozen money block

frozen money as a way to gift money to a teenager

To make a block of frozen money, put a rubber band around your wad of cash and put it in a rectangular silicone-cake mold. Put only enough water in the bottom to cover the bottom bills. After the first layer freezes, cover the whole stack with water and freeze it.

To gift the frozen money, it might be even more fun to use an ice cream carton, a frozen dinner box, or, make dollar bill ice cubes and put them in a drink (that they most certainly should not actually drink).

How do you freeze your money?

To freeze your money, lay the stack of money taped or banded together in a thin layer of water in a silicone dish. Once the first layer freezes, cover the top of the money with water and freeze it. The silicone will allow you to peel away the outside to get to the ice block.

Is it okay to put money in the freezer?

Yes, it’s okay to freeze money. Money is made of a mixture of cotton and linen, which means it won’t fall apart if it gets wet. It also won’t get brittle or fragile if you leave the money by itself in the freezer.

9. “Fat stack o’ chedda” Velveeta box of money

If you’re wondering how to wrap money for a gift, this Velveeta box with a fresh label is a great way to get a giggle out of the recipient. To the Velveeta box, tape a page with a yellow background that says “Fat Stack O’ Chedda,” then hide the stack of money inside the box.

For those who are a little more tech-savvy, you may even be able to crop the Velveeta label, so the only thing you’re replacing is the brand name. That way, it will really look like a Velveeta box.

10. Pizza

Anyone called for a special delivery of “fresh dough”?

Let’s be honest: getting pizza is pretty exciting in itself. But opening up the box to the money pizza you can see in the picture above would definitely go beyond the sort of delivery most people are expecting. It’s actually really easy to make and looks incredibly effective as a creative way to give money to a teenager – and if your teen likes peperoni, the coins are a nice added touch!

The one in the picture above is made from one dollar bills, but if you’re feeling particularly generous and are looking to gift a large sum of money, you could easily increase the value of the bills so the pizza is worth three figures – or even four figures of money, if you’re looking to give the best pizza ever!

11. Origami money ring and ring box

This is one of the better money gift ideas for a teenage girl. All it requires is a cheap ring box from a craft store and a little bit of folding. Chances are they’ll still be excited about the prospect of a ring, so finding both a ring and some cash would be a nice surprise.

It’s worth mentioning that this will only work somewhere like the US where you deal with paper types of money. Anywhere where the money is plastic, you may have to try another option on this list as it won’t hold the origami shape.

For instructions on folding money into a ring, try the instructional video below. As for the ring box, you can find one at most major craft stores and sometimes at Walmart.

12. Advent calendar

advent calendar as a fun way to give money gift ideas for a teenage girl or boy

Advent calendars don’t have to be just for Christmas. You can purchase or make a fillable advent calendar and stuff different denominations in each slot, so leading up to Christmas, birthdays, or other events, they can attract money through getting a little bit more each day they open one.

13. Money book mark

Depending on how mean you are, you might want to save this idea for teenagers that actually like to read. Gift them a book (ideally one they actually want) and somewhere in the book, hide the money as a bookmark, so they find it when they read that far.

14. Scavenger hunt

Draw a map or take a picture as the only clue to where you hid the money. The worse the drawing is, the better, in my opinion. They’ll have to use their brains and maybe even get some exercise to find the money where you hid it.

If you hid it somewhere away from your home, you might as well go all out and hide it well so someone else doesn’t find it first.

15. Dollar bill gift bag

This is one of the cutest, most creative ways to give money for a 16th birthday. The reason I love this idea is that you can put more money inside, or you can put a ring, a car key, or another small gift in the bag once it’s finished. It’s cute and versatile! 

To make the gift bag, check out the video tutorial below.

16. Peppermint rolls

To make the rolls, cut a piece of wrapping paper the length of the roll of money, then tape the paper around it. Next, cut some cellophane with an extra inch on each side. Wrap the roll in the cellophane and twist the edges to make a cute candy wrapper.

17. Balloon pop

Roll the money tightly before sticking it into uninflated balloons. Blow the balloons up around the bills and tie them in. The recipient will have to pop the balloons to get the money inside, making it a gift and a game.

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.