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Creative Money Gift Ideas for Adults and Kids of All Ages

Prefer to give a money-related gift instead of just more stuff to accumulate? Try one of these money gift ideas.

Justin Cupler

Contributing Writer at Tally

November 2, 2022

When it comes time to give a gift to the person who has one of everything or has a distinct interest in money and budgeting, a money gift idea may be in order. But what are your options? Do you just wrap up a bundle of cash and hand it to the recipient? 

You can do that, but why not make it a little more interesting or focus on them learning how to manage cash instead of just handing them a stack of dollar bills?

Below, we outline four creative money gift ideas for people of all ages — adults, teens and young kids. Some ideas involve cold hard cash, while others focus more on helping them develop financial literacy.

4 money gift ideas for adults

When giving the gift of money to adults, you can be a little more open with your gift, as adults tend to have a good grasp on personal finances and proper money management skills. Here are some great money gift ideas for the adults in your life.


Is this gift for an avid reader who’s also looking to hone their money-management skills? You can pick up one of the many personal finance books and give them the gift of enhanced financial literacy.

There’s no shortage of finance books on the market on a range of topics, including:

  • Budgeting

  • Investing

  • Retirement

  • Saving

  • Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange transfer funds (EFTs)

  • Cryptocurrency

There's a book on whatever piques their interest in the financial world, and you’ll likely find it on Amazon. This is a great gift because it not only helps the recipient, but they can pass the book on to others after they’re done, making it the gift that keeps on giving.

2. Budgeting software subscription

Let’s cut to the chase; some of the best budgeting software can get downright expensive. Sure, free options are available, but the paid ones often offer some of the most robust tools, such as EveryDollar, You Need A Budget (YNAB), and others.

Giving a yearly subscription to helpful budgeting software can push their money management skills to a new level. Or, if you can’t pull off an annual subscription in one shot, you can always just pay monthly and make it their annual gift.

If the gift recipient decides they want to change things up one year, you can cancel the existing subscription and get them a new one. Then, maybe they can use the budgeting software to budget a sweet present for you, too.

You can also get creative with the gift delivery, too. Maybe put a copy of the printable subscription confirmation in a gift box wrapped in dollar bills or come up with other crafty ways to disguise the piece of paper.

3. Financial literacy courses

Financial literacy courses may be the perfect choice if your gift recipient isn’t the book-reading type. Loads of courses are available through personal finance websites and learning sites, such as Udemy or Coursera. These courses are relatively inexpensive and can help someone connect the dots to solid personal finances.

You can also book them time with a financial advisor or a certified financial planner to help jumpstart their retirement or simply set up a workable budget.

4. Pay their school expenses

Current college students or recent college graduates are often strapped for cash. So, paying a portion of their student loan payments or their classes for the semester can take a huge burden off their shoulders. If you don’t know their loan payment or the cost of their courses, it may take some reconnaissance to figure out. Asking open-ended questions may get you enough information to make an educated guess and get close.

However, if you’re on a fixed gift-giving budget, you can simply give them the cash you were planning to spend on a gift and earmark it for their school costs.

If their school sells gift cards for the bookstore, this can also come in handy. Whether the student is just picking up basic supplies or buying those infamously expensive textbooks, that gift card will be helpful.

4 money gift ideas for teens and tweens

Teens and tweens are just getting the hang of working with their own money, as some have part-time jobs, whereas the younger ones may only earn money doing chores or occasional jobs like babysitting or mowing lawns. Either way, they’re still ready to start building their foundation for financial literacy and freedom, and here are some money gift ideas they may enjoy.

1. A break-in-case-of-emergency cash box

You know those “break glass in case of emergency” boxes with a fire extinguisher behind the glass. You can buy something similar built for cold hard cash. Buy the box and fill it with the gift money you intended to give.

The recipient can use the cash to buy something they want, or they can use it as a rainy day or emergency fund. The choice is theirs, but you did your part to help out financially in a unique way with this fun idea.

2. Money origami

Are you the crafty type who loves DIY gifts but your loved one needs cash instead of a cute decoration you made yourself? You can hit both in one shot with money origami. You can find a range of origami patterns online that show you how to make everything from a simple bird or candy wrapper to a more complex dog or shirt and tie.

If you make the origami out of smaller bills, you can make a variety of designs that your loved one can display around their room. And if the need arises, they can unfold one and use it.

3. Money games

Teens and tweens often love games, making family game time perfect to inject some financial lessons. You can buy them a board game that focuses on money and how to manage it, but is also fun to play. Some games that come to mind are:

  • Monopoly

  • The Allowance Game

  • Game of Life

  • Pay Day

  • Greed

  • Catan

You can also get Monopoly for one of the major consoles if they are more into video games. Other video games, such as The Sims or SimCity, teach kids how money works in real life. Some of these games have more mature themes, so you may want to play the game yourself to determine if it’s appropriate for your child.

4. Money pizza

What teen or tween doesn’t love pizza? A money pizza is one of the more creative money gift ideas because they’ll never know. You can buy a new, empty pizza box online and place cash in the box in the shape of the pizza.

Depending on your DIY skills, you can make this money pizza as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can simply tape cash into the box in a rough circle and tape quarters to the bills as pepperoni and call it a day. You can also get more elaborate by rolling up bills and placing them around the circumference to give the “pizza” a nice crust.

Then, after all their presents are open and it’s time for pizza, sneak the box in with the other pizzas and let the teen or tween open it. Imagine the shock when they see all that green in place of a deliciously cheesy pizza. What a great gift they’ll talk about for years.

4 money gift ideas for young children

Young children may not be ready to learn in-depth financial tips, but they should start learning how money works and how to save it. However, they’re too young for jobs, so you need creative ways to give money as a gift while keeping them entertained. Here are some fun ways to give cash gifts to young kids.

1. Money tree

A money tree is a clever way to give money to a younger kid as a gift. If you celebrate Christmas, you can use this as the perfect Christmas gift by fashioning it as a miniature Christmas tree, decorations and all. 

If your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, this fun money gift idea can also be a birthday gift or a gift for any other holiday season, and you can shape it as a pine tree, palm tree or any other tree you’d like.

You can find a range of money tree tutorials online to fit any gift-giving reason. Just make sure to explain to your kid that money doesn’t actually grow on trees.

2. Money box

A money box is another unique homemade gift that involves cash. In this DIY project, you build a small box made from a smaller bill, then place one or more folded-up larger bills inside the box, which act as the actual gift. Then, tie the money box lid closed.

Your younger kid will get a kick out of the tiny money box and be excited to open it and discover the larger bill. You can find plenty of templates and tutorials online for making a money box.

3. Money cake

A money cake is a fun way to surprise a younger kid with some cash. Get a piece of craft foam and cut it in a circle or buy a pre-cut circle, then roll up smaller bills and tape them to the circle’s circumference to make the “icing” on the sides. You can add folded bills to create the icing on top.

You can find loads of templates for building this unique gift of cash. This can also work well as a graduation gift for an older teen or a wedding gift for adults.

4. Money balloons

Young kids are generally infatuated with balloons. Batting them around, playing with them, sticking them to their hair — the fun doesn’t stop. Near the end of most young kids’ parties comes balloon-popping time. Set aside a special group of balloons just for the birthday boy or girl and put a small bill in each balloon to turn them into money balloons.

Imagine their excitement when they get the joy of popping balloons and the surprise of cash inside each one.

Give the gift of cash or financial literacy instead of more stuff

Getting stuff as a gift is great, but isn’t it more enjoyable to choose your own gifts or get a gift that keeps on giving, like financial literacy and freedom? With these creative money gift ideas for all ages, you can give that perfect gift for that special someone.

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