Last-Minute Gifts with a Personal Finance Twist

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Need some last-minute gift ideas for the holidays?  Never fear, we’re here to help — though you’ll have to excuse us for the pervasive money theme we can’t seem to shake.

For Kids

TOY CASH REGISTER.  Give kids under 6 a cash register, and they will inevitably set up an imaginary store — just try it.  Pretend play is great for development, and kids will start getting a sense for money and commerce.

MONOPOLY DEAL.  Monopoly is great, except for the three hours it takes to play and no one following the actual rules (PSA: you’re supposed to auction off properties someone lands on but doesn’t buy).  Monopoly Deal is a card-based alternative that’s quick to play and arguably more fun than the original.  Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of cash involved, and kids will also get an early education in wheeling and dealing in real estate.

KIVA.  Kiva crowdfunds small loans to low-income business owners all over the world.  You can give a Kiva Card in an amount as little as $25 and involve kids in the process of choosing a local business owner who can put that money to work to improve their life, family, and community.

COLD, HARD CASH.  In the immortal words of Charlie Brown’s younger sister, “How about tens and twenties?”  If your kids don’t get an allowance, giving them money to spend on toys of their choice is a good exercise in the learning the value (and limits) of money.  This can then turn into a fun activity over the holidays of taking your kids (or nieces, nephews or grandchildren) to the store and helping them choose how to spend their money.

For Everyone Else

THE ONE-PAGE FINANCIAL PLAN, by Carl Richards.  The most accessible and to-the-point personal finance book I’ve read.  For those who want to dive deeper into financial planning and prefer a DIY approach, this makes a great gift.

GET A FINANCIAL LIFE, by Beth Kobliner.  Written for graduates and young professionals in their 20s and early 30s who are just starting to tackle money questions, this is a more nuts-and-bolts book.  It provides comprehensive Personal Finance 101 advice with easy-to-follow guides and tips.

LAKE SUCCESS, by Gary Shteyngart.  For those fiction lovers in your life, try this fantastic new novel about a New York hedge fund manager who contemplates his crumbling family and career on a Greyhound trip across America (sans credit cards and iPhone), all against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election.  A funny yet piercing reminder of the complicated relationship between money (even gobs of it) and happiness.

BULLET JOURNAL. For the organizational nut in your life, the Bullet Journal is a fresh approach to organizing every aspect of your life. The framework provides a great deal of flexibility and will breath new life and mindfulness into your organizational efforts.  Here are examples of how some are using the journal to keep better track of  their finances. I particularly love the artistic spin on tracking a savings goal.

Ready for more? Check out our online personal finance courses designed to address the most pressing money questions and help you develop a financial plan.