The holidays are a time for family, friends, love and, of course, gifts. At Mint.com, we’re always thinking about personal finance — even when it comes to holiday giving. But giving a personal finance gift doesn’t have to mean sticking a savings bond in a stocking.
This article is filled with fun gifts to remind your family and friends of solid financial habits year round.
Personalized Piggy Banks
Has your friend, family member, significant other, niece or nephew, mentioned a goal for which they’ve had trouble saving? Get them a piggy bank with that goal in mind. You can get one for less than $30 at mybambino.com, decorated with a hand-painted message. For instance, you could have a child’s one dedicated to space camp or an adult one for vacation savings. Even if they don’t put one red cent in the bank, they’ll be reminded of their goal whenever they glance at their personalized ceramic swine.
Games and Artsy Piggy Banks
If you have an unlimited budget, you can buy a full size pinball or arcade machine to be used as the ultimate piggyback. But for the rest of us, try the 80s throwback Tetris Mini Arcade Coin Bank for under $30. Your lucky giftee can stock away some coinage while trying to reach a new high score.
For those on your list who love irony — and if you don’t mind shelling out $150 – check out the piggy bank, designed for those who thought they’d save money when pigs fly.
For elementary-aged piggy bankers, consider belly banks. There’s nothing cuter (with the exception of puppies and kittens, of course) than dinosaur belly banks. Kids deposit money in the mouth and watch coins drop into the dinosaur’s belly, similar to a reverse of a gumball machine. You can get a coinasaurus for under $40. For more of a teaching angle, try the Money Savvy Pig for less than $20. Kids can deposit coins into four separate areas: save, spend, donate and invest.
Movies that teach us about personal finance go beyond “Wall Street” and “Trading Places.” “The Pursuit of Happyness” is an amazing film about the power of determination, and my favorite personal finance film of all time is “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” about what can happen when your money starts to control your life – instead of the other way around. For more on money movies for adults see 10 Movies that Can Teach You About Money.
For kiddos, and soemthing nostalgic for Generation X and Y, School House Rock has a DVD set for less than $20 with Money Rock in addition to old favorites like “Conjunction Junction”. Money Rock explains taxes, allowances, and “Tyrannosaurus Debt.”
Stock in Their Favorite Company
For most kids – and some adults – stock certificates in a stocking might as well be a lump of coal. But if it’s from their favorite company, with a small gift certificate attached, stocks become more fun. You can get a kid a share of Mattel with a Disney / PIXAR TOY STORY KER PLUNK!® Game, or a teenager or adult: a share of Starbucks with a $10 gift certificate. Both of these stock and gift pairings currently cost less than $50. If your gift is used as intended, those stock shares will spark an interest in investing that, ideally, will hold for years and help them become rich!
No matter the age of the person for whome you’re shopping, Suessisms for Success is a fun book and an inexpensive holiday present at under $10.
Need more ideas? The Sims 2 Best of Business Collection simulation game for running a business is less than $10 for the PC download. If you prefer a practical gift, make sure it’s targeted. For instance, someone who has a lot of student loan debt could us a copy of my book, CliffsNotes Graduation Debt: How to Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life, while someone who needs help with investment basics could use Eric Tyson’s Personal Finance for Dummies, or Ben Stein’s The Little Book of Bulletproof Investing: Do’s and Don’ts to Protect Your Financial Life (Little Books. Big Profits).
Reyna Gobel is a freelance journalist who specializes in financial fitness. She is also the author of Graduation Debt: How To Manage Student Loans and Live Your Life.