When it comes to gift giving, we all know the expression "it's the thought that counts". And as a parent, it can take a lot of thought to find the right balance of gifts that are thoughtful, useful, and loved by the recipient.
Here are a few awesome gift ideas that will do double duty by helping you to raise money-savvy kids.
4 Pocket Allowance
Why not put one of our allowance kits under the tree. They'll be excited about having their own Spending money going forward. And you'll be excited, not only through them learning about Saving, Investing and Giving, but also by never having to hear "Can you buy me this?" again.
I've followed Jocko Willink in the past, through his books and interviews, but I think his two kids books are among the favourite books I have read (to my kids and otherwise). Through these two books, follow Marc and his navy seal Uncle Jake. There are so many important life skills like setting goals and perserverance, and even the importance of taking good care of the things you own. But the magic is that they're presented through a character that kids will intrinsically respect and want to listen to. Check out our blog post on book 2.
Learning through Play
Boardgames make great gifts - and provide great family time over the holidays. Dont' forget about some of the classics, like Monopoly and The Game of Life, that familiarize kids with the concepts of money.
Is your youngster saving their pennies for a big ticket item? Maybe a new video game console, or the brand name wardrobe. While we may be tempted to step in and buy it for them this time of year, we'd be taking away the satisfaction of having saved the money themselves. But you may want to consider rewarding their hard work, but giving them a boost. If they've saved $200 for the $400 game unit, maybe gift them $100 towards the final goal. That way they still feel like they did the saving themselves, but the gift will keep them motivated and help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, and if you're feeling that opening the envelope of cash is anti-climatic, don't forget you can still put on your creative hat...for example, find the biggest box you can, and fit it with random smaller boxes....wrap them, add other fillers, and somewhere towards the bottom, plant a small box with the cash, or use small denominations that are hidden throughout - I mean, they still have to work for it - nothing comes for free!
Forget about the Toys
Have you ever been buying for kids that you know are already getting a mountain of toys? Or little ones that you know have no concept of Christmas and will be more excited about the box? Why not literally just gift the empty box, and then make a contribution to their education account.
The Gift of Corporate Ownership
For older kids, check out giveashare.com where you can buy a framed share of a famous stock (like Disney, Nintendo or Nike). Even an unruly teenage might think it's cool to own a piece of one of these companies.
Don't Forget the Stocking Stuffers
One of our longstanding traditions is to give the gift of a commemorative coin in each stocking. You can find lots of fun options from your local Mint, but check out currencies around the world. We have the New Zealand and Australian Mints have lots of kid-friendly options, like Disney and Star Wars. Anyone who thinks that coin collections are boring, hasn't checked these out!