[Welcome to another installment of Future Proof posts on Physician's Money Digest (PMD). It turns out not many of you were clicking thru to read the entire post at PMD. So instead of listing an excerpt below with a link to PMD for the full article, the entire article will be included. However, you can still go to PMD to read the full post.]
I hope you haven't waited this long to do your Christmas shopping. But if you did, here are some last-minute gift ideas.
Traditional Gifts: If you are looking for a classic gift – i.e. you spend money for stuff that may make someone else happy, here are a few recommendations.
- Google Home ($129) – This innocuous looking voice-activated speaker may bear resemblance to your garden variety air freshener, but it does so much more. Powered by the constantly improving Google Assistant, the recipient of your gift is going to find him/herself beginning a lot of sentences with “OK Google.”
- Amazon Echo Dot ($39.99) – The Amazon Echo ($139.99) was the original smart home speaker. The Echo Dot lowers the barrier to entry to an affordable $39. Given its first-to-market status, the Echo currently has more ways to connect with other apps and devices than the Google Home. Although I’m sure Google will soon catch up and overtake Amazon in the race for the ultimate smart home given the incredible power behind Google search. Still, the Echo Dot would make a great holiday stocking stuffer for the foreseeable future.
- Automatic Adapter ($79.95-109.95) – Ever forget where you parked your car? The Automatic car adapter will eliminate that problem for you. The Automatic plugs into your car’s OBD-II port and allow you to track your trips, classify them as personal or business for tax purposes, diagnose engine lights and call 911 in case of an emergency. Best of all, you can easily access your information online at Automatic.com or via the Automatic mobile app. The Lite version retails for $79.95. A Pro version which comes with unlimited 3G data for 5 years is also available for $129.95 (Currently on sale for $109.95).
- Nintendo NES Classic Edition ($59.99-much higher) – If your friend or family member was/is a gamer, this one will be a sure hit. Unfortunately, it’s sold out everywhere at the MSRP of $59.99. In fact, I visited my local Best Buy yesterday and found a line of people camped outside for one. You can snag one from eBay or Craigslist but be prepared to pay a lot more.
- Google Chromecast & Chromecast Ultra ($25-69) – Of all the gadgets in my possession, the Chromecast ranks as the third most used behind my iPhone and my MacBook Air. For a mere $25, The Chromecast will stream music, pictures and videos straight onto your giant flat screen TV. If you want to get fancy, the Chromecast Ultra lets you stream 4K media content for $69.
FPMD Recommendations: If you are reading this post, you are likely interested in something more substantial than material goods. Here are some gifts that will keep on giving.
- 529s – Do you have a child you care about? A 529 education savings plan would make a great holiday gift. If the child already has a 529 plan set up by the parents, consider making a contribution. A 529 is a great tax-advantaged way to save for college. Learn more about 529s and other education savings plans HERE.
- Financial Peace University (FPU) by Dave Ramsey ($89-119) – “The money class that will change your life.” I have not personally taken the class. But I’ve been a long-time follower of Dave Ramsey and have seen first-hand the transformation FPU graduates could achieve. It’s not a gimmick, it’s a tried and true way of getting people out of debt and start building meaningful wealth. Do you know anyone who is struggling with debt? This is one gift that will keep on giving long after this holiday season.
- AwardWallet Membership (FREE-$5/6 months) – Do you know someone who have lots of rewards memberships to keep track of? Hotel rewards, frequent flyer programs, Starbucks? Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one place to keep track of all that information? That’s exactly what AwardWallet aims to achieve. A basic membership is FREE but comes with some limitations. I recommend the Plus membership which gives you more features for the low price of $5 every 6 months.
- 1Password ($2.99-$4.99/month) – Have you heard of the latest embarrassing news out of Yahoo? Who knew they had a billion users’ info to lose?! Regardless of whether you are a Yahoo user, the once-internet giant’s latest struggles should make you rethink internet security. I’ve been using 1Password for years to manage my passwords, bank accounts and other sensitive information. It has only gotten better with time. I use the app multiple times daily on my iPhone, my MacBook Air and my Windows Desktop.
- Donate to a Charity – You may have heard of the adage “it’s better to give than to receive.” Turns out it’s not all altruistic, you end up feeling happier when you give. So open your heart, and your wallet, give to a charity of your choice. This weekend, I will share with you how I chose to make my donations this year. Stay tuned…
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