The really great, memorable gifts tend to have certain characteristics in common. They’re usually thoughtful – they reflect an element of the recipient’s personality, or connect in some way to the relationship between the giver and the receiver. Great gifts are also often wanted or needed. They provide value, or at least the perception of value.
The value of a gift can be sentimental or emotional, but it can also be very tangible – as in monetary. You don’t have to give cash to help pad a loved one’s bank account. Instead, you can buy them a money-friendly gift, one that provides real value (and savings) every time they use it.
Subscription to a streaming content service
Cable is expensive. Getting rid of cable can save a lot of money. If there’s someone on your list shelling out big money every month for cable consider giving them a year of streaming television and movies through services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Instant access to thousands of hours of streaming content should help convince them to ditch their pricey cable subscription.
Streaming media player
They’ve got the streaming content, now they just need a way to get that content to their TV. Streaming media players connect your TV to your home WiFi signal, enabling you to watch streaming video on your home entertainment system. Roku, Apple TV, ChromeCast, and Amazon’s Fire TV are all popular streaming media options.
If you know someone who loves books but doesn’t have an eBook reader yet, now’s the time to give the gift of electronic books. High quality eBook readers are incredibly cheap, and eBooks are almost always significantly cheaper than their printed counterparts. Plus, as much as I love printed books, they have a tendency to take up space and they weigh a ton when you have to move.
Try as you might to keep them under control, your utility bills can easily undermine your whole budget. Luckily there’s some pretty great technology out there to help you manage your usage. A smart thermostat like Nest is one way to lower your monthly heating and cooling bills.
Light occupancy sensor
Some people just can’t remember to turn off the lights. It seems like such a small thing, but it can really throw off your electricity bill. If you know someone who struggles with this particular affliction, give them some light occupancy sensors. When no one’s around, the lights go off. Money is saved and no one gets yelled at by their dad.
Just like heat and light, wasting water will cost you money. Waterpebble is a cool little device that helps train you to take shorter showers. It learns how long your showers usually last and then cuts 7 seconds off each shower that follows. Eventually short showers become the new normal.
Power strips can do more than just provide extra outlets. Smart strips are power strips that understand when a device isn’t in use and cut off the flow of electricity (because even if they’re off, your devices are always drawing power if they’re plugged in). Less electricity used means a smaller electric bill.
Like a lot of technology, rechargeable batteries weren’t all that great when they first showed up. They’re much more efficient now, and a very money-friendly (and environment-friendly) alternative to disposable batteries.
Homemade is often less expensive than store bought, but not everything can be made at home. One homemade replacement that can save you money (especially if you’ve got a substantial habit) is carbonating your own soda pop. Soda isn’t exactly all that good for you, but if you’ve got to have it, better to save money and make it yourself.
What a gift it is to know how to do something. Knowing how to do things like change your oil or fix minor plumbing issues can save you huge amounts of money over the course of your life. So don’t forget what a valuable gift knowledge can be. If you know how to do something, offer to teach it to a friend or a loved one. Give a how-to book or pay for classes. Knowledge is the one gift that never needs to be replaced or renewed and it keeps its value forever.