This holiday season, give the gift of greater spending power with something more fun and thoughtful than a stocking full of cash. Consider our annual list of personal gifts that will save the recipients money in the long run—either by eliminating some of their recurring expenses or boosting their earning power. Your friends and family will be sure to remember your sentiment all year long as the savings keep rolling in.
Stocks as stocking stuffers couldn’t be easier with new gift cards from Stockpile. You pick a company to invest in and purchase a gift card for its stock either online or at participating retailers, such as Kmart, Lowe’s, Office Depot and Safeway. You can choose from hundreds of stocks, including all the names in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
The gift card recipient must open a free Stockpile brokerage account online to redeem the card. She can choose to invest in the company you picked or select another. She can even trade your gift in for a standard retailer gift card instead. If she redeems the gift for stock by 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) on a regular trading day, she gets the shares at that day’s closing price. After that time or on a day the market is closed, the trade will be executed at the closing price on the next day the market is open. Depending on the value of the card and the stock, she may wind up with fractional shares.
You choose whatever amount you’d like to give from $1 to $1,000 for electronic gift cards. Physical gift cards can be found in denominations of $25, $50 and $100. You must also pay a $2.99 fee, plus 3% of the face value of the card. But you don’t have to pay sales tax.
An Olive Tree
Give a loved one a taste of Italy—without the airfare—and save them the cost of a year’s worth of olive oil. Nudo is an olive-tree adoption program: You pay to adopt a tree in an olive orchard, and the person who receives your gift will be shipped oil from that tree. The recipient immediately gets a welcome pack, including an adoption certificate and information about how to get started and select a region and grove. Visit Nudo Adopt for information on the individual olive farmers, groves and products.
(Nudo also offers a tea garden adoption program that works similarly.)
Adoption gift packages start at about $59, plus shipping. With this option, Nudo sends to your gift recipient the welcome pack immediately and one shipment of three 500-milliliter olive oil tins in April. Costlier packages include two and four shipments of olive oil.