Anyone with children knows what an unconditional joy it is to be a parent–but also what an expense it can be! The amount of financial support that children need over the course of their development can seem overwhelming along the way, so here are some great, last minute gift ideas that will help alleviate the parental financial burden while being a lasting present for the kids.
After-School Fun A great way to keep a kid healthy and active is to get them involved in after-school activities, so consider turning these activities into gifts. Treating kids to a class or workshop is great fun for them, and a great gift for parents too; the costs of multiple classes really can add up, so taking care of the expenses for at least one activity can go a long way. Whether it’s art classes offered at a nearby museum, music lessons, or recreational sports, there’s bound to be an after-school program for each child’s interest.
Obliterating Credit Card Debt For the responsible teen who perhaps just went a little overboard with the credit card, give the gift of a clean financial slate. Obliterating a credit card balance or helping to pay off high-interest debt for loved ones relieves them of a huge burden. Not only can you help ease the financial stress of debt for financially vulnerable young adults, but you can also help them maintain a good credit rating as they advance into lifestyles and careers that will necessitate one.
Savings Bonds Instant gratification it’s not–but annually investing money into a savings bond account adds up to a great surprise that’s sure to be appreciated on an 18th birthday. Beginning in 2011, you can instantly credit your tax return to a loved one’s savings bond by checking off the “Gift Box” option when filing. You can also directly buy savings bond gift certificates for all occasions through the Treasury website. A 529 PlanThe looming cost of higher education should never put a damper on the joys (and expenses) of having children. A 529 plan, also known as a “qualified tuition plan,” is a great way to contribute to a tax-advantaged savings plan for college tuition. There are also two types of 529 plans to consider: “prepaid tuition” and “college savings.”
- With a prepaid tuition 529 plan, some universities permit the opportunity to buy units or credits in advance for that specific university. Prepaid plans are generally subject to residency requirements, but are guaranteed investments by state governments.
- College savings plans allow an “account holder” to make more flexible investments for college tuition with special tax benefits. A gift of $100 towards college could end up being $1000 when it’s needed!
This post was compiled with assistance from Jacoba Urist, our family finance expert. Take a minute to check out Jac’s most recent article on family loans.