14 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Here are 14 last-minute gifts for everyone on your list.

Image: Geber86

The post 14 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List appeared first on Credit.com.

21 Top Holiday Gifts Under $100 for Him or Her

We've rounded up 21 holidays gifts under $100.

Image: BraunS

The post 21 Top Holiday Gifts Under $100 for Him or Her appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Get The Hot Holiday Toys Your Kids Want

holiday-toys-for-kids

Every fall, many larger retailers release their list of the top hot holiday toys. Kids tend to flock toward the items on these lists.

While parents and family members want to get the things kids want, there are obstacles that come up. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the toys your kids are dreaming of, you just have to know how to play the game. Here are a few tips to help you get those big ticket items that your kids are asking for.

Shop Early

The items on these list are getting the most exposure, which can increase the demand. If you know your child wants something on a hot toy list and you find it in stock, you probably don’t want to hesitate to buy it. Even though the holidays are still a couple months away, if you don’t buy it now, you may not find it again.

Avoid Waiting for a Sale

Retailers have a pretty good idea about which items will draw in the most sales. Because of this, the odds of them lowering prices on these in-demand items can be pretty slim, as they don’t need to offer an incentive for people to buy. That means most of the items on these lists will not go on sale this year. If you try to wait for a price drop, you will more than likely miss out on getting them.

Split the Cost

If something it a bit out of your budget, ask a family member to share the cost with you. Buying one larger toy can actually be more cost effective than getting two or three smaller items.

And if you decide you just can’t get them the items they’re dreaming of, whether because of availability or if it’s out of your budget, here are a few alternatives.

Redirect Your Kids

While some of the items look incredible, consider sitting down with your kids and find out what they really would like and use. Something might appeal to them only because they have seen it advertised. But is that something they actually want? Will they still be playing with it in a few months?

Limit Your Shopping

This year, try a different gift-giving tactic. For instance, give the “five gifts” system a try. This is where you purchase five total gifts for your child. These include items like:

  1. A book to read
  2. An item they need
  3. Something to wear
  4. A toy they want
  5. Something to share

Create your holiday list and budget and be careful not to allow temptation to sway you to spend more.

Have a Back-up Plan

Even if you have the budget set to be able to grab that hot toy, you might not be able to find it. The most popular items sell out quickly. Don’t go too out of the way trying to find something in stock. Create a back-up plan. Ask your children for different ideas. That way, when you can’t find one toy, you can still give them something they want.

The holidays are not just about the gifts. Sure, we want to give our children what they want, but we need to keep our sanity (and our finances) in check. Getting them the hot toy of the moment (which may no longer be interesting to them in a few months) certainly isn’t worth going into credit card debt over. Not only can this damage your finances, but it can also harm your credit. You can keep an eye on how your holiday spending affects your credit by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Image: tatyana_tomsickova

The post How to Get The Hot Holiday Toys Your Kids Want appeared first on Credit.com.

How to Get The Hot Holiday Toys Your Kids Want

holiday-toys-for-kids

Every fall, many larger retailers release their list of the top hot holiday toys. Kids tend to flock toward the items on these lists.

While parents and family members want to get the things kids want, there are obstacles that come up. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the toys your kids are dreaming of, you just have to know how to play the game. Here are a few tips to help you get those big ticket items that your kids are asking for.

Shop Early

The items on these list are getting the most exposure, which can increase the demand. If you know your child wants something on a hot toy list and you find it in stock, you probably don’t want to hesitate to buy it. Even though the holidays are still a couple months away, if you don’t buy it now, you may not find it again.

Avoid Waiting for a Sale

Retailers have a pretty good idea about which items will draw in the most sales. Because of this, the odds of them lowering prices on these in-demand items can be pretty slim, as they don’t need to offer an incentive for people to buy. That means most of the items on these lists will not go on sale this year. If you try to wait for a price drop, you will more than likely miss out on getting them.

Split the Cost

If something it a bit out of your budget, ask a family member to share the cost with you. Buying one larger toy can actually be more cost effective than getting two or three smaller items.

And if you decide you just can’t get them the items they’re dreaming of, whether because of availability or if it’s out of your budget, here are a few alternatives.

Redirect Your Kids

While some of the items look incredible, consider sitting down with your kids and find out what they really would like and use. Something might appeal to them only because they have seen it advertised. But is that something they actually want? Will they still be playing with it in a few months?

Limit Your Shopping

This year, try a different gift-giving tactic. For instance, give the “five gifts” system a try. This is where you purchase five total gifts for your child. These include items like:

  1. A book to read
  2. An item they need
  3. Something to wear
  4. A toy they want
  5. Something to share

Create your holiday list and budget and be careful not to allow temptation to sway you to spend more.

Have a Back-up Plan

Even if you have the budget set to be able to grab that hot toy, you might not be able to find it. The most popular items sell out quickly. Don’t go too out of the way trying to find something in stock. Create a back-up plan. Ask your children for different ideas. That way, when you can’t find one toy, you can still give them something they want.

The holidays are not just about the gifts. Sure, we want to give our children what they want, but we need to keep our sanity (and our finances) in check. Getting them the hot toy of the moment (which may no longer be interesting to them in a few months) certainly isn’t worth going into credit card debt over. Not only can this damage your finances, but it can also harm your credit. You can keep an eye on how your holiday spending affects your credit by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.

Image: tatyana_tomsickova

The post How to Get The Hot Holiday Toys Your Kids Want appeared first on Credit.com.

4 Etiquette Tips for Returning a Gift

return_a_gift

Unless you’ve surrounded yourself with real-life Leslie Knopes who give incredibly thoughtful gifts, you probably ended up with few a duds over the years. Perhaps they’re sitting at home right now, collecting dust in your attic. There’s not much sense in holding onto bad gifts, but how do you go about tossing them? We asked etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith, owner of Mannersmith, an etiquette consulting company, for tips on how to deal with the awkwardness of returning a gift.

1. Give it Time to Grow on You

Whether it’s a gift from a clueless relative or a random present from an office exchange, you may have dismissed the gift because it doesn’t suit your taste. That’s fine, but don’t let first impressions sway you. “The first thing people need to do is look at the gift and say, ‘This gift is not perfect for me right now, but could it be in the not-so-distant future?'” Smith said. The item could end up being something you love or find useful. “Don’t be quick to run back to the store,” she said. “Sometimes you need to give a gift a little bit of time to show it’s true worth and meaning.”

2. Assess the Situation

If the gift included a receipt, don’t worry about returning or exchanging it, Smith said. The giver probably knew you might not like the item and would want to return it. If it didn’t come with a receipt, however, you’ll need to be a bit more thoughtful. “If you have a very open, stable, mature, communicative relationship with the giver, you can ask them for the receipt,” Smith said, but “you want to do this in the kindest way possible.”

Here’s something you can try: Don’t ask for the receipt, but set the person up to offer it. Start by thanking him or her for the gift and say what you like about it. Then offer an honest explanation as to why it’s not right. The giver may offer the receipt so you can get an exchange or mention where they purchased the item so you can get a store credit.

The secret, Smith said, is reading the person’s expression. If they seem disappointed, let it go. And if you want to avoid the topic entirely, figure out where they got the gift and politely ask for an exchange.

3. Choose Your Battles

Perhaps the gift came from someone who really wants you to use it. “If this is somebody who is expecting to see this gift used or displayed in your home, sometimes you need to keep it for a year or two,” Smith said. “Once they can see it a few times, you can pass it off.” Make an effort to show your appreciation, and after you’ve made use of it, do what you want. If the person asks, be honest but kind.

“I don’t like lying, but I am all for protecting people’s feelings, so if Aunt Sadie asks me about the large yellow afghan that she hand knitted… I’m going to say, ‘Aunt Sadie, we loved that afghan, but I think during the last full house clean that we did it had seen enough love, so we decided to donate it,'” Smith said. You should focus on showing gratitude and sharing memories of the times it was useful.

4. Do What You Want (But Say Thank You)

Ultimately, it’s your decision how to handle an unwanted gift. “Once a gift is given, it is owned by the recipient and it is up to the recipient what they want to do with it,” Smith said. She personally suggested people not discard things others can use, so selling or donating a gift is fair game. If there are family ties, consider letting other members take it off your hands.

Even if you hate the gift, try to find some redeeming quality in it (or its sentiment) and send the person a thank-you note, Smith said. Then do with it what you please and spend the next year letting that person get to know you so you don’t have to keep exchanging their gifts.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Kim Carson

The post 4 Etiquette Tips for Returning a Gift appeared first on Credit.com.

13 Great Kid Gifts for Less Than $10

skip payments

Christmas is almost here. Are you ready yet?

It’s getting to be crunch time if you want to have enough goodies to fill all those stockings on Christmas morning. And don’t forget all your nieces, nephews, second cousins and neighbor kids whom you may want to shower with your affections. Fortunately, we have some great gift ideas that cost practically nothing.

Here we go:

1. Legos

I know. Some of you are freaking out at this suggestion. Holy moley, those babies are expensive, right? Well, sure, if you’re going to buy the Millennium Falcon ($9,999). But you can get plenty of fun little sets such as a surfer rescue or an adorable little Duplo calf at regular or sale prices that are less than $10. However, if you buy on Amazon, you’re totally going to want to look for free shipping so you don’t end paying an outrageous price to ship 4 ounces of plastic.

2. Cards

You can pick up a cheap pack of cards from virtually any dollar store or toy department in the country. They cost just a couple of bucks, but they come with the potential for many hours of fun. For the younger set, look for games such as Old Maid or Go Fish that feature big numbers and bright graphics. Tweens and teens might like to receive a regular pack of cards and learn some grown-up games once the dinner dishes are put away.

3. Craft Supplies

You could spend $20-plus on a bundle of craft supplies or you could make your own set for less than half the price. Head to the dollar store and look for construction paper, markers, ribbon, glue, beads and other crafty items. Arrange them in an inexpensive bin or basket and wrap it up with some wrapping tissue or cellophane for a fun and creative gift.

4. Temporary Tattoos

There’s something about temporary tattoos that children love. It’s like being given permission to write all over yourself. You can find some stencil kits that will let kids make their own body art or, for the non-artists, check out Finger Monsters to combine tattoo mania with hand puppet fun.

5. Coupon Book

You can’t beat free, and you don’t have to spend a dime to give your favorite kids a homemade coupon book full of little splurges. Coupons could be for an extra hour of screen time on the weekend, a night off from chores or having dessert before dinner one night.

6. Give an experience

Similar to a coupon book, you could give an experience. Younger kids might not quite grasp the concept behind this gift, so it might be best for those who are a little older. Put in a box or card a certificate entitling the child to a date with you. It could be taking your niece to see a matinée or going fishing with your grandson. Either pick something you know they’ll love or let them make the call — as long as it is within reason.

7. Makeup Bag

For this one, if you aren’t buying for your own daughter, you’ll want to check with the parents first. However, if you get the green light, most girls love the chance to play dress-up and that includes experimenting with makeup. Pick up an inexpensive toiletry bag and stuff it with sample-size makeup items. If the girl in your life isn’t quite old enough for makeup, you could include lotions, soaps or other bath items instead.

8. A Share of Stock

Not all kids will appreciate this one when it comes out of the box, but if you make a wise choice, they’ll thank you later. Buy a single share of stock and wrap up the certificate in a box or card. Then, show them how to follow the stock value and explain that eventually that $10 gift might be worth a whole lot more.

9. Books

Some hardcover books can be pricey, but there are plenty that fall in the $10-and-less range. And you know what? Almost every kid loves some type of book. Even if they are not the reading type, you can find Mad Libs, puzzle books or comic books that fit just about every level of interest.

10. Candy Bags

You simply can’t go wrong with candy. Mom and Dad might not be thrilled, but if you show up at the Christmas party with bags of candy for every boy and girl, we’ll bet you’ll be in the running as the favorite relative for everyone younger than 18.

11. Flashlights

What is it about kids and flashlights? From making shadow puppets on the wall to usurping Mom and Dad’s authority and reading under the covers after bedtime, flashlights are a gateway to a whole slew of cool activities. Since these are kids we’re talking about, no need to buy top-of-the-line models. Get an 8-pack of inexpensive flashlights, and you’ll be good to go to the big family party.

12. iTunes Gift Cards

It seems like every kid today has an i-something, and that means you can’t go wrong with an iTunes gift card. These aren’t just for music. The under-18 set also likes to use these to download apps and games. If you belong to a warehouse club, check there to see if discounted cards are available.

13. Toe Socks

Socks are boring, but toe socks are the bomb. Not only do they fit feet like a glove, but they also come in all sorts of fun patterns. You can get frogs, cats or, for the more conservative child in your life, solid colors. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to buy this fun gift.

More from Money Talks News:

Image: iStock

The post 13 Great Kid Gifts for Less Than $10 appeared first on Credit.com.