Update: This was originally posted as a list of gift ideas for the holidays, but it’s really a list of awesome products to buy at any time of year. I’ll be adding to it from time to time so anyone who’s hard-pressed for some birthday, anniversary, special occasion, etc. ideas will have a good resource.
We all have someone on our holiday shopping list who is hard to buy for.
I actually have two on my Christmas list — my dad and my wife.
I usually find a way to get them something they like, but it’s a challenge. My dad has limited interests and my wife always says she doesn’t need anything. Ugh.
Anyway, you probably have people like them in your life. Or maybe you just want a few good gift ideas. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
This post will highlight several items I personally recommend for one reason or another (explained below). I hope you will find them useful.
FYI, the links to these products are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you buy using them. That said, you will pay the same price anyone not using them and buying pays, so there’s no cost to you. And, of course, in line with my policy here, I only use links on products and services I either personally use or recommend.
With that said, let’s get started on the ideas…
Classic Money Books
These make great gifts IMO because they are the best of the best when it comes to learning about money.
I wrote about my favorites in The Only Five Money Books You’ll Ever Need, but here I’ll share a bit more about them.
- The Richest Man in Babylon — Here’s what makes this a great gift: it’s a short book, packed full of great truths, and very inexpensive. It’s perfect for a newbie wanting a great money overview. Also good for teenagers/college students, particularly if you choose the updated, current English version.
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy — The book that made me financially independent. It’s best for a more-studious person IMO.
- Your Money or Your Life — So many life-challenging concepts in this one! I’d get it for someone who needs a unique/different perspective on money.
- The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing — Perfect for someone who is wondering how to invest for the best overall results.
- How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? — Still my favorite book addressing the “can I retire now?” question.
New Money Books
Let’s face it, most new books on money are not that great. They are wastes of time at best and downright harmful at worst.
These books are different. They are new and yet very relevant/useful.
Here are my recommendations:
- The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life — If someone said they bought this book instead of the Boglehead’s book, I’d be ok with that. It’s that good. Great investing book.
- Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School — I have a review on this coming up, but the summary is: keep your spending as low as possible and you’ll likely become wealthy. Good message for a financial newbie to hear.
- Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days — You know what I think about the importance of side hustles. The author is the king of side hustles and the book is full of great tips. This is something EVERYONE should read if they do not yet have a side hustle or if they want to start a new one. I bought three copies — one for a friend, one for my son, and one for me.
- You Must Write a Book: Boost Your Brand, Get More Business, and Become the Go-To Expert — The author makes a compelling case for why you need to write a book (which will help advance your career). Then she gives tips and tricks for how to do it and making the most of the effort.
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) — I wish I had found this book years ago — my life would have been so much better earlier. I’ve told you how getting up early can make you wealthy and this book will help.
I love to read and not just about money.
Here are some of my favorites from this year:
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers — Want your life to be better in a ton of different areas? Read this book with gazillions of tips from people who have been successful in many areas of life. It’s a hefty read at almost 700 pages, but well worth it.
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future — I was in a Tesla showroom in Denver when I ran into another customer who couldn’t stop gushing about this book, so I HAD to read it. I’m glad I did! It was so informative and interesting. Whether you love or hate Musk, you can’t deny that he ranks among the great entrepreneurs and inventors of our time. His story is even made more compelling by the fact that he could have sailed off into the sunset with millions after selling other businesses, but instead risked it ALL for his businesses today.
- Camino Island: A Novel — I love me some John Grisham, and this book did not disappoint.
- Washington: A Life — One of the best books I’ve read in my life. I visited Mt. Vernon shortly before I read this book and now want to go again. It really made Washington come to life.
Books I Want to Read
Here are a couple of books I have on my potential list for 2018:
- The Rooster Bar — Another John Grisham book! Yea!!!!
- Grant — From the guy who wrote Washington, Hamilton, etc. I’m sure it will be awesome.
I’m still working on what I think my best travel set-up is, but here are some things I really like so far from all the things I’ve tried:
- Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Sac Set – 3pc Set — I recently bought these when I couldn’t find the right holder for all my electronic accessories. The small and medium sizes work great for holding my chargers, cords, etc. — everything it takes to do mobile computing.
- Pro Packing Cubes – 6 Piece Lightweight Travel Cube Set — Great combination of usefulness and good price when it comes to packing clothes. These are currently my go-to items and I’ve used them several times with great success.
- Osprey Packs Skarab 32 Hydration Pack — Currently my go-to pack for a travel personal item (which could change, I’ll be looking at others) and hitting the trails in Colorado (likely will NOT change for this purpose). I love Osprey and this mid-size sort of pack as it’s a balance between storing enough stuff but not being too big.
You all know that I’ve made some big physical changes the past couple years.
Here are some items that helped me do that:
- Scosche RHYTHM+ Heart Rate Monitor — My cardio training is by heartrate and this monitor is perfect. I used chest monitors when I did road biking many years ago and I hated them. This is much, much better.
- Speedo Large Teamster Backpack, 35-Liter — I just bought this as a replacement for Under Armour Storm Undeniable II Duffle. I highly recommend both of these, but I wanted a backpack to hold my workout stuff since I walk a couple miles after my workout and carrying a duffle bag while doing it is “ok”, but not the best.
One of my guilty pleasures in retirement is video games.
That said, there has been a lack of the type of games I like to play in the past year or so.
I’m not fast enough to play many of the shooting games. I prefer using a combination of strategy, sneaking about, and surprise attacks when I play my games. I also like to be the hero. 😉
Given those criteria, here are three games I really love:
- Horizon Zero Dawn – PlayStation 4 — Awesome game all the way around. They have an expansion out now and I definitely plan to get it.
- Assassin’s Creed Origins – PlayStation 4 Standard Edition — I have played all the AC games and will play them all until the franchise dies. Love them!
- Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War – PlayStation 4 — I was a big fan of the first one in this series (playing it through twice) and this second one didn’t disappoint.
BTW, if any videogame companies are out there listening, will someone please bring back the old Batman Arkham-like video games? The new Telltale ones are junk IMO.
Best Amazon Purchases
I order from Amazon quite a bit. I looked through my orders from the past two years and came up with three items I really like but that can’t be put into one category:
- Monopoly Deal Card Game — I had heard this game was awesome so I sent one to my daughter at college. She loves it! And for $5, what’s there to lose?
- Seagate Expansion 4TB Portable External Hard Drive — I added this on to my PlayStation 4 and my storage went up something like a million times. It was SO EASY to install as well — even for a non-techie like me.
- Proctor Silex Coffee Grinder — I drink freshly ground coffee in single cups (I allow myself three per day) and this is my go-to grinder. Even though it has a great price, it’s a workhorse and has lasted me going on two years now.
Of course if all else fails, you can give money this holiday season.
You can do it the old-fashioned way (cash) or the new-fashioned way (gift cards). I buy the latter at my grocery store and save tons on gas prices as a result (my store gives 10 cents per gallon back for every $100 spent in a given month).
If you want to give money but be a little creative about it, let me suggest American Eagle Silver coins. They are fun, unique, affordable, and a new way to give a gift someone (especially kids) will treasure for a long time.
So, those are my recommendations. Any products you’d like to suggest?