Forget the typical toys this shopping season.
If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck this holiday, then add some gifts that teach your kids about money and economic concepts.
Sound about as exciting as a lump of coal in a 10-year-old's mind? It doesn't have to be.
Welcome to my annual holiday shopping gift guide, featuring the usual a mix of timeless classics and some new ideas. All of these favorites teach kids the financial ABCs with a dose of fun and entertainment.
Which brings me to my first recommendation: low-tech board games, including classics such as Payday, Life and Monopoly. No computer screens and the kids get to hold the fake money and game pieces.
I also like Monopoly Junior, which is a welcome alternative to the original board game because you can finish it in a reasonable amount of time.
Is there a future numismatist in the family? Consider a gift from the U.S. Mint's 2018 collection, including this year's new release of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence $100 platinum-proof coin.
This year, the Mint has also introduced a silver dollar and uncirculated silver dollar commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The coins were recently priced at $56.95 and $53.95 respectively.
Check the Mint's website at catalog.usmint.gov for up-to-date pricing based on swings in the precious metals market.
Two other gifts of coins that will stir the imagination: The Treasure Chest of Coins is a wooden chest that comes with about 40 coins, including wheat pennies, buffalo nickels, a Liberty nickel and more, and a Year to Remember coin set that comes with five coins from the year of your choice (with a couple of exceptions). It also comes with a history of world events for that year and fun facts, all housed in a satin-lined leatherette case.
Both coin sets are available through Amazon.com.
Turning to books, the Berenstain Bears collection includes a number of money-oriented titles, including the "Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies," and "Trouble With Money." Another favorite: Judith Viorst's "Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday." It's about a boy whose money burns a hole in his pocket.
If wedding bells will be ringing soon in your household, here's an appropriate gift: the "O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Couples," by Susan Beacham and husband Michael Beacham. The Beachams, who are longtime financial education advocates, not only tell engaged couples, newlyweds and others in relationships what to do to create a solid financial home life, but show how to do it.
The book helps couples work through "messy money moments," such as using credit cards irresponsibly. At the back of the book are five exercises to get the money talk rolling with your partner.
The authors are also behind two other titles that might make great gifts: "O.M.G. Official Money Guide for Teenagers," and "O.M.G. Official Money Guide for College Students."
A gift that keeps on giving. That's the premise behind the Littlefund, a gifting platform (www.littlefund.co) that aims to make it easy for family and friends to contribute money towards a child's goal, be it a trip to Disney World, a bicycle or college.
Money is deposited in an FDIC-insured savings account, earning interest of about 1 percent and it keeps on compounding (there's a money lesson there).
Gift givers can send a Littlefund gift at any time by using a parent's email address.