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8 Ideas for Your Teen’s Christmas Present

8 Ideas for Your Teen’s Christmas Present

Picking a Christmas gift for a teenager is a tricky task. Just a couple of years ago they would be smitten with a huge jar of candy drops and a new set of colored pencils. A surprise or a discovery were the main thrills of the present while they were kids.

Now your teen has a mile long wish list and it contains items they can brag about in Snapchat – like the newest gadget everyone talks about or a holiday tour in Europe. They surely know who brings them presents, but still, have only a vague concept of where the money comes from.

To bring back the magic you should really know what your child wants and dreams about deep down under the sheer desire to impress their friends. Look at what they are passionate about, and encourage this passion with your gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to impress them, but it must be carefully chosen to show your support and recognition of their interests and appreciation of their individuality. This is the kind of present that creates warm memories!

1. For Avid Gamers

Video games are a favorite pastime for the vast majority of teens. Fact!

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However, some are more serious about it and might even have the ambition to become professional players in the future. Those having such aspirations will be excited about a new game console, a set of advanced controllers, or an accessory such as a mini rocking chair with a speaker for the immersive gaming experience.

They also might appreciate a themed artwork or collectible item, only make sure you get the right title and the right character to hit the nail on the head.

2. For Outdoorsy Teens

If your kid loves camping, hiking, sports or generally prefers spending their free time out in the open air, they’ll be excited to find a bicycle, a pair of rollerblades, a swagway board, a geocaching starter kit, or some cool camping equipment, such as a stove with USB-charger or something similar.

In fact, everything that combines technology with outdoor activities is a nominee for a successful gift. If your teen loves traveling, you can give them a scratch map to mark each journey.

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3. For Music Lovers

For those who cannot stand silence, there is a wide array of options from Star Wars headphones and wireless earbuds to Bluetooth waterproof speakers to sing along in the shower. However, you can dig deeper.

To encourage your child to take more active interest in music you can give them an instrument. Something as small and simple enough as a pocket guitar practice tool or a blues harp is a perfect start of a beautiful friendship with musical creativity.

4. For Beauty Aficionados

Jewelry stands and makeup palettes, colorful spray chalk for temporary hair dyeing (DIY style), a piece of piercing jewelry (accompanied with a salon gift card and your permission to use it, which probably is the actual present), a gift card for a mehndi courses – why not?

If your teen is passionate about beauty, style and fashion experiments, it can be a start of a designer career. Alternatively, they will just have hours of great time and oodles of fantastic pics for their Insta. Not so bad either way.

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5. For Romantic Souls

Something with a hidden meaning that says ‘I love and cherish you’, ‘I believe in you’ or ‘I trust you’ will touch their hearts. Romantic and impressionable teens will like personalized journals (with tiny padlocks and their name on it), artsy posters with inspirational quotes, paired pendants or key chains to share with the BFF, and stylish magnetic boards for their bedroom doors to keep concert tickets, snaps, cards and other mementos.

You can also try lucky charms with dry flowers that are in bloom on the day of your teen’s birthday or something equally personalized and metaphorical.

6. For Science Geeks

STEAM puzzles, a telescope, a microscope, a chemistry lab kit – whatever is to their liking. A tip: if you wonder whether a particular article is age-appropriate, take something for older kids. Anything that falls an inch short their expectations is instantly stigmatized as ‘lame’ and ‘for toddlers’.

If safety rules do not allow using some of the equipment below a certain age, it’s better to provide parental guidance and have some quality time together messing around with a ‘dangerous’ stuff than opting for something less sophisticated.

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7. For Art and Etsy Enthusiasts

Mini-looms, starter kits for string art, needle felting, scrapbooking, big art sets with watercolors, pastels, brushes and a book on drawing technics – everything that promotes creativity and self-expression also makes a perfect gift.

Besides, arts and crafts are very soothing activities, so it most certainly will help your teen to cope with anxieties.

8. For Those Into Old-School Stuff

Teens today also can be crazy about retro and vintage. For them, you can pick some antique books shelf holders (and a selection of books for that matter), retro instant cameras, and generally old-timey looking accessories such as record bowls, tape cassette boxes, mini-coolers for soda and snacks shaped like a streamline fridges.

To strike the right chord and see how their face lightens up instead of cringing with disappointment, do your homework. See if your teen likes one big present or a pile of trinkets, do they like to see their presents on the dressing table upon waking up or chase around the house finding the clues that lead them to the cache. Make a gift an experience!

Featured photo credit: Scott Hadfield/Flickr via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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