Wes Moss: Gifts you won’t regret giving

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

We have a tradition in our family that may sound familiar. On the day after Christmas, we go through all our presents and weed out the stuff we will never use – the knickknacks from Grandma, the horrifying sweater from Aunt Sue, and the book that Cousin Dave says is a must-read, but isn’t.

It’s sad how much money (and effort) we waste on gifts that are doomed for the closet, return counter or garbage can. On the flip side, there is no better feeling than to buy (or receive) the perfect gift – an item that will be used and cherished for a long time. The purchase of such gifts is worth every penny — even if they cost a few extra pennies.

Which of the following is a better value? A pair of jeans that costs $45, or a pair that costs $150? Clark Howard would probably have a panic attack if I even asked him this question. But let’s say you give your daughter the $45 pair. She smiles, says she likes them, and proceeds to wear the pants just 50 times before spending her own money to buy the pair she really wants. That works out to 90 cents per wearing. Now let’s take the $150 jeans. Your girl loves them so much she wears them 500 times before they wear out. That’s 30 cents per wearing – a bargain.

The following gift ideas are based on the same philosophy — things both giver and receiver will consider money well spent:

Apple anything: The iPod Nano is my favorite toy of the year. It’s ultra small, has a touch screen and will hold a ton of songs. The Nano is typical of the entire Apple product line. The iPod, iPad, MacBook, and iMac are all well-engineered, beautifully designed, category-leading devices. You can’t go wrong giving anything that comes in an Apple box.

Best-in-class products: Some manufacturers deliver Apple-like quality, which results in long-term value. Dyson vacuum cleaners, BOB strollers and KitchenAid mixers all carry hefty price tags. But they last forever, offer unique features and bring joy to their owners.

Boot camp: Why not give the gift of fitness? Boot Camp programs deliver motivation and results for less than the cost of a personal trainer and without frustrations of a gym contract. I signed up with Operation Boot Camp in March and I’m still going strong. Programs typically cost between $90 to $250 per month.

No more debt: Do you have someone on your list who is struggling with heavy debt? Consider paying off a chunk of that obligation. I can’t think of a better gift for someone.

Life Insurance: Are you married with children? A substantial life insurance policy is the best present you can give your family. It is truly the gift that will keep on giving if the unthinkable happens.

Babysitting: Getting some adult “alone-time” is critical for the sanity of all parents. If you are in a position to babysit, this makes a great gift. Husbands, wow your wives by pre-booking and pre-paying a babysitter for several dates over the next few months. It’s a gift you’ll both cherish.

Please share your gift-giving ideas –- or tell us what you bought in 2011 that you still consider to be money well spent — in the comments.

– By Wes Moss, for Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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16 comments Add your comment

Joe Schmoe

December 19th, 2011
8:17 am

The fact that Christmas has come down to “what am I getting,” is a travisty on its own. Seriously? Try going without one year, and I promise you will not feel different.


December 19th, 2011
9:27 am

Good lord.

If those first two posts don’t speak to the spirit of Christmas, I don’t know what does.


December 19th, 2011
9:29 am

Oh and for the record, I’ve always loved giving and receiving gift certificates from any of the fine restaurants in town.

For me, it’s as personalized as giving gift cards can get.


December 19th, 2011
9:32 am

I like to give practical yet “spoiling” gifts. Like one year, i got my sister one of those really nice shower heads. The kind that you really dont need, but would love to have and would never buy for yourself. This gift gives back for years and years, and would be used everyday. As an added bonus, I installed it for her so all she had to do was turn it on and enjoy!!


December 19th, 2011
9:47 am

I’m giving my nieces and nephews a book….not a nook or a tablet…a BOOK!! You can never go wrong with giving a child(or adult) a book!

Wes Moss

December 19th, 2011
9:56 am

@Ben…I like the restaurant gift card idea.


December 19th, 2011
10:02 am

Seriously,the article has merit.I especially like the additional purchase of life insurance.Insurance has no glamour but is much needed if you have children. No need for cynicism or “potty mouth” post.

Wes Moss

December 19th, 2011
10:15 am

We talked about this on Money Matters this weekend…we had some great callers and ideas. A new wedding band (after 20 years for marriage), a Keurig K-Cup coffee machine, adopting a pet from PAWS, new veneers (teeth) from India, and paying off $60,000 in debt…


December 19th, 2011
10:29 am

My folks don’t need any more “stuff”…they have plenty. A few years ago, I gave them a helicopter tour of Atlanta, and my mom has recently hinted that she’d like to do a tandem-skydive. Giving experiences is better than “stuff”…memories gather no dust.


December 19th, 2011
10:42 am

A nice bottle of scotch is a good gift. If you order online, direct from the vendor some companies allow you to get bottles personally engraved. (I gave a bottle of Johnny Walker blue). It’s pretty neat.

Apple #1

December 19th, 2011
10:47 am

Give the Apple IPAD 2–you can’t go wrong—best in class!!!

Patricia Stultz

December 19th, 2011
11:14 am

Great comments!!


December 19th, 2011
11:37 am

Don’t recommend the MacAir from Apple. If you go online to the Apple forums, you will find out that there is a problem with the MacAir staying connected to a hot spot. Apple has refused to acknowledge the problem. There are a ton of unhappy Air users out there.

Atlanta Native

December 19th, 2011
11:39 am

Yeah! Adopt a shelter animal! I just took my daughter to the new Humane Society on Mansell Road in Roswell. It is a beautiful new state-of-the-art facility that is so clean and spacious and the animals are so well provided for, with big outdoor runs, etc. But they desperately need loving homes because most of their time is spend in their cages. And they have some ADORABLE PUPPIES (and cats, too) for caring people who can train and love them. You will bring joy to your family AND to a furry friend.

vladimir Sonovabitch

December 19th, 2011
11:45 am

Ipad? Nah!!! Samsung Galaxy 10.1. Apple can’t play FLASH but my Samsung does. (And it’s thinner)

Ole Guy

December 19th, 2011
2:54 pm

Am I missing some sort of a hidden message here? While Mr Moss writes, in platitudes, of the fine things we can do to manage our financial lives, he compares the “appreciation factor” of $45 jeans vs (what was that?) $150 jeans. THAT’S SIMPLY INCREDULOUS! I don’t think my butt’s ever seen jeans past the $20 level; I drive a “regular” car; live in a “”regular” home; enjoy a “regular” lifestyle. While certainly not (what many may call) rich, I’ve done rather well for myself; live a comfortable retirement, and still get by on $20 jeans. Inasmuch as I no longer have need for 3-piece suites, and all the fineries of 20th century success, all those things have been donated to greater causes. However, when I check into the better hotels, both on business, and on pleasure trips, clad in my $20 jeans, I haven’t been thrown out…YET! When they do throw me out, I’ll just upgradeto $30 jeans.