smart spending

12 days of financial gift giving

Fiscally fabulous giving
Fiscally fabulous giving

Looking for a holiday gift idea for those youngsters in your life? Can't find that perfect yuletide something for your siblings?

This year, give the gift that keeps on giving: a new financial tool.

Tool belt optional, of course.

Since most of us focus on spending rather than saving or investing during the holiday season, you won't find most of these gift ideas in a Hammacher Schlemmer or Neiman Marcus catalog.

Instead, as a shopping aid, we've enlisted the guidance of three financial education experts: Laura Levine, president and CEO of Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, based in Washington, D.C.; Leslie Linfield, executive director and founder of the Institute for Financial Literacy, based in South Portland, Maine; and Patricia Seaman, senior director for the National Endowment for Financial Education, based in Denver.

While we've organized these financial gift ideas around the 12 days of Christmas, beginning with the youngest people on your shopping list and progressing more or less chronologically, they translate equally well in all faiths and cultures to inspire a more prosperous new year.

Happy holidays from Bankrate!

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