Over the years, I’ve helped millions of people get their finances in order–now it’s your turn!

Starting Monday, November 27 through the holiday season, each week I will be giving away one phenomenal “Money for Life” coaching package worth $2,500 to one of my website subscribers. Begin 2018 with confidence as we together craft a strategy for your specific financial needs. I can help you with any of the following:

· Create a realistic family budget

· Launch a strategy to become an entrepreneur

· Setup a realistic budget to reduce debt and expenses

How can you participate?

Simply sign-up for my website here by clicking “Follow” in the top right corner. To qualify for the prize (and a free autographed book), simply ask a question or leave a comment on this story. This week, I’m offering my tips for creative gift giving and I want to hear from you. We’ll choose a new winner every Sunday through Dec. 31.


Let’s set the scene. It’s Friday, December 23; the day before Christmas Eve (and the first night of Hanukkah). You are in a panic because you just can’t think of any thoughtful gifts for some of those special people in your life. And, frankly, it’s going to take you six months to get out of the debt you have already racked up on your credit cards. (The good news is that you now have your first 2018 New Year’s resolution. Sorry, I’m sure you don’t need a lecture about planning ahead.)

Fear not, allow me to present a gift idea that will save you money and give you a better start for next year. By the way, this idea is not just for you; share it with the whole family.

**Adult Gift Chits**

A gift chit is the gift of giving of yourself instead of withdrawing from your savings account to purchase that “perfect” gift for your loved one. How does a gift chit work? Just write out a little notecard explaining what your “Gift Chit” is redeemable for and give it to your loved one.

I have tested this gift chit idea on hundreds of people and started this tradition when my kids were young; we did it all the time. Gift chits allow the gift to say, “I love you”, rather than, “I picked up something at the last moment”, or worse yet, “See how much money I spent on you?”

You can get creative with gift chits. A chit could be given to a partner and be redeemable for, let’s say, a back rub, or a special dinner, or cleaning up the attic or basement (finally), or mowing the lawn for a month over the summer. You get the point; you can be as clever as you want to be.

Gift chits can also be geared to the recipient’s interests: for the golfer (cleaning their golf balls), for the vegetarian (cooking a gourmet vegetarian meal), for the antique car owner (waxing their car), for the sports fan (volunteering to go to a game with them or staying home to watch it together — you’ll serve snacks and not complain).

**Kid Gift Chits**

Years ago, when I was on *Oprah*, she had me work with a family who had five children. Every year the parents went into debt over Christmas and, literally, it took them a year to dig out, only to repeat the procedure the next year. They had not only fallen into a bad habit; they were teaching their kids a bad habit as well. Even worse, the parents were sending a bad message. So, we decided to have them give gift chits instead. It took the kids some time to get into it, but it worked. The kids came up with fantastic ideas and everyone had a wonderful (debt free) holiday. Dad gave gift chits to take the kids fishing and Mom taught them how to bake cookies. The kids gave gift chits to clean their rooms for a month, without complaining. They also gave chits to volunteer as a family at local charities.

When my kids were young, they gave me two great gift chits. One was redeemable for them to put vacation pictures into albums. I loved that. We spent some wonderful Sunday afternoons reminiscing about places we visited and the kids labeled the pictures all by themselves. Now I have albums and not just boxes of pictures. I know that the world is digital, but it is hard to sit down with the computer every time you want to stroll down memory lane. If all your photos are saved, it is fun to go through them with the kids and pick ones out that you can print and they can put into an album, or go online to have them design an album. There are loads of sites to help you. You would pay for the album, but they would help you to place the layout and labeling, which is the tricky part, if you have ever played with this.

The other chit from my kids was my all-time favorite. It was good for a “No Fighting Zone.” This meant that every time they started to bicker, I could take out my chit and their gift was that they had to call a ceasefire. The big news is that it worked. I used it for a year. I begged my kids for it for the next year. They gave it to me, but this time it came with an expiration date.

Gift chits from kids could be for; delivering groceries, for yard work, for babysitting, for guitar lessons, or for knitting lessons. You get the point. Have your kids come up with the ideas and they can make a wonderful card describing what the chit is for. The big thing is to make sure that it is redeemed. Your kids have to follow up with Aunt Judi and be certain that a real date is put on the calendar. Obviously, you have to live close by if raking the leaves is the offing.

The holidays are really not about a moment in time or even a season, they are more about a state of mind, or as Edna Ferber said, “It’s a feeling.” Giving is about generosity, of the heart, and of you. Share with those who are not as fortunate as you. That sharing is at the core of the holiday message.

I love the words of Thomas S. Monson, the religious leader who said, “Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is forgetting self and finding time for others.” Gift chits allow you and your family to give of yourself. Have a wonderful and joyous holiday.