“What do you want for Christmas?” If you’re like me, you’re not comfortable getting this question from your high school or college age kids. I mean, we’re supposed to be the givers in the relationship, right?

I find it so hard to think of my kids spending money on me, a person who models shunning the need for more stuff. But one thing I value is books – both ebooks and the old school print version. Nowadays, when my kids ask me what I want, I “hint” at a few books I’ve been wanting to buy and just haven’t gotten around to.

That said, if you’re looking for affordable gifts to suggest to the elves in your life, and you want to consider books that you can help sharpen your money management skills, below are three of my favorites that are available on my favorite e-commerce site (Amazon).

Full disclosure: I receive a small commission on the sale of any book purchased by clicking on the book images below. (That’s not why I’m recommending them.)

Three must-have money books:

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

Fascinating read; I couldn’t put it down. Thomas J. Stanley has surveyed and interviewed hundreds of millionaires to find out what makes them tick. He put his findings in this book. Who knew that more millionaires drive Ford pickups than Mercedes? That and so many more fascinating myths are busted and presented in a series of practical, thought-provoking stories.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

This is the companion book to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University; however, it’s a great resource all by itself. Ramsey’s “7 baby steps” approach has helped hundreds of thousands of people get out of debt and experience a sense of peace with money like never before. My wife and I sometimes reference this book as an independent third-party to help settle disagreements about money.

Yes you Can Achieve Financial Independence by James E. Stowers

Early on, this was my money management manual. James Stowers started American Century with one mutual fund back in the 1950s. Today, the company manages billions of dollars in roughly a hundred funds. In this book, Stowers teaches about the power of compounding, establishing automatic saving & investing habits, and balancing risk and reward.

My bookshelf is the top shelf of our walk-in closet. Each day when I go into the closet, it’s like a quick journey down memory lane. I can remember details about my life when I read most of the books: What job I was doing, where we lived, what my issues and joys of the day were.

As I scanned the spines of my closet library the other day, it occurred to me that these three books helped shape the thinking that has led to my becoming financially independent today. And hopeful for the future.