Holiday Season Gift Shopping on a Student Budget

gift boxes

In a perfect world, I would buy my friends and family boujee and designer gifts every holiday season. My mom deserves a Tiffany necklace, and my dad deserves a Rolex. 

I also deserve to not be broke, but here we are. How do we, penniless college students, afford to purchase great holiday gifts for the people closest to us? This guide may help you make ends meet before snow sticks to the ground.

Plan a List Ahead of Time

A Person in Red Sweater Making a Christmas Letter

We’ve all snuck around asking people for gift ideas, especially when it seems like we’ve exhausted all options. 

“What is _______ into lately?”

“Have any ideas for ______? I can’t think of anything!”

Come up with multiple ideas for each person, thinking of their hobbies, interests, and needs. Has your friend brought up wanting that new blush from Sephora? Or is your dad tired of using a 15 year old drill that’s about to give out?

There is a plethora of online ideas can help you dwindle down the overwhelming amount of gifts available in stores and online.

Asking around early, and making a list of ideas can help get the juices flowing before everything is sold out. Once you have ideas for all of your kin, it’s time to shop!

Stretch a Dollar

Love Paper Bags With Sale Text

Grandma wants a candle, mom wants a bird feeder, and Uncle Ed wants a divorce, though we can’t really help him with that. How do we get more bang for our buck?

When holiday shopping, keep options open. Look for sales, rave reviews, and the best stores to shop at. This may be a prime time to go to the outlets, or even a thrift store! You never know what you can find in the aisles of a Salvation Army.

Using apps that give you online discounts, like Honey, allows you to find the best deals on the web!

Keeping gifts simple allows for more leeway and further opportunities to score a special and cost effective gift.

Deck the Halls

gold and white gift box

Some of us are fussy about how our gifts look. Presents have to match, be a certain size, and be immaculately placed before our family rips them to shreds. The Dollar Store, Gabe’s, and Five Below, have perfectly suited wrapping paper, gift bags, gifts, and tissue paper to make a gift look like a million bucks. Skip the usual department stores and spend $20 instead of $50.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Top view of opened carton present box with small postcard with Thank You inscription and paper stuffing on wooden table

Once wrapped and put where all of the other holiday offerings reside, your family will be oh-so-impressed by your beautiful, thoughtful gifts. 

So, no need to stress about 2022 gift shopping. Come up with a list, go bargain hunting, and package your gifts with an artistic, but frugal eye. Happy Holidays!