Holiday Shopping On A College Student Budget

I’ve always been a lover of the holiday season. Something about the festivities that go on from November through January, giving gifts and spending time with my friends and family has always brought me a lot of joy. I’m that person blasting Christmas music and watching holiday films in late October that everyone hates. 🙂 Gift giving in particular is something I get really excited about every year, but now that I’m on a college student budget, buying everyone gifts can be really expensive! It can be difficult and stressful trying to buy everyone something that I think they’ll like, but that also doesn’t make my wallet cry too much. But there are tricks to getting the whole “broke college student holiday shopping” thing down without spending your rent money!

Gift giving in particular is something I get really excited about every year, but now that I’m on a college student budget, buying everyone gifts can be really expensive! It can be difficult and stressful trying to buy everyone something that I think they’ll like, but that also doesn’t make my wallet cry too much. But there are tricks to getting the whole “broke college student holiday shopping” thing down without spending your rent money!

Plan Ahead

I’m a hardcore planner, so I always begin planning out gifts and purchasing gifts wayyyyy beforehand. I’m talking September-early. While that might sound a bit overkill at first, hear me out. Buying a large amount of gifts all at once turns into nothing but a financial burden and stress, especially if you haven’t budgeted your money for such a big shopping spree. So, starting your holiday shopping early means that you’re never spending a bunch of money at once. Just a little here and a little there. I always do this (probably because I’m excited, but still helpful) and it takes a lot of stress about buying gifts away. I also have time to get any backup gifts if my original idea falls through!

Budget and Save

But everyone has one person or that one year when you want to get someone (or everyone 👀) something a bit more expensive for the holidays, which means that there is no real way around spending a huge amount of money at once. For these big baller gifts, budgeting and planning is always my best friend. The last thing you want is to buy an expensive gift just to have to turn around and return it because you realized that you needed money for books or groceries. To avoid all that, the moment I decide on buying someone an expensive gift I get to making a saving plan for it. Of course, the earlier you do this the better, but remember that some money saved is better than no money saved. Putting away a little bit of money each paycheck has been a super simple and speedy way for me to save up for expensive gifts and have guilt free purchases too. I also use this same technique for holiday shopping in general!


Even with the budgeting, saving and planning most college students still have a very small and limited income, leaving a very small amount of money that can be dedicated to gifts. I think it is extremely easy to get caught up in the wonder of gift giving and become a bit discouraged if you can’t afford the types of gifts you want to give to everyone in your life. I always take the time to remind myself though each holiday season that gift giving isn’t about spending the most money or giving the most extravagant thing. Simply thinking about something and putting thought into a gift is what always makes the best gifts, no matter what the price tag on the gift may say.

Whether your budget is hundreds of dollars or just a few dollars, remember that no matter how cliché it sounds, it truly is the thought that counts.

Taylor

Taylor

Class of 2021
Hey y’all, I’m a History and Gender and Women Studies double major and a French minor from Chicago! I concentrate in all things Black and Black women studies and love long-distance running.

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