How to Save Money on Christmas Presents as a Broke College Student
It doesn't matter how broke you are, come Christmas, we all want to give back to our friends and family any way we can. But how can we get a meaningful gift under the tree without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas for making your holiday shopping both more frugal and more personal.
What's more personal than a personalized gift? I know what you're thinking - "Personalized gifts are so expensive!" And, yes, they can be. But personalized gifts don't have to cost hundreds of dollars. Recently, I got my little sister a mug with the name of her imagined coffee shop painted on it with gold paint. It cost me seven dollars, looked gorgeous and meant the world to her, because it was something that had individual meaning. Take some time to decide what things mean something to whoever you’re shopping for (or think of an inside joke or good memory) and see if online stores like Etsy have an affordable option for you.
Shop Sales (waddup Target dollar section!)
Whether this means keeping an eye on dollar section specials, or digging through clearance racks for a few minutes, shopping in-store sales is a great way to save money and load up on the gifts. The key here is to make sure that what you pick out is something that the person will love because of how it connects them to you, or reflects your knowledge of the things they like. Value comes in many different wrappings. (Speaking of wrapping - also check the dollar section for some of that!)
Starting in late November and leading up to Christmas, online sales are everywhere. Whether you're taking advantage of those sale banners at the top of every site, or using coupon hunting applications (there are some cool Google extensions that find coupons for you!) make sure any online shopping you do is supplemented with at least one coupon. It's shopping season. No excuses.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday
We're a little late on that this year, but it's something to keep in mind for the future. Many stores offer extended online deals around Black Friday and Cyber Monday (one of my favorite skin care brands is extending their sales until the second week of December this year!). Even if you don't feel like going into a Walmart and getting murdered by a random 50 year old woman who needs that sweater, Cyber Monday is your ticket to those famous Christmas list deals.
This one generally goes without saying, but I think that for those of us that aren't super crafty, this one can seem kind of…childish. My parents still have my finger painted candle holders that I made them when I was eight, and honestly I haven't made anyone a present by hand since… until this year. I decided to do a little sketch of a family that means a lot to me, and although it's not amazing, I'm pretty sure I'll get at least one tear shed when it's unwrapped. Try to think of what talents you may have, however "average" you may be at them, and see if there's an opportunity for you to use them this Christmas.
There are always ways to be more frugal any time, especially during the holidays. The key is to keep your eyes peeled for hidden deals, and get creative with how you shop for your favorite people. Happy Holidays!