Holiday shopping on a college budget can be difficult. You feel like your loved ones deserve so much more than you can afford to give them. You might worry that they will upstage your gift, leaving you feeling guilty for not doing more.
However, these people understand that you have limited funds. It is possible to give your loved ones something unique and meaningful, even on a college budget.
Here are some tips to help you conquer gift giving this holiday season:
Start saving your money well in advance.
Waiting until the last minute to find out that you do not have enough money for all of the presents you need in awkward and frustrating. Make a list of what you want to get for each person on your list and compare prices at different stores to see who has the least expensive price for each item. Calculate an estimated cost and start working to earn the money needed to pay for the gifts. Buy each the gifts one by one as you earn the money. Planning ahead allows you to be organized and not scramble at the last minute looking for the money or lowest prices.
Create something unique as a gift.
Making something handmade is a special thing to do for loved ones. These gifts are usually the most cherished gifts that are given during the holidays. The cost of the supplies tends to be low, so the only real cost involved is the time to make the gift. Write a list of what you want to make for each person and what materials you are going to need. Look through a local craft store’s ad to see what the prices are and to see if there are coupons. Many craft stores have a percentage off the entire purchase, especially around the holidays.
See what treasures await you at your local thrift store.
Thrift stores have a wide variety of items for much less than is found in regular stores. These stores have everything from craft items and clothes to decorations and books. While some items may be old and dirty, many thrift stores work hard to ensure that every item that fills their shelves is quality. A quick browse through the store can unveil some awesome and unique gifts for loved ones. An awesome thing about many thrift stores is that at least some of the proceeds go to a charity of some kind.
Use coupons and shop during sales.
Coupons and sales are in abundance around the holidays. Look at store ads in your local paper or online to see where the best deals are and what coupons are available for the gifts you want to purchase for the holidays. Match coupons with sale items if the store allows you. Many times, stores hold big sales at the very last minute before a holiday, so if you did not get all of your gifts purchased in time, you may still be able to get the items at a reduced cost. Make sure to follow the coupon policy for each store and read the sales information carefully.
Avoid buying name brand items.
These items tend to be expensive, and you are only paying for the name. Many lesser-known companies offer the comparable products at competitive prices. Your loved ones understand that you are on a budget and that you would buy the best of the best if you could afford it, so do not beat yourself up if you cannot afford to buy the latest high-end fashion or gadget for someone on your list. They will be thrilled with whatever you decide to get because it came from you.