Holiday Shopping on a College Budget

Holiday Shopping on a College Budget

Holiday Budgeting

The holidays can often be stressful and overwhelming (for everyone) and college students are no exception. Let’s be honest, college students aren’t known for giving lavish gifts. We want to get our family members gifts but typically lack the funds for a gift that would truly show our appreciation.

I have learned during my four years in college that it’s not about the price tag of the gift, it’s about the sentimental value. Here’s my tips for shopping on a college budget (whether you are in college or not!)

Buy early to reduce holiday stress

Buy early. You’ll spend a little money here and there without draining your bank account and enjoy the extra time to find that right gift at the right price with the most sentimental value. The benefits of buying early make me feel like I’m not going broke at one moment and I can buy the gifts when I have a little extra money.

Use coupons. Coupons, regardless of the season, are essential to me no matter what shopping I am doing. Each coupon I use is free money, plain and simple. Why not take advantage of that? My pro tip:  Always go to the company’s website to check if they have deals or promotions. Search through newspapers, check your junk folder, and sign up for emails to receive the latest sale information throughout the holiday season. 


Search for companies offering student discounts. Again, free money! If you’re like me and have brothers, shorts and a t-shirt are usually the go-to gifts so check to see what clothing stores offer discounts specifically for students.

Shop at discount department stores such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc. Just because they are “discounted”, does not mean they are less worthy. Places such as Marshalls and or HomeGoods always have reasonably priced “gift” sets which really makes gift shopping easier.

In addition to discount department stores, try consignment shops! The amount of name brand clothing I have bought from consignment shops has saved me hundreds. Best part, the stores don’t take clothing that is not in good shape so you can get practically brand new clothing for less than half the original price. I have bought clothing from certain consignment shops with the original price tags attached! Knowing I just bought a $40 shirt for $8 is pretty great. If you’re shopping for your brothers or boyfriend, they tend to have great men’s sections as well.   My pro tip: If you have clothes you no longer wear but are in great shape, take them to a consignment shop and use the in store credit to buy gifts.

DIY makes a great holiday gift

If you’re crafty, a DIY gift is an excellent gift! Talk about adding sentimental value? Giving a homemade gift will make that gift mean that much more. Knit a scarf or a blanket, make your own candles or bath bombs etc. DIY gifts often cost less and mean more to the recipient.

Online shopping during the holidays

Shop online. One way to save money on gifts is to save money on gas. Shopping online allows you to save money and time when doing it from the comfort of your home and having the gift come to you. Most online merchants, offer free shipping but some may require a certain purchase amount. My tip:  buy multiple gifts from one merchant to knock out more than one person and save on shipping.

If you need or want help on creating a budget that best fits you, head over to our website for more information on Money Basics!

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