5 Gift Ideas (on a College Student’s Budget

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again: that time when we take a look at our bank accounts and wonder how we’re going to buy our family and friends meaningful gifts on a college budget.


I’m here to tell you that it can be done! Keep reading for some affordable, tried-and-true gift ideas that will be a hit with whoever gets them.


Custom-frame a photo, piece of artwork or any other meaningful item on Framebridge.com.

When your friend or family member hangs up this gift, they’ll always think of you and how much you care about them. And it’ll look great on their wall. Though framing starts at $39, which is a bit steep for college students, Framebridge is offering $10 off your first custom framing.


Write a sweet or funny message on a felt letter board.

I’ve been seeing these letter boards everywhere, and for good reason: they’re perfect for decorating your space and a ton of fun to play with for social media photos or just for yourself. And they’re pretty inexpensive, too: here’s one by Felt Like Sharing on Amazon (free shipping if you’ve got Prime--which college students can get for cheap!).


If you’re crafty, try knitting, crocheting, embroidery or needle felting some winter gear.

I’m a big crafter, and the holiday season is one of my favorite times to release my creative energy with hats, scarves, socks, gloves and more. It’s a win-win: stress reliever for me and a handmade gift that my loved ones appreciate!


Give them the gift of (plant) life!

I personally like gifts that are not some one-and-done material thing-- plants are the opposite of that. I feel good when I care for plants, and there’s evidence that they actually increase productivity and make you happier! I recommend giving succulents as gifts since they’re pretty low maintenance. You probably want to include a care sheet with the plant if it doesn’t come with one, in case the recipient is a plant novice. While you could buy them at your local garden stores, there are tons of 4-packs of succulents on Amazon for under $20-- just search “succulents” and you’ll find them.


Give the gift of yourself with a DIY Coupon Book.

While this sounds like something 8-year-old you would’ve done, a coupon book is just a more concrete way of pledging your time to your loved ones, whether by cooking or buying a meal, movie night or offering to clean the house. You can find templates online. Winter Break is the perfect time to gift this type of gift because you’ll have some time on your hands!


If you have any other ideas, share them with us on social media!