No Money? No Worries

In the midst of the holiday season, we’re all trying to buy the gifts that we want for the people we love. If you’re in college though, funds can be low. Really low. And it can be stressful, overwhelming, and frustrating trying to find gifts for everyone when that’s the case. It doesn’t help that the media and other societal influences tell us that we have to buy gifts for the people we love, or we don’t really care. 

In order to make it a little easier for you this holiday season, here are some tips to help you find gifts, and not completely deplete your bank account. 

The first thing you’re going to want to do, before trying any of these suggestions, is to make a list of people you want to give gifts to. This can help you set up any of the following suggestions. 

Set a price limit / Make a budget:

Look at your intake of money for the month of December and decide on a maximum amount of money that you can afford to spend or feel comfortable spending. Divide that amount by the number of people you want to get gifts for, and that’s the amount you spend on each individual. If those numbers aren’t feasible, think about shortening the list of people you want to get things for. Or look at the next suggestions.

Suggest a gift exchange: 

If you’ve got a group of people who are all wanting to buy each other gifts, think about doing a gift exchange! Put everyone’s names in a hat and pick at random, or use an online generator tool! Then have everyone agree on a price limit. Usually, they can be around $15-$30. Set it for whatever is comfortable for everyone in the group. This works especially well the older the group gets, as people may find that they don’t want as many gifts as they get older.

Go halfsies (or thirdsies, or fourthsies, or… you get the idea):

If there’s a gift you want to buy for someone that’s too expensive for you by yourself, ask other people who are also buying gifts for that same person if they want to get a gift with you. My sisters and I do this for my dad almost every year. He’s a tool guy, and they’re expensive. And instead of spending $50-$100 myself on a tool, my sisters and I spend $20-$30 each for this. 

Make something: 

Making something can be daunting, especially if you don’t consider yourself an artist or artistic. But there are so many different ways to make something. Of course, if you can knit, sew, crochet, or anything like that, go for it! But you can also write a note, poem, or letter, make a collage, draw, or even bake food. The key to doing this is to cater to a person’s likes. Personalize whatever you decide to make. 

Make a memory:

If you’re trying to find gifts for younger siblings or family members, consider making a fun memory for them, instead of a gift. Take them to the zoo, a museum, a play, or even ice-skating. Again with this one, the key is to personalize it for the person.  If they hate the cold, maybe you find a conservatory to go to, instead of ice skating. 

If you can’t afford to buy a gift, that’s 100% okay. The most important part of the holidays is spending time with the people you care about. Gifts are secondary to that (companies and the media will tell you differently). And chances are, the people in your life are in the same boat as you. So, give yourself a break.