As the countdown to Christmas begins, so does present shopping crunch-time. The holidays are all about giving, but sometimes that can be hard to do on a college budget. Here are a few ideas on how to get great presents for everyone, without empting your bank account.
Go to different places
When shopping for gifts, the first place someone goes is the mall. Skip this! Instead go to a small unknown boutique, thrift shop, or another unique place. Big chain stores often all bump up their prices because they know people go there first. By going somewhere unique instead you can find something different and usually less expensive. For example, I bought cashmere scarves from a street fair in NYC, five for $20. I got a great present for friends and saved money.
Another way to save yourself some cash is with coupons. Subscribe online to your favorite stores and get there coupons in emails. Keep your eye out and sometimes you’ll find great deals. For example, at PINK they had a special where if you spent $20 you could get a tote bag for only $5 instead of the usual $15. So I stocked up on the PINK essentials I needed and saved $10 on a tote bag for one of my friends.
Exchange your change
Plan on getting someone a gift card? Instead of shelling out your cash to buy one, collect all of your coins. There are coin counting machines that turn your coins into a gift card for whichever store you select and they don’t take away any money as a fee like it sometimes does if you have it given to you in cash. This way you can give your friend a great gift card and get rid of all of those coins weighing down your wallet.
Make it with love
Sometimes the best presents come straight from the heart. Instead of going out and shopping for your friends, make them something. This way you can give them something they will like that means even more because you made it for them. A few examples are a decorated picture frame, a gemmed wineglass, a handmade pillow, or even a tin of cookies. These gifts are useful and easy on your budget but they also have that extra element of homemade.
As the holidays get closer and it’s time to shop for those presents remember that the perfect present doesn’t have to be a great expense.