Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Gift-Giving Guide From a Broke College Student



Gift Ideas for Everyone 

I will not sugar-coat it. 

I am broke. 

When I say “broke”, I mean college-student broke, the type where even finding a dollar in my pocket is the best news of the week. It does not help that with a pandemic happening, most jobs are closed or with restricted hours. I know that there are many other young adults stuck in the same situation I am. With the holidays coming up, I, for the first time ever, have finished all my gift shopping weeks before Christmas. As an extra benefit, I did it without breaking the bank. It did take a lot of thinking because I still wanted my presents to be unique. Through my love for small businesses and picking up a few lessons on crafts, I managed to find special gifts for my friends and family and make it clear to them that I have them in my mind and heart. 


Small Businesses

With a pandemic happening, small businesses are in need of our help more than ever, and it is also a great opportunity to find personalized gifts that do not break the bank. I have listed small businesses that I have personally already shopped from that I can guarantee good quality and great ideas for gifts. 

Etsy Shop: MonarchbyJannet 

MonarchbyJannet sells cute and cheap accessories with free shipping. She has rings, beanies, and headbands. She also includes very cute scrunchies with every purchase. I recently bought a ring for a friend from this shop and it is so dainty and elegant. 

Etsy Shop: CleverLittleEars 

This vintage shop sells cute clip-on earrings that are perfect stocking stuffers. I personally do not have my ears pierced and have gotten all my clip-on earrings from this shop. They have free shipping and good prices for earrings that are good quality. 

Etsy Shop: FeiMeiPresents 

FeiMeiPresents sell the cutest floral phone cases. These are unique because the flowers are real dried up flowers from FeiMei’s garden. This means that each case is unique and has a lot of variety. She also focuses on every little detail that makes the gifts seem very personalized and delicate. 

There are a lot of other small businesses that sell great gifts that I can not wait to explore. These small businesses love new customers, guarantee quality for all their orders, and sell items that are impossible to find at mainstream stores. 



The cheapest gift ideas that still show an effort were made are homemade gifts. Through the fall, I have picked up how to crochet and have made many items such as beanies, tops, scarves, jackets, and sweaters. It is a skill that is easy to pick up, and I manage to crochet while still being able to watch my favorite shows and movies which is a win in my book. Crochet gifts are great because the recipient can see the effort and crocheted items are easily customizable to each person. 

Another craft idea is homemade hot cocoa bombs. There are always homemade cookies or candies, but hot cocoa bombs are a new trend that is very easy to give to friends as a stocking stuffer. It is also very simple to make and can make multiples in one batch. There are a lot of other homemade gift ideas that can be personalized to each receiver, such as painting items, resin crafts, and embroidered clothing. Making these homemade goods show the receivers the effort you put in and also differentiates from store-bought gifts because homemade gifts have personalization and show the receiver the time you would put in for them. 


Hopefully this gifting guide helps you find affordable and heartwarming gifts this holiday season!

Hello! My name is Greta Shaw and I am currently a sophomore attending Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. I plan on going into marketing and to use my Chinese communication skills to work internationally.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️