Holiday budgeting for students

Whatever holiday you’ll celebrate this winter, gifts are probably exchanged. Students, especially if they receive a gift, feel like they need to reciprocate—even if that isn’t in their budget.

Don’t worry about breaking the bank this holiday season, because there are plenty of ways to be smart about money when buying holiday gifts.

First of all, evaluate whether or not you need to give a gift to someone. One easy way to figure that out is to ask yourself if the person in question is going to give you a gift. For most friends, giving the gift of time and celebrating the holidays together is all that is necessary.

At the most, groups of friends should think about a gift exchange party, but don’t expect to get all of your friends gifts. But for the extremely special people in your life, boyfriends or girlfriends, mothers or fathers, a best friend, or whomever, there are great ways to gift. However, don’t gift if you really can’t. It’s better to not get them anything at all if you are going to buy them something lame like socks. Get them things that they’re going to use or that they truly want, otherwise you are just wasting your money.

The first place I recommend you look for great gifts is the many group coupon websites. Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, Krazy Coupon Lady and other websites allow you to get great deals on services and activities like spa treatments, auto services, exercise classes and more. They have something for everyone.

You can buy these deals at massively discounted prices and just check the box that says “this is a gift” and you can send the present right to your friend’s e-mail. Then, they can redeem their gift on their own time.

Another gift idea is to give the gift of adventure. Go on a day trip somewhere new and explore. The gift of your time and the memories that you make will be priceless. Staying local saves even more money on transportation expenses. Cook them something. Caution: if cooking isn’t your strong suit, then please do not try to gift your friends your toxic food. But if you can cook, then make some holiday cookies, a cake, a special dinner, a favorite childhood meal or some other goody.

Food is a great way to brighten up someone’s holiday because everyone likes food. The way to the heart is through the stomach. If the person you are buying a gift for already has everything, or is hard to shop for, then you can’t go wrong by donating something in their name.

At websites like or, you can buy a goat to provide a family with food and income, provide life-saving medicines to those who need them to survive, wrap a baby in a blanket, buy a student school supplies, or provide other things for those in desperate situations.

Other organizations like Krochet Kids International provide products that benefit workers in other countries. At their website, you can find headgear, clothing and accessories tagged with the name of the artist who made it.

How could someone hate a gift that helps such a good cause?


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Holiday budgeting for students

by Genevieve Huard time to read: 2 min