Holiday Gift Guide

By Emily Weikl

Staff Writer

Christmas is a holiday based around gift-giving, but finding a present at reasonable prices can be a challenge. That is especially so for college students. Money or the lack thereof is in the back of minds of many since there are financial expenses to getting an education.  As the month of December starts, here are some tips on buying gifts without spending a chunk of change.

1. Make your own gifts. Homemade gifts such as candles and scarves are money savors because of the little cost used to make them. They can also be functional in the upcoming winter season as temperatures dip. Pinterest has a section dedicated to gifts crafted by hand in addition to stores like A.C Moore.

2. Get gifts that are meaningful to the other person instead of showing off to them. reported the following: “A ten dollar gift that actually matches a recipient well means far more than a thirty dollar gift that’s useless to the recipient. But how can you know what to get? If you’re stymied, make a list of the interests that the recipient has – think hard about it.”

3. Start as soon as possible. Rushing to get gifts at the last minute can lead to overspending, according to a 2012 survey by the American Research Group, as reported by They also reported that “Procrastinators estimated that they spent a wallet-draining $250 more than early birds, so schedule that mall run sooner rather than later.”

4. Make a plan. A plan includes knowing how much is going to be spent, who it’s going to be spent on, and what is going to be purchased. Not having one can lead to excess spending among other things.

5. Don’t buy something ‘just because’. Christmas cheer may abound in malls and shops, but giving in to impulse buys can lead you to having things that don’t end up being used. Not to mention breaking the budget that was set.

6. Experiences can be gifts too.  Tickets to an anticipated event or planning an outing can be just as good as a gift as one that isn’t wrapped. Crystal Paine, of Money Saving  Mom, expressed that sentiment to “Sometimes, the most remembered gifts are those that took thought, not money.”

7. Scope out for coupons. Coupons can save a great deal of money when it comes to getting presents for multiple people. Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer discounts on services and products via coupons.

8. Shop with friends.  Joseph Grenny’s research found that the friends people have are a factor in them keeping or breaking a budget. The co-author of ““Influencer: The Power to Change Anything” reasoned that there are two categories of people we associate with: accomplices and friends. “Friends support you, either actively or passively (by setting a good example and not tempting you to cheat) when you’re trying to make a healthy change, like staying on a diet or budget,” reported. “Accomplices don’t have that kind of restraint, and really don’t want you to either. It makes them look bad. If you have friends, willing to help you stay on a budget, shop together.”

9. Limit momentum buying.  Buying a gift can lead to buying solely for the sake of buying. According to, “A study by Yale and Stanford researchers dubs this the ‘shopping momentum effect’ — buying one thing seems to unleash your inner spendthrift.” Take a break after buying something to avoid spending money on an extra thing.

10. Know how much money you have and be realistic.  Even with a job, getting gifts for friends and family can be difficult while you’re getting an education. Understanding this will help in making your budget and in choosing what to buy. Christmas is a season of giving.  No matter what you give to those you love, it is a gift with the person in mind. Homemade or purchased. Simple or grand. It doesn’t matter because the gift came from you.