A Gift Guide: For the Broke College Student

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Gabrielle Rodriguez

With the holidays approaching, we all feel the inevitable stress of gift giving looming over our heads. It’s even worse for us broke college students, so here’s some tips for shopping on a budget for everyone on your “Nice List.”

For Stocking Stuffers:

There are a certain assortment of gifts that you can give to almost anyone. Stationary, candles, fuzzy socks, wine tumblers, and mugs are all fantastic gifts that you can give to pretty much anyone. The best part of giving stocking stuffers? They’re cheap.

You can find great stocking stuffers for five to fifteen dollars in the Target bargain bins.The margin bins are an especially great place to find seasonal items, which is great for a White Elephant gift exchange. Another place to find great deals on an assortment of items is Five Below. The store carries a surprisingly wide selection of items—all of which are under five bucks—including fuzzy socks, a graphic t-shirt collection that has a few hidden gems, and collection of coloring and puzzle books.

For The Social Butterfly:

With social distancing and quarantine, 2020 has been a hard year for extroverts. The holidays are a time of hope and looking forward, so a great gift for the social butterfly in your life is something they can use when it’s safe to be in big groups of people.

Target carries a variety of party games for less than 20 dollars. Everything from the classic Cards Against Humanity to games based off of their favorite sitcoms. These games are a great way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.

For The Bookworm:

When shopping for the bookworm in you life, chances are your first instinct is to go to Barnes and Noble. While there’s nothing wrong with Barnes and Noble, when your gift shopping on a budget I’d recommend Half-Price Books to get more bang for your buck.

Half-Price Books is super convenient. Using their website you can shop by price or by genre, and get those items shipped straight to you door. Or you can take the bookworm to the store with you and watch what they gravitate toward on the shelf, so they essentially do the shopping for you in addition to some quality time. Half-Price Books also is a great place to shop for CDs and vinyls for the vintage lover in your life.

For A Personal Touch:

If you’re looking for a gift with a personal touch, I’d recommend looking on Etsy. On their website, Etsy offers holiday sales and many items, like personalized jewelry, that are far more affordable on Etsy than they would be in a store. Gift shopping on Etsy is also a wonderful way to support small businesses and artist that have been impacted by the pandemic. The one caveat: check your shipping dates and get your shopping done early to make sure your gifts arrive in time.

Another easy way to add a personal touch to a gift is to make it yourself. Putting together a photo collage or a scrapbook is a classic, but simple way of showing someone how much you care. Try highlighting some of your favorite memories with that person, or consider making a scrapbook of all the places you plan to go when social distance restrictions are lifted. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The thought and effort you put into the gift is what really counts in the end, and it’s what differentiates between a good gift and great one.