A budget-friendly holiday gift guide from The Daily


Allie Goulding/Daily Senior Staffer

Gifts wrapped in The Daily. Using The Daily instead of wrapping paper is one of many ways to save money this holiday season.

Megan Munce, Reporter

2018 Holiday Guide

Are you a college student on a tight budget? Looking for some bargain gift ideas that won’t break your bank? Here are eight tips on how to save money on while fulfilling your necessary gift-giving obligations this holiday break.

1. Get creative with packaging. Instead of paying for expensive gift wrapping, save money (and the environment!) by using old assignments or even old copies of The Daily to create recycle-chic wrapping tied up in a festive ribbon. You can even take advantage of Starbucks holiday cups by lining one with tissue paper and stuffing it with festive socks or sheet masks.

2. Focus on quality over quantity. Set up a White Elephant or Secret Santa with your friends to save money on buying each and every one of them a gift. It’ll allow you to spend money getting one great and personal gift rather than trying to buy multiple on a budget. Alternatively, if you have a perfect gift idea for one of your friends that’s a little out of your price range, split the cost between your other friends to give them one thing they’ll really love rather than a few things they’ll just like.

3. Make it personalized. You can show appreciation for your friends and family by getting them small gifts with lots of meaning. If you have a friend who loves warm drinks, buy them a cheap mug that reminds you of them and write them a fun card about why it does. Personal packaging can spruce up low-budget gifts like a box of their favorite cookies.

4. Check out stores with good discounts. Rather than going to Sephora or Ulta Beauty, try hitting up your local T.J.Maxx for great discount makeup. Nordstrom Rack can be a great place to find discounted big brand makeup or otherwise expensive jewelry brands such as Dogeared. Most department stores also have a section where you can find cheap fuzzy socks or scarves to save your friends who come from warm places.

5. Plot all your present ideas out beforehand. If you make a list of what you need to buy, for whom and how much it’ll cost, you can avoid purchasing things on a whim and overspending for some friends and family members over others. If you do randomly find something you think is perfect for someone, the list will help you determine whether you’ve already bought a present for that person and if your budget can allow for whatever you want to buy.

6. Wait for sales. While some presents, such as things you’re ordering online, need to be bought far ahead of time, some gifts like scarves or a thermos for your Starbucks-holiday-drink-addicted-but-environmentally-conscious friend will always be there. Try waiting it out for the last-minute holiday sales to save money, but make sure you’re still budgeting time to buy! If you aren’t going to see certain friends or family members until after the Christmas rush passes, you can also capitalize on the post-holiday season sales.

7. Push up spring cleaning on the calendar. Going through your closet and sorting out all the clothes you haven’t worn since last year can be a great way to make money or great gifts. You can gift an old sweater to a friend who’s always admired it or a younger sibling that thrives on hand-me-downs, or you can head to a thrift shop and sell your old clothes to make money for your holiday gift budget. You can also re-gift meaningful things like an old copy of your favorite book.

8. Host a potluck. If you and your friends are all scrambling to save money this holiday season, host a potluck instead of giving gifts. Having everyone chip in a dish will save money and allow everyone to showcase their favorite holiday dishes. Just make sure to put your non-culinary inclined friends on eggnog duty.

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Twitter: @meganmuncie