Like many of us, I love this time of year! The lights, the music, the cheer – just love it. However, if you are on a budget (#GradStudentLife), this time of year can also feel daunting and hard to navigate. With multiple Secret Santa and White Elephant parties on top of honeys, friends and relatives, it can add up to a LOT of money spent on presents! And we’re still trying to eat over here! Below are some ideas for navigating Christmas presents on a budget:
- Suggest a Secret Santa. Especially if you have a big family, try making the suggestion that everyone gets a gift for only one person vs. something for everyone! I’ve used www.elfster.com with success!
- Get crafty. Knit someone a hat or scarf; make a pair of earrings; paint them something you know they’d love, Sew them an apron; Bake their favorite dessert! Homemade gifts can be so heartfelt (and inexpensive!)
- Gift Volunteer Experiences. Does your mom love animals? Take her to volunteer at an animal shelter! Bring your dad to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Volunteering can be a rewarding experience to share with your loved ones that doesn’t cost you anything but your time.
- Thrift. Some people are wary of second-hand gifts but thrift stores can have such gems! Find a cute shirt at a thrift shop and embroider something on the pocket, or spray paint art or decor to give it new life!
- Free Gift Cards. Sign up to take surveys at surveyjunkie.com to be gifted free gift cards – they make excellent gifts!
- Make a meal. Make brunch for your grandma or dinner for your parents if you can’t afford to buy much. Everyone loves a good homecooked meal and your family will be grateful for the time spent with them.
- Recycled wrap. Instead of buying wrapping paper, use thrifted cloth or recycled bags. You can spruce up old paper bags with cute stamps and colorful ink and use that as wrapping paper as well!
It’s easy to get lost in spending money for this and that, but at the end of the day, quality time is the best gift. If you can’t afford all the things, get creative with how to spend quality time with the people you love most!
Written by GUADS staff member Kate with contributions from dollarsprout.com