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6 Ways To Give Great Christmas Gifts While On A Tight Budget

Your family and friends know you’re working on a budget so they’ll understand. If you put time and thought into your gift, it’ll show.


If you’re a college student like me, it’s a given that you’re on a budget. Student loans, books, and the general cost of higher education plus a more limited ability to earn an income all make the cost of living hard to afford. So, buying gifts for family and friends at the holidays is no easy task. It’s hard enough buying yourself take-out pizza during the school year. These gifting ideas will make your holiday season go by much more smoothly.

1. Baked Goods

This is relatively cheap because you can do it at home and use your parents’ baking supplies (they won’t mind). Use this as a time of fun and relaxation after finals. Bake any of the sweet treats your heart desires, wrap them in pretty paper, and share the love! Tip: Bake something with ginger or peppermint in it to add some extra holiday flavor.

2. Second-Hand Books

Books are a great way to show people you put thought and care into their gift. If you share one of your favorite titles, it’s kind of like sharing a piece of your heart. Also, second-hand shops and thrift stores often offer books on super sale. There may be markups or ripped pages, but that gives it character. Tip: Look for vintage titles that’ll really impress your loved ones.

3. Drugstore Makeup

This is for any of the ladies in your life. Drugstore makeup might not be as posh as the high-end stuff, but in reality it’s just as good. Eyeshadow palettes are in right now, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can almost never go wrong with a cute nail polish color, either. Those little things are definite crowd pleasers and easy to afford. Tip: Maybelline or Covergirl are trusted cosmetic lines that you can depend on for quality stuff.

4. Local Jams and Honey

Stop by your local farmer’s market and show them your support! Oftentimes jams, jellies, and honeys are packaged in adorable little glass jars. Not only do these allow you to present someone with something that looks appealing, but it also tastes delish! Guaranteed you’ll spend less than $10. Tip: Cranberry preserves just exude Christmas feelings.

5. Homemade Body Scrub

This gift is for those people in your life who like to feel pampered. Body scrubs are a great way to moisturize your skin and smell nice. Here’s one simple recipe for Coconut Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Scrub: add one cup of brown sugar to half a cup of coconut oil; mix well with spoon; add vanilla (a splash); mix well; store in refrigerator. Tip: I like to put the scrub into a little mason jar with a ribbon on top.

6. Thrift-Store Décor

You may need to visit a few stores to find the gift, but keep your mind open. Look for something useful that you can clean up and add your own touch to. You can never know what you’ll find, so it’s sort of like a treasure hunt for the perfect gift! Keep the person in mind you’re buying for and channel that for your purchase. Tip: Consider browsing the vases and snag the nicest one. Add some grocery-store flowers and you’re set.

Basically, keep it simple; keep it small. Your family and friends know you’re working on a budget so they’ll understand. If you put time and thought into your gift, it’ll show. In fact, sometimes you can show you care more through the little things in life than the most expensive, extravagant gifts.