15 Cheap DIY Gift Ideas For Those Struggling College Students

15 Cheap DIY Gift Ideas For Those Struggling College Students

No money, no problem.

It’s that time of year of again where everything and everyone is full of Christmas cheer — everything except one thing: your bank account. You want to be able to give your friends and family gifts and show them how much they mean to you, but it’s kind of hard when you have 5 cents to your name.

No worries, thanks to the lovely Pinterest and some creativity you can still be giving this holiday season.

1. Blankets

Just go to the nearest fabric store, pick out your favorite fleece material, and cut and tie into a nice cozy blanket. It’s SO easy, comfy, and most importantly CHEAP.

2. Picture Collage

Develop however many pictures you want, and create memorable collages. It’s a way to look back at all the good times you’ve had with that person and a kind gesture that anyone would enjoy.

3. Baked Goods

Break out your apron, Rachel Ray skills, and Google to figure out how to make homemade cookies, cake, or food of your choice. You can’t go wrong with some sweets.

4. Letter/Card

This is probably one the most inexpensive gifts on this list. A heartfelt card or a letter to someone telling them how much they mean to you might just be better than a fifty- dollar gift card to Red Lobster.

5. Face Scrubs

From Green Tea to Coconut Oil, you can whip up a great skin care product as if it came from Lush cosmetics. https://www.pinterest.com/explore/homemade-face-scrubs/?lp=true

6. Canvases

Release your inner Van Gogh and paint an inspirational quote or a picture for someone. It might be their next home décor or something stowed away in a closet, but either way, it will be appreciated.

7. Jewelry

It might not be an Alex & Ani bracelet, but I’m sure you can still make something cute and worth wearing.

8. Ornaments

Throw glitter, paint, sequins, anything sparkly and pretty and it will for sure be on the person’s tree you give it to.

9. Pottery

Your mom will ADORE that bowl or plate you make her, even if it’s not the fiesta ware she put on her Christmas list.

10. Soap

Another easy, yet doable craft that will leave the person smelling good, clean, and happy.

11. Dog Treats

You can’t just not get your dog something. Anything with peanut butter involved and your pet will love you forever.

12. Customized Cups

Write anything you want on a mug with sharpies from a quote to an inside joke. Bake the mug at 250 degrees for 30 min and it will stay on permanently.

13. Keychains

Make them something that they would want to put on their car keys and look at every day. It’s little and will cost you 5 dollars at the most.

14. Trail Mix

Another food item that you can throw together easily and can get the items at your local dollar store.

15. Coffee Stirring Spoons

Plastic Spoons, Chocolate, Sprinkles. Boom, Done.

All of these recommendations are not time-consuming at all, and most definitely in a college student’s price range. Homemade gifts are more meaningful too, so you can still be able to not only receive, but give as well this year.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.


I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)


I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

Related Content

Facebook Comments