7 Gifts You Can Afford On The 'Broke College Kid' Budget

7 Gifts You Can Afford On The 'Broke College Kid' Budget

For when you're broke but in the holiday spirit.

It's the Greatest time of Year! It's also one of the most expensive times of the year. A time of joy and family fellowship... but also a time for your wallet to scream and cry from the abuse you will be giving it. I hear you fellow college students.

You want to give your family and friends gifts because you know it's the season of giving, but your wallet isn't on the same page as you. I'm here to help you out. Here are some gifts that you can afford, that will still warm hearts.

1. DIY

DIY doesn't have to be the cheesy macaroni picture you used to make, it can be beautiful and cost-effective. And the best part is you don't have to be some kind of artist. The gifts you can make can range from simple, Sharpie Mugs to difficult, hand knit scarfs and hats. There are so many things you can make I'm going to make a sub-list of three things I personally know are cute to give out.

1. Sharpie Mugs - Go to the dollar store and buy 1 dollar mugs and then go to Wal-Mart and buy oil-based Sharpies for like 3 dollars. You can write Happy Holidays on a bunch of them or you can customize your messages. If you want to get fancy, you can draw a design. Put the mug in the oven to let it "bake" for about an hour. Let the mug dry overnight. Check it the next day to make sure it has officially dried. If not, throw it make in the oven and let it "bake" again. Make sure you buy a mug that can be put in the oven.

2. Mason Jar Recipes - You can get a few mason jars from a craft store and choose a recipe such as a soup, put all the dry ingredients inside of the mason jar and tie a bow around it. Then print out the recipe and attach it to the jar.

3. Scarfs and Sweaters - if you knit or crochet, the craft store has yarn, have at it!

2. Dollar Store

The Dollar Store is you friend everyone. Especially Dollar Tree, I mean everything is a literal dollar. And they actually have nice things there. They have something for everyone on your list and you definitely won't break the bank.

3. Baked Goods

Who doesn't love sweets? You can bake a bunch of cookie, brownies, or cupcakes and pass those out at Christmas. Head on over to the dollar store to buy the ingredients and some cute gift bags or boxes and Voila!

4. A Thoughtful Card

This may seem like nothing, but sometimes people cherish what you say more than some expensive gift. A card comes more from the heart than an electronic or a box of chocolates. Choose this option only if you're going to write something heartfelt. This is a great gift for older relatives that don't expect a gift from you. You can write them thanking them for all they do and showing your appreciation for having them in your life. You can buy one large box of cards for no more than 5 dollars

5. Clean your room or entire house

This is especially for your parents. It shows that you've heard them the other 364 days of the year when they've asked that you clean up for once. Or maybe your room is clean, and you tidy up around the house... if that's the case, you can rake the leaves or shovel the snow. You can fix something if you're handy. Or you can...

6. Bring Someone Breakfast in Bed

This can be your parent, boyfriend/girlfriend, siblings, roommate. Make them a breakfast of there favorite foods or the foods you know how to make. Or even spend a little on a McDonald's breakfast and put it on a plate. Breakfast in bed is a sweet way to pamper a person and let them feel special. If you can't cook, maybe don't choose this one though... or again McDonald's.

7. Coupon Book

This is so cheesy, but I'm assuming you are desperate and that's why you're reading this. Or you're my friend... Either way, coupons books are pretty elementary. But that doesn't mean they should be frowned upon. They can also be great gifts for people. Fill it with things like "Owed, One Home-Cooked Meal" "Owed, Movie night with Pizza; my treat, you pick a movie" "Owed, One Day of Chores" "Owed, No need for Uber, I'll Drive you there" "Owed, My Netflix Password."

Choose one of these or fill in your own according to what you know the person would like. You can make them pretty or they can be simple, but the gifts you are offering will last longer than just December 25th. It's literally the gift that keeps on giving.

So there you have it, folks. Just 7 of the many easy and cost-effective gifts you can give out this Christmas. It is important for me to say, that though gifts are nice, they are not the most important thing about this holiday. Whether you celebrate for religious reasons or not, Christmas should never be centered around what you can or can't afford or what you do or don't get. It should be about giving, not just of gifts but of time, love, and joy. Time, love, and joy also happen to be incredible gifts that don't cost anything and everyone will love. Happy Holidays everyone.

Food For Thought: If you want another way to give this season, try donating old toys or new toys to organizations for children who would otherwise not receive a gift. Or volunteer at a soup kitchen or nursing home. Don't be consumed by the capitalist spirit and forget the true meaning of the holiday.

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/christmas-gifts-holiday-present-3015973/

Popular Right Now

3 Signs You're Overdoing It For A 'Bikini Bod' And Risking Your Actual Body In The Process

Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.


Looking in the mirror, a surge of reality overtook her petite body, and her eyes opened for the first time in years to the protrusive bones at all angles of her body. Her relationships were dwindling by a thread, and the hourglass of her life was almost up, yet she continued fighting an impossible battle for an impossible body. How did she allow a seemingly harmless diet escalate into something so drastic? Why was she putting her health on the line for a body that was only seen on billboards and magazine covers?

It's that inevitable time of year when the weather's getting warmer, the birds are chirping, yet your mind has been roaring ever since Target released their bathing suit line in January. Especially during the warmer seasons, everyone wants to look and feel their best, mostly because we can no longer hide that extra "damage" done by Aunt Judy's peanut butter pie in 100-degree weather on the beach.

Having weight loss goals, or any body-related goals for that matter, are true tests of discipline and are certainly rewarding, for both our health and for our self-esteem. However, progress can become addictive, and you could very much start performing a disappearing act if you're not careful and strategic in pursuing your goals.

Particularly to my fellow extremists out there, learn to mend your battle stations wisely if you plan on preparing for the summer season, and don't sacrifice your sanity and your health for a war you'll never win. Here are some signs that you may be overdoing it, or essentially causing more harm than good.

1. You're eating numbers

Not that you literally ate the quadratic formula for breakfast, but you're seeing your food for its numerical value instead of for its sometimes soul-satiating and always body-nourishing means; knowledge is power and counting calories to lose weight is undoubtedly an effective way to track your progress. But not for us extremists. If you have obsessive tendencies, there are more precautions to consider when using this weight loss tool. When the moderate indulgence of a succulent brownie suddenly warps into an off-limits red flag, ringing in your mind: "410 calories, 24 grams of fat and 46 grams of carbs, oh my!" then it's time to step back and reevaluate your plan. Don't let numbers run your life. Food is not the enemy, and you will start becoming your own with this mindset.

2. You've been staying in on the weekends

Your goals for the perfect beach body (as seen, literally, only on TV) just don't involve a night out at the bars, drinking empty calories of alcohol, and, unavoidably, eating pizza. Getting off track for one night makes you anxious. But this will soon start to eat away at you. We are social beings and thrive in social settings. However, no one wants to be around a hangry grouch who's in dire need of many snicker bars.

3. You workout to "earn" and "burn off" your meals

Let's say you did go out one weekend and had more pizza or "off-limit foods" than you would have liked. The next day, your initial thought is to go work everything off, and you begin to form this love-hate relationship with the treadmill, simultaneously with yourself. Instead of allowing fitness to enhance your life, it dangerously starts to consume you. You're not a dog, and do not need to "earn" anything!

So why does self-love always feel like a battlefield?

We forget that long-lasting, high self-esteem stems from the invisible qualities we all have that define us, such as compassion, intelligence, humor, and resilience. Today's media has ingrained an idealistic, nonexistent (except maybe for those who eat cotton balls for breakfast and ice cubes for dinner, no judgments here though!) image in our minds, where women feel pressured to obtain a body seen only on billboards and magazine covers. We fight our bodies past their warning signs of exhaustion, making self-love feel like a battlefield.

I once overdid it.

I viewed food as numbers and for only their effects on my appearance. I had to effortfully rewire my brain to stop associating certain foods as "bad" or detrimental to my physique that I prioritized over every other aspect in my life.

I stayed in every weekend, watching my relationships crumble in a domino effect, while only having enough energy to exercise. There's nothing more mentally consuming, and addictive than looking in the mirror and wanting to become smaller and smaller every day, but this was my reality for a long time, and it started with simple diet intentions for the upcoming summer season.

Be careful with your body goals, because as humans, we always tend to take things too far, and we are not indestructible. Eventually, the repercussions of inadequate self-care catch up with us, and we will always be the underdog on the battlefield for self-love.

If you're still worried about your bikini bod, let's also not forget: One-pieces and high-waisted bottoms are always an option!

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

Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

Related Content

Facebook Comments