It’s the most wonderful time of the year… well almost. Most of us college students are trying to stay alive through finals week. And right after, we’ll be hit by the fact that we need to buy Christmas presents for our loved ones… with our very limited budget, of course.

While we were trying to rationalize our excessive amount of procrastination throughout the semester during Thanksgiving break, we missed America’s biggest shopping days filled with insane sales. So it’s time to start brainstorming.

Gifts sets are a little over rated. It’s the fastest and easiest way for a company to attract customers and sell its products – that’s consumerism at its finest. Something about miniature products and insanely cute packaging empties people’s pockets. However, most people will agree that receiving gift sets is not as fun and exciting as many may think. A gift set says: “hey, I honestly did not give it too much thought, I didn’t know what to give you, and this was the easiest option.” Don’t be that person.

We all have a variety of people on our Christmas list – mom, dad, sister, brother, uncle, and so on. There is high chance we all have that one girl in our lives that is obsessed with makeup. Makeup can quickly turn into an expensive obsession. Here are some tips and ideas to give her something she’ll love, while staying within your budget.

The biggest and most important piece of advice when gifting a makeup lover makeup is to stay away from products such as foundations, concealers, powders, eyebrow products, and primers. As a makeup lover myself, I am the only person that knows exactly what my skin needs and likes – from the color shade to the consistency of a product.

Let’s begin with the eyes. Unfortunately, most of the popular eyeshadow palettes are expensive and if you have no idea what you’re looking for or at, let me tell you, there are some hidden and inexpensive treasures. If she’s a makeup lover, she most definitely will know who Carli Bybel is and about her top rated eyeshadow and highlighter palette – you’ll two birds with one stone. For under $15, you find this neutral and pigmented palette at Ulta. Now, if you want more options or know she already has that palette, check out Makeup Revolution and see the variety of palettes that they offer for $15 and less. If you want to give more for less, NYX Cosmetics has great quality eyeshadow pencils for under $5 – get a few a wrapped them. If you’d like to add a little extra to the gift, take a look at Maybelline’s mascaras for her to finish up her eye look.

On to lip products – currently makeup lovers are raving about mauve-brown matte liquid lipsticks. The popularity of these products has quickly increased the priced. But if you take a closer look, you’ll find the Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick line by NYX Cosmetics. The 12-color option ranges from light nudes to perfect browns.

If you’d like to gift her the option of having perfectly blended makeup, check out Real Techniques for a range of brushes to beauty sponges. Not only are they inexpensive, but they’re high-end quality as well. If she’s an environmentalist, check out Eco Tools.

Now, it’s time to shop… well after you’re done with finals. And if you still love the idea of gift sets, you can build your own with these products while not spending much and also giving your gift thought and personality.