Christmas gift ideas on a student budget


By Stephanie Rodriguez
Pulse Staff Writer

Christmas is a special time of year, yet it can also be a frustrating time of year financially!  While it’s great to give, it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank in doing so.

Here are ten gift ideas that anyone can manage on a budget:

1. If you have a large group of friends, have a Secret Santa exchange.

Hannah Alvarado, a Freshman Business major, said, “Buying one good present for someone is better than figuring out what to get 10 people who have all different tastes; it’s also great to get them something they’ll enjoy.”

2. Sign up for Groupon.  This online service offers discounts on  activities in your area and goods in general. It is a great way to get a bargain for your buck.

3. Pay for a magazine subscription. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, for an inexpensive one-time cost. Your friends will think of you every time they get their favorite guilty pleasure in the mail. Check out for deals on subscriptions.

4. Sometimes the very best gifts are unexpected gestures from those closest to you. Make a coupon book promising future services. These books are always a hit because they cost very little to make, and it is something that will be cherished forever.   Staple a book together of pictures of you and the lucky giftee, and on the back of the photos promise them breakfast in bed, back massages, cooking dinner, or whatever special gesture you will do for them.

5. Give the gift of time with a year of dates for you and your significant other. Plan 12 activities for you and someone special to do once e a month.  Write down the different activities or places you’ll go, and place them in an envelope. You will have a pre-planned excuse to get together once a month. No more, “What do you want to do?”

6. Don’t be afraid to shop at thrift stores.

Rosalie Calderon, a Psychology major, said, “Thrift stores are a great way to find gifts at low cost with some history behind it.”

7. Go homemade. With all of the cute DIY ideas on Pinterest, it’s not hard to find something to make for the holidays. Homemade gifts definitely equal lots of love.

8. Give food. Bake something delicious.  After all, the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. With a pile of sugar cookies and hot chocolate, people will forget everything but what an amazing friend and cook you are!

9. Draw names and agree on a spending limit. Challenge each other to only spend $20 on gifts and see who gives the most original presents.

Richard Hernandez, a Fire Science major, agreed ” It is hard to get every single person what they     want because I have a large family, so with picking names, it helps minimize my Christmas list, and I am able to give a gift that they want without being restricted on funds.”

10. White Elephant gift exchanges are always a lighthearted way to have fun with friends, family or co-workers and not put a dent in your wallet.  The thought behind White Elephant gift exchange is try to and get rid of  tacky gifts and gain a new one.

No one ever said shopping for holiday gifts was going to be easy, but it doesn’t mean you have to go broke. This is the season to enjoy time with loved ones. No matter what budget you have set, know that the best gifts always come from the heart.