Holiday gifting on a college budget

Money can be tight on college budget; gift friends, family things they will appreciate, value



A simple gift can be the best one. Don’t be afraid to gift your friends something small or tasty.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

It is that time of year again where people give and receive gifts per the tradition of the holiday season. Gifts are joyous for many people all around. It is a wonderful feeling to appreciate and feel appreciated.

With that in mind, the holiday season can be troubling for college students, particularly freshmen. Our financial situations are not always stable, so we may find that we have less money to spend on fun things, like gifts.

So for those who wish to get their friends presents this year but may not have a large amount of cash to do so, here are a few options below.


A good motivator for most situations is free food. There have hardly been incidents of people passing up the opportunity to get it.

Because money is tight around the holidays and the end of the semester, food may not be as available as it was earlier in the year. In which case, gifting your friend a box of macaroni and cheese might draw a lot more appreciation than a random gadget from Amazon.

If you have a few spare dollars for gifts, you probably know at least one person who could use some spare food. Chips, cereal and box dinners are cheap enough to where you could get a small assortment of options. It may not be the most glamorous option, but it will end up meaning a lot to the receiver.


Plushies never lose their charm even as we transition into adulthood. They are little friends that accompany us whenever we need them. Surprisingly, plushies are not very costly. 

There are a lot of options for plushies at Walmart that range from $5 to $10. The plushies might be small due to the low cost, but it does not make them any less adorable. For an added positive effect, there is also the option to attach a personal note. One example is having the plushie hold a “hug me” note.

The great thing about plushies is they can bring happiness indefinitely. For a low cost, this gift has infinite value.

Homemade gifts

Finally, for those who may not have much money for gifts, this last option may be a saving grace. An important consideration with presents is that they should come from the heart, not from the paycheck. It is not about how much monetary value is attached to the gift, but rather how much personal value is attached to the gift.

In which case, there is a wide range of homemade gift ideas that could potentially cost nothing provided you already have the materials. Drawings, poetry and crafts are all things that could put a smile on a friend’s face, especially if they have a passion for creative projects.

Truly, your friends will likely appreciate the effort you went into making them a gift more than the money you paid buying one. They understand as much as everyone else that money is not an abundant resource in general during college years. Showing your appreciation through a project you made will be worth just enough to make someone’s holiday season.