How not to be a Scrooge on a student budget

Chase Sachs likes to go online for his holiday shopping.

How not to be a Scrooge on a college student budget 

This is a time of year when different faiths, customs or societies demand a little gift giving. For many college students who live within strict economical guidelines, the holidays can become a time of stress.

But getting a little creative, resourceful and choosing wisely can go a long way toward stretching that budget. 

Before you go out and buy something that could turn out to be a lame gift, call your family or friends and ask what they need.

Those close to you know the kind of budget you are on and can give you ideas within your spending limits. That way you are getting them something they can use instead of something that will end up in a corner with the ugly holiday sweaters and the other cheap token gifts. 

Another idea is to consolidate your resources and think about asking a family member to go in halves with you. Maybe you can get even more people involved. More money pooled together for one person can go a long way toward a better gift or that special something they’ve always wanted. 

Take into account your own talents and think about the great gifts your loved ones will appreciate.  The thoughtfulness and love you put into making a gift yourself can go the extra mile where money could never take you.  

Make sure you take into account how much money a gift idea will cost you. Putting that fabulous picture of you and your buddy in a frame is a great idea, but look for a frame that won’t bust your budget. 

“Yeah I’m a little broke, said Jenny Heiserman, a senior majoring in health information technology. “I thought I’d get crafty.  Maybe crochet some socks or something.  I might get on Pinterest and use stuff I already have.”

How about baking for the ones you love?  Cookies and breads are a great start. 

The dollar store is a great place to find gift-wrap or cellophane wrap for a goodie basket you can make. They also have baskets there and great doodads or ornaments you can tie on your gift instead of a bow.

“I’m doing o.k.,” said Abby Lechner, a senior psychology major when asked about her holiday funds. “I adopted a family. There is a little girl, 2 boys and 2 parents that I’ll buy for.” Lechner says that her own family sets spending limits for everyone on gift buying. 

You can give a gift of your time with some coupons you create for chores or maybe you can make a coupon that revives that special hike you used to have with your dad. Get imaginative. What could you do that would really make someone’s day? 

It’s still not too late to find a job for a little extra money.  Holiday jobs are aplenty this time of year. Or find odd jobs you can do for neighbors or family for a little extra cash. 

“I’m looking on the internet to find less expensive gifts,” said Chase Sachs, a senior history major. “I’m on a college budget and am doing online research. I think I’ll get stuff on Amazon. I can save some money and get better gifts and not have to shop with all the other freezing people.” 

A gift given with a little thoughtfulness behind it can make you a star. That and a little ingenuity can go a long way toward giving some of the best gifts you’ve ever given, even through a money crunch.