How to give the perfect gift without that bank account hangover

By in Culture

Finals are right around the corner, and that means the happiest time of year is almost here! However, for us poor university students, the holidays can impose a great deal of stress on our financial situations.

Many students are already scraping the bottom of the barrel to buy another cup of ramen for dinner, and now, they are also expected to somehow find extra cash to buy gifts for their loved ones. It can be difficult to buy such meaningful gifts while staying on a budget.

First things first, it’s a good idea to draw out a game plan. You can start by figuring out how many people you need to buy for, and then, assigning a budget for each person. A minimum price isn’t necessary, but it may be a good idea to set a maximum amount for each person, so you don’t wipe your bank account clean.

Finding the perfect gift for someone special doesn’t mean spending the most amount of money on them. Truth be told, some of the best gifts are no more expensive than that fast-food hangover meal you bought yourself last Sunday. No matter what you purchase for that special individual, their face is sure to light up like a Christmas tree.

Once you have the basics organized, you’re ready to shop. Finding a memorable gift is an intimidating task, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Bookstores like McNally Robinson and Indigo carry write-in books that allow their owners to record important events and thoughts. These books are the perfect sentimental gift for almost every member of your family and for your significant other.

If you want a more meaningful gift, nothing says sentimental like something homemade. If you know how to sew or knit, you’ve pretty much got the DIY gifting in the bag. For the rest of us, has countless ideas for DIY gifts. Some of the cuter ideas on Pinterest include homemade beeswax, essential-oil candles and a “52 Reasons Why I Love You” book made out of playing cards.

When shopping for the right gift, don’t forget that the retail price is not always the final price. informs you about a number of sales going on in stores across the city, and features coupons on many goods, beauty and spa treatments, and restaurant and travel vouchers. The best part about Groupon is that you can even buy some items in bulk.

Remember that you don’t always have to leave your house to buy gifts, either. Nowadays, you can do most of your shopping right from home on any device with internet access, and some online retailers feature exclusive discounts and sales that are only available online.

Another way to cut down the cost of gifting is to group people together. If you have multiple siblings who are around the same age, buy them a singular present that they can share and enjoy together. Board games, video games, movies and puzzles are great group gifts. You can also buy one joint gift for your parents, like a spice rack or a new bedspread.

Holiday gift giving is only as stressful as you make it. Following these tips can help ease some of your wintertime financial struggles and put the “happy” back into your Happy Holidays!

Larissa Belinsky

Graphic: Shamille Sarcauga