How Not to Move Back in With Your Parents

Affording Your Social Life Podcast Episodes

Holiday Gifts for Those on a Budget
To me From Me

Listen to the Podcast

Pete and Alex talk with IU MoneySmarts Team member Dean to discuss working over holiday break and the pronunciation of chorister.

Read the Show Notes

College usually means living on a tight budget, and that can be especially difficult during the holidays. If you’re worried your gift list will outweigh your wallet, read on!

Be Creative!

Do you know a couple with a young child who could use an evening to themselves? Give them a coupon for one night of your babysitting services free of charge, of course. If you're good at cooking and know someone who can't even seem to boil water, offer to make them a nice meal. If you have children, perhaps Santa should leave them a coupon allowing them to stay up late, get out of chores for the day, or pick what to have for dinner.

Great Gifts for $5!

If you’ve only got $5 to spend, you can still give surprisingly fun gifts—the trick is to be both thoughtful and creative. Shop the bargain section at the bookstore, scour eBay for inexpensive original art, pick up small scented lotions at your favorite store, or browse the clearance aisle at the mall for inexpensive kitchenware, candles, and other home décor. You can also shop online for great deals!

Do It Yourself!

If you have a creative streak, try making some gifts yourself! If you crochet or knit, whip up a scarf, hat, or mittens. If you paint, make small paintings for family and friends. If you have an eye for photography, print your favorite photos and either frame them or put them in an album. If you enjoy writing, fill up a small journal with fun memories you have with the gift recipient, or write a short story using the name of your recipient. Use your talents!

The Gift of Food!

Want to give something to everyone on your list without breaking the bank? Try gifting some cookies or sweets! Nobody will complain if you make them Peppermint Bark for every Christmas—and it’s so easy to make! All you need is some melting chocolate (this is different from regular chocolate—you can sometimes find it in the baking aisle, or in craft stores like Michael’s), some saran wrap, a plastic bag, a microwave-safe bowl, and some candy canes. While the chocolate is melting (on low temp in the microwave,) crush up the candy canes in the plastic bag. Pour the crushed candy cane into the melted chocolate, and mix. Spread out strips of saran wrap on a flat surface, and spread a thin layer of chocolate mixture. Let cool and harden. Break it into pieces, and wrap it up! Yum! There are lots of recipes you can make just as easily – search online!

Be honest!

Let’s face it. Your family, friends, and loved ones realize that the work you are doing right now in college is difficult. And adding to your already stressful life is coming up with holiday gift ideas on a shoestring budget. Be honest and tell them that right now, things are tight. Guess what? They’ll understand. The fact that you thought of them enough to want to give them a gift will be enough! And if you are lucky enough to be together during the holidays, that should be a gift in of itself.