Give quality gifts without breaking the bank

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A bank account with very little money in it shouldn’t be the reason why college students can’t give good meaningful gifts this holiday season.

Many college students survive on little funding. For me, it generally seems there is just enough money to pay rent, utilities and groceries. Any extra funds I have are typically put toward a weekend activity with my wife. Yet, every holiday season, money tends to gain even more elasticity, thus allowing for good gift giving which puts a negative balance in your bank account. 

One of my favorite aspects about this time of year, even more than gingerbread cookies or Christmas music, is the satisfaction of knowing I got the perfect gift for someone. There is nothing better than seeing a huge smile on someone’s face when they tear the wrapping paper to shreds. 

The holiday season should allow us to set aside our selfish wants and focus on what we can do for others. Think back to a time in your life when you can remember both giving something and receiving something of value. Which option left you feeling happier and more satisfied? 

For some reason, there is this general stigma in society that the only gifts people can give are ones that are elaborate and expensive. Anything short of that mark is simply not good enough. It has played a part in society ever since consumerism came about.

So how do millennials conquer the art of excellent holiday shopping and gift giving? My suggestion would be to make a list, check it twice, and hope everyone isn’t naughty but nice. With more than two decades of experience doing this, let me tell you what I do and maybe it can help you. 

Make a list and check it twice 

I am the type of person that has to have everything written down. It allows me to keep track of the gift ideas that come flooding through my mind. Keeping a list also helps me stay organized and know where I am just in case Christmas Eve comes sneaking up on me, and I forgot to buy or make my dear aunt Susie a present. 

Having a list allows me to change or update a present idea I may have, especially if the list is kept on my phone. By checking the list twice, it keeps those present ideas fresh in my mind. 

Use Amazon, eBay or any online consumer site 

Holiday shopping online is one of the easiest things you can do. It saves you time, gas money and a few bucks if the right deal is found. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but some companies still have deals going on. If you know where to look, your next purchase shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.

Another perk about shopping online is the greater chance you have for finding what you are looking for. By visiting safe websites like Amazon and eBay, they can literally point you in any direction you need to go in order to find the right gift at the right price. Every penny counts when you shop on a college student’s budget. 

Do it yourself 

Sometimes making a gift can be the most time consuming for people to do, but it can turn out to be the most rewarding. If you want to give someone a gift that truly comes from the heart, make or do something for them. There is added value when one takes the time to put something special together for someone they truly love. 

When I was younger, I used to make my mom Christmas ornaments  for the tree as her gift. Now this holiday season, my wife and her family have decided to follow the same route of “do it yourself” gifts as part of the gift-giving festivities.This makes it fun and creative. I seriously can’t wait to give my brother-in-law his present. It’s perfect for him. 

Whatever your circumstance may be this holiday season, be thinking about others and how you can make this a special time of year.