And then I looked at my bank account.
I normally love the holiday season. Pretty lights, family get-togethers, cozy fair isle sweaters…it’s the best.
But this year, I found myself approaching “Jingle Bells” with a bit of hesitation and dread. Let’s just say being a graduate student isn’t the most lucrative of careers. That being said, giving gifts is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season so I started getting creative…
Here it is. The Broke Girl’s Guide to Holiday Shopping:
Sale Racks Are Your Friend
Have a friend who loves fun colored work out clothes? Or does Grandma love cozy sweaters? Check out the sales racks at department stores or places like TJ Maxx for great deals that won’t break the bank! When you aren’t shopping for a specific item, you are more likely to find “inspiration items” that make you think of a particular loved one…especially at 50% off.
Obviously we have outgrown macaroni and glitter picture frames, but DIY gifts never go out of style. Small things like coffee bean soap or hand-painted mugs are great for co-workers or groups of friends. Take on a larger project for your friend who just moved into a new apartment…a uniquely re-finished end table or a hand-painted piece of pallet art will add a special touch to her new space (just makes sure you know her design aesthetic!). Check out our Pinterest DIY board for even more ideas!
Groupon and Living Social
Obviously you aren’t going to gift a new haircut or laser hair removal (although if you do, more power to you!), but websites like Groupon and Living Social are constantly posting deals on cheap get-aways or local activities that are perfect gifts for a significant other. Start shopping early and keep an eye out…you might just score a bed and breakfast for two without having to dip into your tuition money!
And Worst Case Scenario…
Coupon books for hugs and kisses were cute when you were a kid, so why not make them more mature and re-use the idea? Sure, Mom and Dad aren’t going think a hug coupon is all that great when you’re 22, but maybe they’ve been talking about re-organizing the garage forever. Offer to spend your day off helping them tackle it! Or invite them to your place for a nice, home cooked dinner that they don’t have to shop for, cook, or clean up (maybe they’ll even bring wine)! Your family loves you which means they probably know that you’re #broke, and don’t want you to go out and spend your rent money on things they don’t need. As long as you are thoughtful, they’ll be appreciative of the effort. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself :)
Do you have any ideas that we missed? Tweet them to us at @LLandCS and we will re-tweet!
Photo Credit: picjumbo.com