In College and Starting Out

In college and just starting out as young adults, read along as these bloggers face a new stage and increased responsibility.

Holiday Gifts on a Budget

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The holidays are just around the corner, but for some college students, tight budgets will make the season a little less "merry." During my first year in college, I dreaded buying holiday gifts, because I knew my 12 hour per week income from the toy store wasn't going to cut it. The next year, I began to change my shopping habits. 

When planning my shopping, I watch for big sales.  And, I learned, by working in retail that "Black Friday" wasn't the only day for savings.  Most stores will have an outrageous sale the week of Christmas.  I know that most people like to get their shopping done early, but waiting may be worth it.  I'm not saying that "Black Friday" sales aren't full of awesome savings, but there are other days to consider.  The key to having a frugal frenzy - sales, sales, sales! 

I also started to save a percentage of my pay checks starting in September.  When it came time for holiday shopping, I had a nice savings to work with.  If you're an awesome saver - start saving as early as possible. If you like to get your shopping done early, buy a gift with each pay check, instead of putting money aside.  By the time December rolls around, you'll be finished with your shopping! 

Another expense is wrapping paper.  Instead of buying tons of wrapping paper, try to buy the bigger roles.  They're equivalent to about five roles and it will save you in the long run.  To save even more, consider wrapping gifts in newspapers!  And, buy wrapping paper after the holidays when it goes on sale for 50-75% off and save it for next year.

When shopping, try not to go overboard.  Consider buying only one gift per person.  If you have a really big family or tons of friends, suggest doing gift exchanges.  This way you'll only have to buy for one person rather than ten.  Also, set a limit on how much to spend.  Knowing that everyone is spending the same amount will stop the guess work and ease the stress of the situation. 

The holidays shouldn't be stressful.  It's a time of giving and celebration.  Remember that no matter what you give or how many gifts you give, the person will be thankful for it.  I had to keep telling myself that it's not a competition.  I now realize that I don't need to give the best or most expensive gift.  I remember that just being able to give a gift and spend the day with family and friends is all that matters.  

Happy Holidays!

  • However, if you're on the giving end, it's important that you don't overspend your budget. And more importantly, you should have a spending budget

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