The college student’s guide to holiday shopping

christmas-chain

Story by Da’Sha Tuck, Staff writer

christmas-chain

College students are famous for being broke year-round. However, it is the time of the year when people have to make a dollar stretch; it’s time for holiday shopping.

There are several approaches to preparing for gift-giving. Some people start shopping as early as the year before, taking advantage of the sales; others wait until the last possible moment, fighting crowds at the mall on some of its busiest days.

There are pros and cons to each side, but the end goal is to get the most bang for your buck. This is even more true for college students, and there are more ways than one to achieve the ultimate shopping experience.

HIT THE SALES

After Thanksgiving is over and families have been grateful for all joys of the year, it’s time to break out the ads and make the battle plan.

The door busters begin in a few hours and the line is already wrapping around the building. This is where your dedication will count.

If fighting the crowd is not for you, there is always online deals. Some are available on Black Friday, while other stores host sales throughout the weekend.

“I did a lot of Cyber Monday shopping,” said Lizzie Shaylor, junior from Mayfield Kentucky. “Sales in general are always good, if you look really hard you can find good things in the clearance section.”

Shaylor said people should never underestimate the dollar sections when shopping in-store.

ORGANIZE AND CONQUER

Organization and planning is key to successful holiday shopping. Waiting until the last second can lead to desperation, which, in turn, leads to spending more money than was allotted.

Kelsey Huelsmann, senior from Trenton, Illinois, said she makes a list with the names of everyone she needs to buy for and then divides her budget.

“I try to find the cheapest ways of giving them the items on their wish list,” Huelsmann said. “I am not creative so I like to buy a lot of little things that won’t cost much.”

GET THE BALL ROLLING EARLY

After the holiday rush is over, many stores will have sales. Here you can find a lot of good deals, like stocking stuffers for next year.

No victory is too small, so if you find those adorable fuzzy socks or scarf and glove set for 50 percent off, pick it up with pride because you have the leg up on next year.

If you can’t start as early as the year before, that’s OK. Just start as early as possible.

“I start early and take my time using coupons and finding the best sales,” said Paige Tobye, sophomore from Sturgis, Kentucky.

Tobye said she shops little by little. She said the most overwhelming thing to her is to pick one day and expect to get everything bought and taken care of. She said that adds anxiety to a time that is supposed to be fun.

IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS

When all else fails, use your talent to wow those on your list.

“Homemade gifts are always sweet,” Shaylor said.

Pinterest is your best friend at this point.

“I find that making my own gifts is usually cheaper than buying something that has already been made,” said Madelyn Hogrebe, junior from St. Louis.

Crafting during dead week or finals week could help alleviate some of that end of the semester stress that college students are overwhelmed with. So, this is a win-win situation.

Whether it is a canvas, coasters, birdseed or hot chocolate in a mason jar remember it’s the thought that counts.

“I make a lot of homemade things,” Tobye said. “Last year, my boyfriend and I made sugar scrub for several people on our list. It was cheap but it made the perfect gift.”

Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle that consumes the holiday season. Have fun with your shopping because at the end of the day it’s not about the gifts under the tree but those who are around it.