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How to Shop This Holiday Season Without Breaking the Bank: College Student Edition

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If you’re a college student, you might have ambivalent feelings about the holiday season. On one hand, you’re getting to spend time with your family, eat food to your heart’s content, and enjoy some time off. On the other hand, the holiday season usually translates into lighter pockets especially if you’re buying gifts for a large family. You might not have lots of money to spend on gifts, and it can be stressful trying to figure out how to stretch your budget. Well, we’re here to help! Check out our tips below for holiday shopping as a student on a budget.

Use Your Student Discounts

The easiest thing you can do to save more money this holiday season is to tap your student discount options. Many stores have discounts available to students, and you can access them with your school email when shopping online. Stores don’t always advertise their student discounts, so if you’re ever in doubt, it never hurts to ask.

Track Deals

Tracking deals has become so much easier since the days of coupon clipping. Instead of picking up a newspaper or catalog, you can follow deals on apps like BuyVia, ScanLife, and ShopSavvy. These apps will allow you to track price changes on various products from various stores. You get alerts for new discounts, so you don’t ever have to miss a deal. It’s a lot easier than signing up for a million store newsletters and getting inundated with emails. And for those traveling this season, there are deal tracking apps for air travel like Skyscanner and Hopper. You can set up alerts on price drops for your flight, and you’ll get a range of time that’s the best period to purchase based on the popularity of the route and average purchase history. An alternative to apps is following discount tracking accounts on Twitter and Instagram, like @FatKidDeals, @VergeDeals, and @targetdealfinder.

Get Honey

If you shop online a lot, you’re probably familiar with the discount code websites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin. While they’re great for seeing what discounts are available, it can be a hassle to go through all the different sites to test each coupon. That’s where Honey comes in. Once installed in your browser, the extension does all the work for you. Before you complete your purchase, the extension checks to see what discounts are available — saving you lots of time, energy, and most importantly, money.

Add a Personal Touch

Consider shopping at small, independent shops for more personalized gifts. There are tons of artisans you can find on Etsy, Redbubble, Instagram, and even TikTok. Smaller, handcrafted pieces like knitted accessories, tie-dyed socks, and hand-poured candles are all gifts your family will appreciate even though they don’t cost a lot. You could also be exposing them to their new favorite shop. Not to mention you’re supporting a small, up-and-coming business, and that’s always a great feeling.

Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your gift giving if you can’t afford to spend a lot of money. You can offer up your services as a gift. Offer to do errands or chores for a week. Or if you have a special talent, this could be a neat way to share that gift with your family and friends. If you love cooking, you can put together a special dinner for the recipient. If you’re crafty, don’t be afraid to make something one-of-a-kind. There are so many ways to turn your skills into personalized gifts your family and friends will remember and cherish forever.

These are just a few ways to save money this season while still giving gifts your friends and family will treasure. But if you don’t have any money to spare this season, remember: Sometimes the best gift you can give your loved ones is the gift of quality time together. That’s a priceless gift that costs nothing.

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