Junior Advice: Saving on this holiday season

As college students, buying gifts for the holidays on a budget is crucial. With the end of the semester approaching, studying for finals and finishing projects are the main priorities. Shopping for gifts for our friends and family seems to get lost in the shuffle, and time is not on our side.
Since the semester is not over until Dec. 17, a good portion of us will be waiting until we are back at home to buy gifts. It’s not like we are setting out to procrastinate; it just happens. Here are some helpful tips on how to stick to a reasonable holiday budget and avoid last-minute shopping.
First and foremost, shop online. It is convenient and can prevent procrastination. Shopping online allows you to place your order from your room, save gas and avoid the crowded mall. The only tricky part is making sure it will be shipped to your house before the holidays. A lot of stores have web-exclusive products, so you actually have a bigger selection. You can even create a holiday email account and sign up for email alerts from stores’ websites. This way, you can be notified when they are offering promotions, such as free shipping with no minimum purchase or a percentage off all merchandise. Stores also send out coupon codes that can be redeemed online and in stores, so it’s always good to be on the lookout for those. Some of the best deals can be found from the comfort of your home.
Second, do a Pollyanna (also known as secret Santa) instead of buying for everyone. A lot of people do this and love it. The best thing is that you can set a spending limit. For example, spending $30 on one person is a lot cheaper than spending $200 on your mom, dad, brother and sister. Your bank account will thank you. With websites like drawnames.com and sneakysanta.com, you can set a spending limit, create a wish list, draw names and access your person’s wish list at your convenience. Doing this saves so much time — no procrastinating needed. You can draw names while you’re taking a break from studying and then buy your person’s present online. These websites are completely anonymous and may even make you less tempted to figure out who is buying your gift.
This holiday season, don’t drive yourself crazy with finding the time to get your shopping done. Shopping online and doing a Pollyanna can help alleviate some stress. Just remember to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season — spending time with the people you love most. It is important to not lose sight of that amidst the craziness of finals. When you’re home for winter break, enjoy it and make more unforgettable memories.
-Jessica Vento
Junior public relations major
Printed in the 12/4/13 edition.

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