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As a student, it’s tough to find extra money when you need it most. Tracking down extra cash for some bonus fuel when you want a weekend on the road is hard enough – so what are you supposed to do when it comes to buying people gifts? The last thing you want is to come across as cheap or uncaring, but you also know that your resources are limited.

The good news is that you’re not out of luck. Focusing on the “it’s the thought that counts” mantra can direct you towards a wide selection of amazing gift ideas.

Here are some tips for giving an amazing gift if you’re living a frugal student life.

  1. Plan Way in Advance

    The first step to ensuring you’re always ready with the best gifts for your loved ones is to plan as far in advance as possible. Keep a calendar of all the upcoming events and holidays that you celebrate in your life, and make sure you check on it regularly. Being well prepared will make it easier for you to purchase gifts when you have a little extra cash from a part-time job or a student loan payment. If you're organised in advance you will also be able to shop online for cheaper prices using sites like

    Getting ready in advance also means that you have time to save up for a better gift a few months before the event. It’s much easier to afford the right gifts if you have several wage packets to put towards the expense, rather than just one.

  2. Get Personal

    People aren’t kidding when they say it’s the thought that counts most with gift-giving. If you want to give a memorable present to someone you care about, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Instead, think about the person in question, and the sort of gifts that would really blow them away.

    A small, cheaper gift when chosen with care can be a lot more valuable than even the costliest presents. Once you’ve chosen a small and meaningful gift, you can add extra impact to it by wrapping it carefully and adding a greetings card with a personal message. Putting time and effort into a gift that comes from the heart will give it more value than anything you can buy.

  3. Be Crafty

    Who says you need to buy all of your gifts? If you can find some spare time in between studying, partying, and working for a living, you can make your own presents too. Since students are often very busy people, your loved ones will be even more blown away by the fact that you’ve taken the time out to create something for them from scratch.

    Once again, remember to think about the things that your loved ones really enjoy here. The best gifts are ones that are custom-made for the recipient. For instance, you could consider making a flowerpot for someone who loves nature and adding their name to the clay for a finishing touch. Don’t worry if you don’t have much of a crafty side, there are plenty of classes out there.

  4. Deliver an Experience

    Presents don’t have to be a physical thing; they can also be something that you do for someone else. Spending time with you can be just as incredible as getting an expensive gift for some of your loved ones. Consider taking your friend out for an adventure to their favourite spot or treating them to a home-made meal if you can’t afford a fancy restaurant.

    Experiences can also include simply doing something for the person you care about. For instance, maybe you could fully clean your mother’s house next mother’s day, and do all the garden chores, so she can sit back and relax for an hour or two?

  5. Be Honest

    Finally, when you’re struggling to get your loved ones the gifts you think they deserve, just be honest. Most of your friends and family members will already be aware that your financial situation probably isn’t great right now. We all know how expensive it can be to live life as a student, and the chances are that the people who care about you aren’t going to expect a big gift.

    Being honest about what you can reasonably afford with your friends and family means that you can come up with a strategy together. Perhaps you can promise to give one gift for their birthday, but you can skip gift-giving for other events throughout the year, until you’re a bit more financially stable. Remember, the people who love you will be understanding.

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