Gift smarter as a broke college student

By Meghan Lyons, Staff Writer

Something dreadful is coming up. The first thing that probably jumps into your mind is the F word: Finals. December is quite dreary with final exams, but in my eyes, there is something a little more worrisome. It is probably the last thing you would expect, but the scariest thing about the month of December is buying people Christmas gifts.

With the cost of student loans, pointless sorority fees, The Red Lion cover money and late-night food runs, I am absolutely broke. With a whopping $1 in my savings account, I can assure you I will not be purchasing anybody AirPods or a skinned coyote aka a Canada Goose jacket. Although, there is something worse than not being able to buy good presents for your friends and family. It is a situation like this on Christmas day.

It is Christmas morning, and all four of the grown-up children in my family run down to the Christmas tree to open up gifts. Then everybody proceeds to open up their gifts, and in the end, our parents open up their gifts from the kids. Then the time comes for the siblings to exchange gifts.

“Here’s a gift for you!” My sister will hand me a gift.

“Oh, thanks,” I say.

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“Do you have anything for me?” She replies.

“Uh. No.”

As usual, the feeling of guilt will wash over you when you realize you’ve blown your money on pointless things at college rather than spending it to show appreciation for others in your life.

This is a horrible, horrible feeling. But alas, there is no need to fear. From the valuable knowledge I’ve gained over the past year and a half of being a college student, I have some advice to help fellow broke students like me not feel diabolic this holiday. No money? No problem. These wholesome gift ideas will keep your pockets full, as well as your heart.

Regift that one unsightly piece of clothing a relative got you five years ago

It has been sitting in the closet, collecting dust. If you aren’t familiar, our society is aiming to become more environmentally friendly. Regifting your clothing is one way to show your love for Mother Earth as well as your disdain for American consumerism.

The gift of KAM’s

Our good friend on Daniel Street is currently about to face the wrath of Cochrane’s wrecking ball, but that won’t stop you from sharing its spoils this holiday season. Instead of buying a gift, write a card promising one night out at the new KAM’s with unlimited blue guys for when you actually have money.

Free t-shirts from Quad Day

Remember how you managed to collect all those awesome t-shirts from Quad Day that are now shoved in the back of your closet? That really cool shirt from that RSO you never joined could be put to good use.

Make rainbow loom bracelets

Word on the street says rainbow loom bracelets are coming backs — and they’re coming back fast. All you need is a creative mindset and patience, as well as your old rainbow loom from middle school. Get crafting. Relatives and friends love jewelry made from rubber bands.

The gift of knowledge

All of your old textbooks contain knowledge that could be gained by others. You could try selling your originally $200 textbook for about $1 at the bookstore — but knowledge is priceless. Be sure to pass on your Differential Equations textbook to your little brother or sister. Who knows? They might learn something for once.

Lastly, your heart

No textbooks, no free shirts? Is KAM’s not your thing? Looks like you’re out of luck. For those of you who still have one, give them your heart. How can you do this? Wrap an empty box. As the recipient proceeds to open it, be sure to blast George Michael’s “Last Christmas.”

Now, there is no more fear to be had for Christmas shopping or for your bank account. Happy holidays, Illini!

Meghan is a sophomore in LAS. 

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