Students save money by thinking creatively



By Brittany Abeijon

‘Tis the season to be giving – and getting – gifts for the holidays. Some students may find themselves buying gifts for a number of people, but there’s no reason this season to come up short on both ideas and money.

Some of the hottest items this season are going to be MP3 players, high definition DVD players and the Nintendo Wii, said a supervisor at Circuit City, 2006 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign.

“Wii is the hottest item right now because you can’t find it anywhere. Nintendo hasn’t been making enough Wii systems to meet the demand,” he said. “If Nintendo could pump out 10,000 units they’d sell all of them probably in a week, and that’s a low estimate.”

Ari Franklin, junior in Communications, agreed that video games are popular items for this season “even if you don’t play that often,” and he said many students may also ask for entertainment items like movies and music for the upcoming holidays.

Because he celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, Franklin enjoys many days of gift giving. He said he has come to realize that gifts are not the biggest part, but definitely one of the most anticipated parts, of the holidays.

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One gift Stephanie Rehm is anticipating is Guitar Hero III, available for PlayStation 2 for $49.99 and for Xbox 360, for $59.99 at Best Buy.

Rehm, junior in Business, said people will be going for technological items because everyone always wants to keep up with the newest and latest advancements.

One of the most recent innovations in technology has been the iPod Touch by Apple, an iPod with a multi-touch interface available at $299. The iPod Touch is an altered version of the iPhone, which combines the features of a cell phone and iPod, and is available in many stores for around $399.

Although the newest electronics can get pricey, Rehm said people can afford gifts for others by shopping the clearance racks or taking advantage of sales and other promotions. Alternatively, if you cannot afford gifts for all of your friends, a secret Santa can be the solution, added Rehm.

“My five close friends and I came up with the idea to do a secret Santa grab bag. We chose names from a hat, and rather than buying five gifts, we each had to buy one,” she said. “It was exciting trying to figure out and keep secret who had who.”

Another solution to saving money is making homemade gifts, which can be just as nice, or nicer, than store-bought ones. Rehm suggested making a fleece blanket, a DVD slideshow of photos and songs of friends or family, or baking.

A personal touch is added with an actual gift, but a gift card also makes a quick and great present. Even a small amount of money can be spent on a gift card; many stores such as Circuit City, Best Buy and Old Navy offer gift cards with a minimum of $5.

Margaret Ferrell, logistics manager at Old Navy, 716 W. Town Center Blvd., Champaign, said gift cards are always a last-minute item, but up until the week before Christmas, people are buying actual gifts.

“We offer boxed gift sets with sleepwear, slippers, wallets and sweaters,” Ferrell said. “These make it easier for customers to choose something and they are much easier to wrap.”

Ferrell said Old Navy centers on the family every holiday season, but this season cashmere sweaters, denim and performance fleece are some of the hottest items.

“‘Pamper yourself’ is what we are focusing on,” Ferrell said. “But usually you can find something here for everyone.”