Christmas shopping can be challenging at the best of times, but when you only have a small student budget at your disposal, it can make it a lot harder.

And while your friends and family members will certainly be more excited about seeing you than receiving a gift, if you’re leaving your student accommodation to go home for Christmas, you probably won’t want to go empty-handed.

Never fear, because we’ve got some excellent ideas and nifty student hacks for low-cost but high-impact gifts, guaranteed to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces.


Go home-made

If you’re a crafty type or have a special skill, why not make your own gifts. These could include framed pieces of your artwork, handmade jewellery or artfully decorated ginger biscuits.

And if you’re not crafty, don’t worry. It’s really easy and fun to put together your own gift sets. Ideas could include: a few bottles of craft ale and a beer glass; a bag of gourmet coffee, a milk frother and a cappuccino mug; or a nail file, hand cream and a Christmassy nail colour. They’re cheap to put together, but are great to receive and show that you’ve put some effort in.


Second-hand smashers

If you have the time to go hunting, you can unearth some real treasures from eBay and charity shops. A bundle of lovingly curated vinyl for the muso in your life, a stack of murder mysteries or some handpicked costume jewellery won’t set you back very much, but your lucky recipient will know you’ve put a lot of time and thought into the gift.


Piggyback onto bigger gifts

Find out what family members are buying each other, so you can buy complementing (and cheaper) gifts. For instance, if your parents are buying a sibling a games console, you could buy a second-hand game to go with it. Or if your mum’s treating your dad to a new coffee machine, you could buy him a set of espresso cups. This way, you know you’re getting them something they’ll really use, and you get the glory of the bigger present for a fraction of the cost!



Everyone loves a photobook, but most of us don’t have them because they take so long to do! Whether it’s for a friend or family member, they’ll really appreciate the effort you’ve put into making one – even better if you add in some funny captions. All the big companies offer deals around this time of year, so you can make a decent photobook for as little as £9.99.


Go green

Plants make a great gift – they’re nice to look at and bring colour and life into any home. You don’t have to spend a fortune either. If you’re a student living in Leeds, there are lots of places you can grab a leafy bargain, such as Kirkgate Market or Poppy’s Potting Shed on Kirkstall Road.

If you’re buying for a less-than-green fingered friend, succulents or hardy ficuses are easy to take care of. Whereas if they know their philodendrons from their peperomias, you might want to get them something more unusual. If your budget stretches to it, buy a nice pot to put it in. Head to Wilco’s or a pound shop to see what they have.


We hope you’ve found our student advice on buying gifts on a budget helpful. Remember, to set yourself a spending limit and don’t go over it. If you need a little extra this month, think about things you might be able to cut down on to extend your gift fund. Whether it’s pausing your gym membership or Netflix subscription (will you be using it this month anyway?), or forgoing takeaways for a month, it can all help.