You want to participate in gift exchanges because it’s fun, but when your wallet’s feeling a little light, and you don’t have the extra hours to give a part-time job, what can you do?
Quite a lot, actually. With a little ingenuity, some creativity and maybe a glue stick, you can still give thoughtful gifts to the ones you love and not feel like a Scrooge.
Use Your Points
Canadians love collecting points. A recent CBC article reported that Canadians have $16 billion dollars worth of unused rewards points, which works out to $629 per collector. If you have a card, why not redeem your points towards merchandise or gift cards? Most reward cards like those from RBC let you shop from a variety of retailers and products. For example, you can use your points to shop at Apple and Best Buy and choose from hundreds of products. You can even get discounts at select retailers if you are an RBC credit or debit card holder.
If you’ve got the skills, make something. It could be a card, a painting or a small piece of woodwork. If you need ideas, just Google. Type in, “Holiday cheap DIY gifts,” and you get millions of search results. Head to the dollar store, pick up supplies and start crafting.
With a little ingenuity, some creativity and maybe a glue stick, you can still give thoughtful gifts to the ones you love and not feel like a Scrooge.
Do a Secret Santa
Secret Santa is a great way to participating in gift giving without having to spend a lot of money. Gather friends and family who want to participate, set a budget that everyone can afford and draw names out of a hat. That way you just have to buy one gift, which is way cheaper than buying gifts for everyone.
An alternative is to agree to buy gifts for just the children in the family. If there are multiple children, you could focus on younger siblings.
Donate to Charity
‘Tis the season of giving, and even if you don’t have a big budget for gifts, you can still help others through charitable donations and your time. You can make a donation to a charity supported by your family, or donate your time to help out where it’s most needed. Encourage your family to join you for a few hours during the holidays, and you’ll make more memories while helping others.
The second-hand economy is worth more than $28 billion dollars and nearly everything flows through it including clothing, accessories, cars, furniture, etc. Places like Kijiji, Facebook groups, consignment and vintage stores are treasure troves of items and many of them are practically brand new. That means with a little effort, you could find gifts for way less than retail price.
You’re a student, most people will understand you can’t afford to buy gifts for everyone this holiday. Instead, buy some holiday cards, write a lovely note and offer to do the holiday dinner clean-up.
The holiday season isn’t about who can buy the fanciest and most expensive gifts, it’s about being with the family who matters the most. Show them you care by giving a gift that has meaning versus dollar signs.
These tips are for the holidays but for year-round student finance tips, check out RBC's Student Hub.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.