As the holiday break quickly approaches, the Money Education Center is sharing advice about holiday shopping and budgeting.
According to the National Retail Federation, 46 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 will spend more money on gifts this holiday season than they did last year. The Money Education Center was created to teach students about proper financial habits and provides information about smart shopping and gifting for the holidays.
Nick Kilmer, the assistant director of the Money Education Center, said financial situations vary among individuals, but no student should feel pressure to spend large amounts of money on gifts.
Kilmer said students should search Pinterest for creative or inexpensive gifts, making them more personal.
“A picture of yourself, a personalized calendar with important family events on it, and a personal letter recalling a shared memory are a just a few relatively inexpensive gifts that are likely to be greatly appreciated by your family and friends,” Kilmer said. “More than likely, they’d prefer just spending more time with you.”
Kilmer provided some retailers where students can find the best deals on holiday presents.
“Save money where you can on cards, gift wrap, and bags by shopping at dollar stores,” Kilmer said. “If you give gift cards, find discounts at exchange sites like Cardpool, Raise and Card Cash … Amazon offers a free student prime account for the first six months as well, but as with all of these other websites, just be careful not to get caught up in buying things you don’t need just because you’re getting a discount and free shipping.”
Kelsey Jones, agribusiness freshman, said she buys high-end gifts at discount stores to save money.
“I wanted to buy a Calvin Klein item, and instead of directly ordering it from the brand and paying full price, I went to T.J. Maxx and bought it for cheaper,” Jones said. “You can find many brands at stores like that. Whether it’s makeup or clothing, look there because you can save a lot of money.”
Kaitlyn Rogers, international studies freshman, said she shops consciously and saves money to prepare for holiday shopping.
“Every time I get my paycheck, I put all that money into savings,” Rogers said. “I’ve been saving money since last Christmas. It can be hard. I don’t buy a lot for myself and I eat at home all the time. It’s worth it though, because it’s less expensive.”
Kilmer said students should prepare for next semester’s expenses before returning to campus.
“Before heading home, don’t forget to pay your rent and utilities for the winter break, and to start budgeting now for your spring expenses as well,” Kilmer said. “The start of spring includes upfront costs such as textbooks and supplies, and preparing for them now will help ensure that in January you return to campus refreshed, rather than financially stressed.”