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Being in college often means long nights of studying while trying to discover who you are as a person and where your career path will lead after graduating. It also means getting acquainted with living alone, with a group of friends, or in a dorm room with another person. Holidays are a time when many college students might think of the traditions that took place at home, such as baking Christmas cookies or decorating the Christmas tree. The Christmas season should be one that is filled with fun and excitement, but being a college student sometimes means that you don’t have a lot of money to decorate or buy gifts for people who mean the most to you. Fortunately, there are a few tips on budgeting so that you can buy at least something small for the people on your list.

Make Lists
There are a few lists that you can make before Christmas. One should be of the people you want to buy gifts for, such as your parents, siblings, or best friends. Don’t forget your dorm-mate or your resident advisor. Another list that you should make is your budget. Think about what each person needs or wants, setting an amount to get one or two of those things so that you don’t spend more money than you have. Try to keep a little money aside for special events, such as a secret Santa with friends or going out to a dinner with your friends before leaving the campus to go back home.

Start Early
It might be a little late in the year for this piece of advice, but it’s a good one to remember for the many Christmas seasons to come! Many stores begin advertising sales for Christmas in October and November instead of waiting until December. If you know that you’re going to receive a tuition refund after school starts, then consider saving some money to start shopping early. When you spread your shopping season over the course of a few months instead of trying to buy everything at one time, it decreases your stress levels and allows for enjoying the holiday. Avoid giving in to the temptations of buying a gift that you see closer to Christmas just because you think it’s something that someone would enjoy.

Get Crafty
Consider making a few gifts instead of spending money on commercial items. Ideas include wall art that you can make on pallets or pieces of stained wood and gifts in jars that the person can bake. Sometimes, the best gifts come from the heart instead of your wallet.