Did you know, the average American plans to spend over $700 on presents? It’s true, and that number is even higher for a standard family of 4. It’s our job to encourage frugal spending habits, so before you make your list and check it twice, here’s our take on Christmas gifting.
Go in with a game plan.
Everything your kid brings to college “must fit in a space slightly larger than a Mini Cooper” according to Harry H. Harrison, Jr., a New York Times best-selling author. With that in mind, your strategy should be finding gifts that are both practical and affordable. Many families follow the rule, “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.” This means, each child gets a total of 4 gifts, one in each category. The cost of each depends on your budget and how much you’d like to spend. Here’s how it works.
Something they want.
You probably know your kid’s hobbies and interests, but it doesn’t hurt to have them weigh in. Some trendy student gifts include:
- Experiences. Students love going to concerts, comedians and sporting events, but the college budget doesn’t always allow. Do the splurging for them by purchasing tickets for an upcoming event.
- Tech gadgets. A streaming device like a Roku or Fire Stick is perfect for any college kid with WiFi and a tv. Also, wireless headphones eliminate tangled cords, ideal for studying or time at the gym.
- Jewelry. This chic hair tie bracelet is the perfect ratio of cool and professional.
- Essential oil diffuser. Depending on the oils used, a diffuser can help with everything from stress-relief to getting a good night’s sleep. They also make your kid’s dorm smell (much) better and some act as a humidifier.
- Sports gear. Workout clothes, shoes or equipment are a safe bet for most college students. They will always appreciate new sweats to wear to class…we mean, the gym.
Something they need.
College is stressful, so anything that makes your student’s life easier is always well-received.
- Dorm swag. How are they sitting on bedding and towels? Another great option is an electric blanket, since students don’t usually control the thermostat in the dorms.
- Electric shaver. Save your college-guy some time getting ready. Plus, they’ll probably use this after college too when they have to look presentable every day for their 8-5 job.
- Portable phone charger. You already know your student doesn’t go anywhere without their phone. With a hectic college schedule, a portable phone charger gives them one less thing to worry about.
- Savings fund. Life after college is where the real expenses kick in. Start a savings fund for them to help ease the burden once they graduate. Better yet? Pay the accrued interest on their student loans.
Something to wear.
Jobs interviews are bound to be in your college student’s future. Might we suggest something to help them ace the interviews?
- Quality watch. A good watch helps students look polished and can even serve as a conversation-starter.
- Interview suit. Sooner or later, your kid will be interviewing and they’ll want to look their best. There’s plenty of options out there for men or women, but a business suit is generally a good choice.
Something to read.
Chances are, your scholar will love curling up with a good book over their holiday break. This could be a fun read, a cookbook or even something related to their major. Here are a few options:
- Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent. This book perfectly captures the struggles all recent grads face in the transition between college and the real world.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The book helps readers excel in social interaction, increase their earning power and and making friends more quickly. In short, you’ll totally want to borrow it when your kid is done reading.
- How to Win at College by Cal Newport. Here’s a student’s guide to getting ahead with tips to maximize their time.
- Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook by Beth Hensperger. While it may not be up to mom’s culinary standards, microwave recipes are great for college students with limited means or access to equipment.
- Best Ever 3 and 4 Ingredient Cookbook by Jenny White. With only a few ingredients per recipe, these are delicious and easy to make within a college student’s budget.
- You could also pick up the tab for one of their college textbooks. Be warned, those things are pricey!
Don’t forget, your student is coming home to see you. Remember to make time for family and send back leftovers. Happy Holidays from all of us at iHELP!