Thrifty Gifting: 5 Cheap and Easy Gift Ideas for the Starving Student

This holiday season, you shouldn’t have to choose between your groceries and buying groceries and giving gifts to your family and friends. Here are five super thrifty Christmas gifts that don’t seem cheap so you can open your heart without gutting your wallet this year.

#1 Homemade Bath Set

A bath set complete with bath bombs, and sugar scrub is a decadent gift. Instead of breaking the bank at some fancy skincare and bath store, you can make one for less than bus fare.

Bath bombs are all the rage, and they’re super expensive in fancy stores. Luckily, they’re not expensive to make. You can find an excellent recipe here. However, you can even make it even cheaper by replacing coconut oil with olive oil and scenting your bath bomb with ground nutmeg and cinnamon instead of pricey essential oils. It takes a few days for these beauties to dry, so make them in advance. If you don’t have a bath-bomb mold, don’t fret. A muffin tin works just fine. If you don’t have a muffin tin, a measuring cup or an ice cream scoop will do in a pinch.

Sugar scrub is luxurious and oh so inexpensive. All you’ll need is a clean jar or storage container (it’s an excellent opportunity to recycle) two cups of brown sugar, one cup of olive oil, and about two or three tablespoons of white sugar. Optional: you can use nutmeg or vanilla extract for scent.

#2 Personalized Journal/Notebook

Journals are a thoughtful gift for anyone, but to purchase a nice one will cost you big money. Instead, you can make a journal for cheap using photographs, magazines, or duct tape. Here’s how it works.

Buy a composition notebook, the kind without a spiral binding. Then, you’ll want to cover the outside somehow. There are a lot of ways to cover it. If you’re an artist, you can cover it with a personalized painting. Just make sure to use heavy-duty hairspray or a spray lacquer to keep it from rubbing off.

Another option is to make a collage picture using old magazines or photographs.

Duct tape is another alternative for covering the journal. Duct tape comes in all kinds of crazy colors and patterns these days, and you can make a high quality and super fun gift for your family or friends with it.

#3 Homemade Necklaces/Bracelets

A bracelet or a necklace doesn’t have to be girly. You can make them for everyone on your list with a little creativity.

For more masculine jewelry, use thick leather strapping with few beads or pendants. For a necklace, once central pendant offset with knots is a robust looking approach. For a masculine bracelet, braid several strands of the leather strapping together with one central pendant. Use a cheap clasp on the ends.

For a more feminine approach, make a choker. You can use the same leather strapping you used for the masculine necklaces. Choose a central pendant and consider a few accent beads. Or, make a long “shoelace” inspired choker with pendants or beads on each end. That way, you won’t have to use a clasp.

A girly bracelet is super easy. Either use leather banding or fishing line with inexpensive beads to make a simple, beaded bracelet. Just string the beads onto the leather or fishing line and finish with claps on either end.

Keep your necklaces and bracelets simple to make them more fashionable and to save you money. If you shop smart at the craft store, you can make several accessories for under twenty dollars.

#4 Baked Goods

Even if you’re not a world class baker, you can still make some yummy treats to give as presents. Baked goods are always well appreciated around the holidays, and they show you care. Also, they’re super inexpensive and never come off as “cheap” because they’re baked with love.

#5 Homemade Linen Spray

Nobody likes stinky sheets. Give the gift of a fresh smelling bed. There are a lot of different recipes. One that works well comes from Wellness Mama. You only need one bottle of essential oils to make linen spray. Then, you need spray bottles, rubbing alcohol, and water. You can usually find spray bottles at the dollar store, and a small bottle of essential oils can be as cheap as eight dollars on, depending on the type of oil you choose. The upfront cost may seem a little high, but remember, you can make twenty bottles for under forty bucks.

Linen sprays are perfect for everyone. They refresh your sheets or your curtains, or carpets, or couches, or even clothes. They don’t do dirt to the environment because they’re free of nasty toxins, it doesn’t cost much to make them.

You don’t have to feel cheap this holiday season. With a little effort, you can make loads of gifts for all your family and friends without starving for New Years. Get creative and show your loved ones how much you care.



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