Buying gifts on a budget
by Scott Hokkanen | November 29, 2016

The holiday season can be a tough time for the cash-strapped student who has a long list of gifts to buy.

Suddenly you realize you have to get awesome gifts for friends, family, significant others and coworkers, all while paying your way through school.

Not everyone has to break the bank on presents, but here are some affordable gift ideas for students on a budget:


Fashionable quirky socks are all the rage right now, am I right? Socks can be a fun affordable gift that suits just about anyone. Plus, everyone wears socks so it’s kind of a no-brainer… You can find creative socks at most department stores like Hudson’s Bay co. Or give your friend a gift that keeps on giving and sign them up for Sock Box, it’s an awesome Canadian sock of the month club!

Assortment of socks hanging on a wall at store


Everyone loves nice warm stylish toques, and they aren’t super expensive. Find a toque that matches your recipient’s style, and they’re sure to be a happy camper when opening up their present. If your friend wants the snow-chic look, check out Boathouse or Roots for rad toques and beanies. They are truly a must have for surviving Canadian winters.

Girl puts on her Airbnb toque


If you’re anything like me, then you lose or break a pair of headphones on a monthly basis. It’s always good to have extra pairs lying around. In this day and age, funky headphones with decent sound quality can be found at an affordable price. They make a great gift for the music lover in your life. Check out Best Buy for a large selection of trendy affordable headphones, or even head to Walmart for unique deals!

Bart Simpson bobs his head to music on his headphones

Movie Tickets

A night at the movies is a great gift for someone who’s got everything. Instead of a tangible gift, a movie experience can be a great change of pace. Plus Fantastic Beasts, Moana, Bad Santa 2, and Star Wars: Rogue One, debut during the holiday season so there is something for everybody.

Empty movie theatre with red seats

Coffee/Tea Mugs

There’s no shortage of cool coffee/tea mugs for sale out there. Find a cool one for cheap and your friend will think of you when sipping their morning joe. Pier 1 Imports has a lot of quirky fun mugs, you’ll be able to find something that fits your needs. You can also check out IKEA to buy a plain mug and decorate it yourself! Do-it-yourself gifts always mean the most.

Coffee is poured into a mug with a heart picture on it

Cheapo Sunglasses

Obviously you can’t be going out and buying Ray-Bans for everyone, but cheap throw-away sunglasses can be a great gift. Everyone needs a backup pair of shades lying around, especially if you own a car. Urban Outfitters has plenty of options to make sure your gift recipient is looking fresh. There are also a ton of online retailers that sell cool cheap glasses like Sunglass Warehouse. We’ve all been that person squinting into the sunlight and its no fun!

President Obama puts on aviator sunglasses

We hope some of these ideas help you out this holiday season. Just remember: it’s the thought that counts!

Is money a little tight right now? Check out our Financial Services, or speak to one of our trained financial consultants using our Student Lifeline: they can give you advice on budgeting and managing your spending.