Holiday Gifts on a Budget

by on Dec 12th, 2018

Welcome to the most difficult time of the year as a student. The holidays. This is where all the budgeting and planning you’ve done to keep your money in check goes out the window. You have gifts to buy! Instead of just letting you go completely broke, SAMU is providing this list of reminders and tips to help you save as much money as possible during this holiday season.

Sales! Sales! Sales!

This tip might seem to be the most obvious and the most annoying. Going shopping during a sale around Christmas or on Boxing Day (if you have holiday celebrations after Boxing Day) can be unbearable. However, it can save you a ton of money! and are great sites to find all of the deals for both your favourite retailers and some hot holiday items.   Keep an eye on your favourite stores’ websites during the month of December as they may host special holiday sales.


If there is a fashionista in your life or someone who needs home décor, then these are the perfect stores for you! Here you can find steep discounts on some pretty awesome items. It’s definitely worth dropping in to see what new items have graced the shelves each week. The other alternative for stores like these is gift cards, giving friends and family the option to find their own perfect gift. None of these stores have online options, so going to a store is going to be the only way to secure your savings here.

Events, not things

Holiday present don’t always need to be materialistic. Sharing memories with important friends and family members is one of the most valuable things about the holidays. Whether you buy tickets to a concert, sporting event, stage show or if you just want to make time for a special person in your life it all makes for a cost-effective but meaningful gift.

When trying to plan an eventful day, don’t forget that Edmonton is home to the Art Gallery of Alberta, the newly renovated Royal Alberta Museum, the 15+ escape rooms and countless other fun and affordable activities to enjoy with the people in your life. If you need more ideas for fun in Edmonton, Trip Advisor has a list of the best things to do in Edmonton!

Buy Used

When in doubt check Kijiji. It’s the number one spot for everything that other people don’t want. Got a gamer in your life? Kijiji them some games! A photographer? Where better to get them some lenses for cheap? Kijiji isn’t the only option though, there’s always Craigslist, Facebook or eBay as alternative options. Of course, when using any of these options, be safe and mindful when purchasing and picking up items from strangers.

Another fantastic resource for buying used is 2ndturn, a Canadian auction site focusing on open-box items from Best Buy. The site, which used to be called Best Buy Marketplace, has since been rebranded to 2ndturn. Checking 2ndturn auctions might just reap some awesome savings on tech and electronics.

Secret Santa/Gift Exchange

When it comes to buying gifts for all your friends, there is a very simple way to avoid spending a ton of $$$. Gift exchanges, when done properly, can mean you only have to buy one gift with a set value assigned to it. Plan an evening with some close friends and do a Thieving Secret Santa or just a standard Secret Santa. Either way, you will only have to spend money on one gift. Your wallet will be thanking you as much as your friends.

If you want to simplify organization of your secret Santa operation, tools like can help streamline your planning, price limit and guest list.


Remember that scarf your grandma got you for your birthday this year? You threw it in a corner knowing that one day you would find a use for it. Well that day has come. It’s the holidays again and it’s time to re-gift all the gifts you neglected to use over the last year. And for the last minute gifters, you can even re-gift that tin of cookies that your neighbours gave you a week before Christmas. If you are looking for the best way to give gifts on someone else’s dime, this is it.


What’s better than getting cookies over the holidays? Not a whole lot. Cookies are awesome. But whether it’s sweets or savoury treats, bread or loaf, it doesn’t matter, getting baked goods during the holidays is great. Did we say that already? Well it’s worth reiterating. Between the sweet relief of exams finally ending and the stress of starting a new semester setting in, sometimes it’s nice to just dive into a fresh batch of baked goods. Cheap, thoughtful and tasty, what better gift could you give?