As we all know, “‘Tis better to give than to receive.” Still, receiving gifts can be pretty darn cool. Around this time of year, parents and grandparents may be asking you what you want for the holidays. By outlining something you need, you help them give you a gift you’ll use. It’s not selfish. In fact, it’s really generous to make yourself easy to shop for.
But what should go on that list? If you’re looking for gifts to boost your financial capabilities, try these suggestions.
Outside of tuition and books, one of the biggest drains on a college student’s budget is food. Without access to kitchen equipment, eating out is really your only option. Fortunately, a variety of appliances can be good supplements to your microwave and fridge.
A two-burner stovetop can plug into the wall and do most anything a range top can. You can stir-fry, sauté and boil, and that creates many options. Such devices are available for less than $30 in most stores. A crock pot can serve for soups and stews, and can even replace an oven. An electric kettle can boil water in a hurry for instant soups or noodles. Look for models that have automatic shutoffs for added safety!
2.) Caffeine fixes
A daily Starbucks run can put a serious dent in your finances. Even if it’s just for all-nighter emergencies, hitting up a coffee shop every time you need a quick jolt can add up quickly. Making coffee in your room can save you time and money.
There are as many ways to make coffee as there are beans in a bag, but two are perfect for college life. If you’re an infrequent coffee drinker, a single-serve maker like a Keurig might be a good choice. Be sure to opt for reusable cups to save on waste and the cost of replacing disposables when you run out. For the daily grind, a French press makes a premium cup of coffee at a lower price.
It may be a bit on the uncreative and impersonal side, but gifts of money are among the most useful. If family members are uncomfortable giving cash to you directly, they can make contributions to a 529 plan in your name, where the money can be used only for expenses that are directly related to education. Gift cards to the campus bookstore can also help pay for next semester’s textbooks.
Whatever gifts you get, remember that they come from the heart. Even if it’s a tacky sweater, it’s still a gesture of caring and kindness. Be sure to say thank you!