It’s no secret that as Medical or Physician Assistant students were all over our heads in student loan debt AND if we haven’t already stressed enough about our day to day living, the holidays can really become overwhelming. 
As most of you may know I posted a questionnaire through my Instagram stories this week asking “What’s at the top of your Christmas list?” Hundreds of you responded with either gifts that are unable to be physically bought or you responded in reference to your student loan payments. As a student of 21+ years, I’ve never been a great ‘gift giver’ as I’ve obviously been job-less most of my life and because my family didn’t have expectations from me- and it’s likely that yours feel similarly…
Here are a few ways to maintain your budget this holiday season while gift giving & without missing out on the holiday fun:

1.    Gift your family a photo card! Before PA school I would’ve actually laughed at anyone suggesting this, but hear me out…Your family cares more about you and misses you more than you probably know. Making a holiday card with one or multiple photos of yourself throughout the past year (we all know you have plenty of these on Instagram and Facebook)- this will not only bring them joy to feel a part of your journeybut willlet them know you’re still grinding through school to be the best professional version of yourself! Not to mention, the majority of you probably had financial help from your family to get here in the first place- let this serve as a tiny thank you reminder!

2.    Compare prices on discounted sites. Make a list of everyone you need to shop for, and then write down the gift you want to buy them. If it’s a product like clothes or games, check 6PM, Amazon, Overstock, RetailMeNot and other notorious large retailers having sales in stores (but let’s be honest, online shopping is so much efficient). If you decide to buy experiential type gifts for others, compare prices on sites like Living Social and Groupon. There’s no shame in finding better deals & saving money!

3.    Skip out on the gift cards & make gifts in bulk with a personalized touch! As a very non-creative person in the realm of crafts, baking, and cooking I find this point a bit more challenging, but it does get the gifting job done much faster & lets others know you had them in mind this holiday season! Get your Pinterest on & go DIY- make something in bulk like cookies, homemade scrubs, or mason jars filled with goodies! Homemade gifts are treasured so much more, anyways! 

4.    Avoid buying new clothes for holiday events.Although most girls(/select amount of guys) dislike wearing outfits they’ve previously worn to special events or wearing outfits they already have 10000 pictures in, there’s a good chance no one is going to even notice. If it’s a big deal to you, trying changing up the accessories & only purchasing less pricey items to add to your outfit to give it a fresh look! In the long run, buying an outfit justfor one event is over rated & not financially wise as a student. 

Above all- Try to avoid the holiday guilt anddon’t forget to give yourself a little more grace throughout the season. Even though sticking to your budget is important, it should only be a fraction of your holiday experience- Cherish the experiences you’ll partake with family and friends! Whether it’s just making a homemade personalized card to your family or buying them the exact gifts they ask for, don’t forget to enjoy the season. Remember, school (& being broke) will only be a temporary chapter of your life & regardless of the way you decide to navigate your spending this season, there will be so many fun memories to look back on!

What’s your favorite tip to survive the holiday season on a budget? Anything I didn’t mention here? If so, please share in the comments!