By Amber Cobb —

This is the final installment of a semester-long column series on the topic: budgeting in college.

It’s the end of the semester, finals are coming up, Christmas break is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and you can almost taste the home-cooked meals.

Before you know it, you’ll be at home with your family or friends on Christmas morning opening presents. You know, those things you haven’t had the time or money to think about?

We’ve all been there; somehow it sneaks up on us every year.

The people in our lives deserve so much, and we just have so little money or little time because we weren’t thinking about it.

Without a little budgeting, Christmas presents are next to impossible for me.

It’s not very often that I just have an abundance of extra money lying around at the end of a semester, let alone enough to buy anything of real value.

As college students then, how do we participate in the many gift exchanges we’re committed to (and how did we get committed to all of these in the first place?) without racking up a bunch of debt and eating toast for the next month?

Junior Olivia Mckain said she saves a percentage of her income for gifts.

“I started putting away $10 every paycheck specifically for Christmas presents. By the time December rolls around, I’ve got like $300 saved up and usually have some leftover after Christmas,” McKain said.

Obviously, there are all kinds of strategies for making Christmas affordable without opting out of all gift exchanges.

Remember, people really appreciate the effort, not how much money you spent on them.

Sophomore Cortney Wolfe said she tends to make her own gifts now, which is another great way to save.

“I’m a pretty big procrastinator and I don’t have a ton of extra money. But for the past couple of years I’ve been making all of my gifts: picture frames, paintings, things like that. People really like them and they don’t cost much money,” Wolfe said.

“They just require time, which I can usually fit in between finals and Christmas.”

College is really the last season of life that people don’t expect much of you around the holidays, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself and take advantage of that. Your family and friends just want to spend time with you more than anything!

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal