12 Cheap Gifts for College Students

Cheap Gifts for College Students

Are you shopping for cheap gifts for college students?  We’ve put together some great affordable gift ideas for that special college aged person in your life.

We’ll start with 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, … just kidding, but the song did inspire us to pick 12 gift ideas as a reasonably manageable list to choose from. Rest assured, they are much more practical and easy to acquire than the gifts sent in the song, The 12 days of Christmas .

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What College Students Need for Christmas

One of the most meaningful gifts you can give is the gift of a memorable experience!  College housing doesn’t usually have much room to store stuff. Consider giving your college student an exciting or challenging adventure such as an escape room experience, a trip to your local amusement park, or a trampoline park.

In Santa Clarita, one of the most popular escape rooms is Arcane.  The prices are currently $27 per person. Buy a ticket for yourself, and “lock in” some time together.

This month we’re bringing along a foster alum we’re helping to navigate life to Six Flags to celebrate his 21st birthday. He’s super excited and it’s only costing us $10 to add him since we are pass holders.

For more ideas on the cheap, check out our top Southern California destination ideas with big kids. Groupon also regularly has fun events available at a discount in their “Things to Do” or “Getaways” categories. The offers below are from the “Things To Do.”

If you’d rather put something under the tree, we’ve got some great gift ideas for that too.

Useful Gifts for College Students

Here’s some gift ideas for college students who might enjoy more practical gifts to help them with their schooling. (Please note, we’ve made Finally Family Homes an Amazon associate. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases to help support our programs.)


Coffee fuels college students. This electric espresso maker makes a fabulous espresso. It has a small footprint, but packs a tasty punch of caffeine.

And if you want to provide the espresso, too, I highly recommend this brand of espresso. It’s smooth and a little nutty. It will give your student that extra pep to get through tough study sessions and early morning classes.

Study Help

If you haven’t heard of the Cornell style of note-taking, you’re not alone. It tops the list of what we wish we had known going into college. It’s a brilliant plan not only for recording meaningful notes, but also to help students process and retain what they’re learning. Here’s a how-to from Cornell University.

A Fun and Practical Book

1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know is one of the top rated books for college youth (and parents) on Amazon. It’s full of wit and wisdom as it provides practical advice for class enrollment, living on campus, study habits and more .

Study Tools

Whether they’re studying or into journaling, these sticky notes & colored pens make great tools for helping organize information.


Help with Hydration

Help your college student stay hydrated with this personalized stainless steel water bottle. All that coffee (and other beverages) may flow more freely, so keeping this beautiful water bottle handy will help them remember to drink water, too.

Cheap gift ideas for the college student in your life! #gifts #ChristmasIsComing Click To Tweet

More Gifts for 20 Somethings

Maybe college isn’t for your “college aged” kid, no worries, we’ve got a few more ideas that should be a treat for them no matter what path they’re on.

Cheap Great Gifts for 20 somethings

Portable Battery Recharger

One thing we can count on is that young adults are on the go with their devices. We count on them to call in emergencies or help us navigate our way when we get lost.

A dead battery can leave these youth up a creek without a paddle. Here’s a USB Rechargeable Battery to save the day!

Echo Dot with a Clock

Being on time & watching out for the weather are “adulting” skills that can be a snap with the help of the echo dot w/ a clock. Alexa can be a powerful friend.

Cookbook for Beginners

This 5 ingredient cookbook is one of the top rated on Amazon. Easy & affordable recipes are a great help to kids who learning how to live on their own on a budget.

Healthy Snacks

Give them that protein and fiber you know they probably aren’t getting in the form of a delicious and beautiful fruit & nut tray. This one is rated 5 stars on Amazon.

A Snuggly Blanket

This warm, fuzzy blanket is Amazon’s choice for throw blankets. It comes in a variety of colors and will keep your young adult warm and snuggly while reading, studying, or watching tv.

If they are a big fan of a particular franchise (Spiderman, Avengers, Star Wars, etc) get them a blanket that reflects their fandom. We got the young adult foster youth in our lives a Spiderman blanket. Your’e never too old for a snuggle blanket!

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Cheap Gifts for College Students

Final Thoughts on Getting Cheap Gifts for College Students

Whether you pick out some cheap gifts for college students or spend a little more on the 20-somethings in your life, it truly is the thoughtfulness that counts. Make sure to include a card with encouraging words.

Young adults this age appreciate words of affirmation more than they did in their younger years. If you are supporting a youth who is aged out of foster care, this can be especially true. If you’d like to know more about how you can get involved in supporting college aged youth who never got placed in a forever family, get to know more about our mission at Finally Family Homes.

For more ideas on how to support the college aged youth in your life, read:

10 Keys to Success in Life
How to Set Goals
How to Help Your Kid Succeed on Their Own

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  1. I would have loved all of these gifts as a college student, especially anything coffee related!

    1. Glad to hear it! Yeah I only got the espresso this year (many years after college) it’s way less hassle than typical espresso makers (which some of my friends had in college). I definitely wish I had known about it years ago… or even better, had received it as a Christmas gift 😉

  2. These are GREAT! The experience gifts are always good. When I was in college, I could never afford expensive, fun experiences.

    1. Right? Same here. I’m on board with this new trend of having experiences over things. Plus college is such an important time for experiencing, growing, learning…. it fits well.
      Thanks for the encouragement Jessica!

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