SIf you feel like your debt is raining on your parade, it’s okay. You can still enjoy the holidays and you can still shower your friends and family in gifts.

The holiday season is here. If you’re one of the 43 million Americans with student loan debt it could be a more stressful time than usual. The average amount of student loan debt is over $30,000 and if you haven’t been approved for some sort of income-driven repayment plan, then it can be easy to dread buying gifts for loved ones.  If you feel like your debt is raining on your parade, it’s okay. You can still enjoy the holidays and you can still shower your friends and family in gifts.

Prioritize:

First thing’s first, prioritize who is on your gift list. It doesn’t matter how big your list is, but it’s important to make one. It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry; you’ll end up with too much stuff. First, decide who you need to buy a gift for. If you’re close to your parents, for example, put them at the top of your list. Above your list of family and friends you wish to bestow with gifts, put your monthly payments. You want to make sure you take care of any monthly obligations first.

Budget:

As previously stated, prioritize your monthly bills above presents. It is never good to ignore your loan payments, as it’s only a matter of time before your loan servicers will charge late fees. After setting aside your monthly bills you can start assigning a number value to each person on your gift list. To get a general idea you can take your leftover amount from your budget and average out how much you can spend per person. For example, if you have $250 extra and you put 10 people on your list, you can spend $25 on each person.

Put thought into your gifts:

Be clever. Think outside of the box. How much you love someone doesn’t directly translate to dollars. Think about that person you’re buying a gift for. Is there something unique that just the two of you share? A good gift isn’t always a new iPhone, sometimes a better, more impactful gift can be as simple as a quirky blue deer statue.

Earn extra cash:

If you really want to be extravagant, you’ll have to put in the work. Your job may not offer overtime but there are options for making some extra dough. You could try driving for Uber or Lyft. You could even explore dog walking or any other service that your community might need. If you have a skill, try to offer lessons for example. Anything can work, you can set your own hours and earn a little extra for an extra special holiday.