Stores offering good affordable gifts are perfect for college students during this busy holiday season, said students, locals and a Texas A&M University-San Antonio graduate during interviews on and off campus.
Alumna Sarah Gold, who graduated from Texas A&M University-San Antonio in 2020 and now works as a second grade teacher, said Dollar Tree is one of her favorite stores to shop for the holidays while on a budget.
“I could spend about a hundred dollars and still get something for everyone on my shopping list,” said Gold as she stood in front of her shopping cart full of gifts Nov. 20 at the Dollar Tree on Southeast Military Drive at Mission Plaza.
“I can get a lot of things for everyone based on their interests,” she said, pointing at some art supplies for her younger cousin and skincare tools for a friend.
“A good budget gift idea for both college students and something I still use as a teacher is colored pens and cute journals.”
Communications senior Genesis Chacon said her place to shop for affordable gifts is Five Below.
“I like going to Five Below because it has a lot of different options,” Chacon said in an interview Nov. 17. “It makes it easier to get gifts for everyone, without having to go to a lot of stores and spend a lot of money.”
Chacon said she loves stores that are convenient and where she can find gifts for her brothers and parents.
“This time of the year can be stressful and having these stores that offer good gifts at affordable prices is the best for a college student like me,” she said. “It helps out in times like these where money is tight.”
Mercy Guerrero, a full-time counter manager for Lancôme at Macy’s in South Park Mall, suggested a few ways people can save money while Christmas shopping on a budget.
“We have the Black Friday deals that go on; say the item is $50 and it’ll go down to $25,” Guerrero said.
When it comes to getting gifts on a budget, Guerrero recommends getting the Lancôme miniatures.
She also encouraged shoppers to open a membership card with the store to save even more.
“So sometimes when you know how you open a Macy’s card, you get double the points. When you’re a bronze member you get one point each dollar you spend, so you might get $10 back, $20 dollars if you’re basically spending the amount of that,” Guerrero said.
San Antonio local Bobbie Jo Peña said she tries to spend less than $50, sometimes $60, as a Christmas budget at Five Below.
“There’s other stuff you can do with your family instead of buying gifts,” Peña said while shopping Nov. 22 at the Five Below on Southwest Military Drive. “Family time is more important.”
Peña, holding a bundle of gifts in her arms, recommends “the socks and blankets” as an excellent in-store gift.
The intention behind a gift is more important because “the person who gives it to you put a lot of thought into it,” Peña said. She emphasized how presents come and go, so a budget should be manageable as long as the gift is genuine.
“You give them something small to open, but it’s more heartwarming for me because you spend time making memories; those are the things you carry with you, not just the gift,” Peña said.
Stone Oak resident Jessie Archer said her favorite place to shop is Amazon.
“I do all my shopping on Amazon,” said Archer wearing a red sweater, black leggings and thigh-high black boots. “I got this entire outfit on there.”
Archer, a teacher at a local day care, said she loves buying all her Christmas gifts a month before Christmas during the Cyber Monday sales.
“I can get everything at a great price by shopping in advance,” Archer said in an interview on Nov. 22. “That way, I can focus on hosting and spending quality time with my family during the holidays.”
Angelina Cuevas, Karen Garcia, Sabrina Garcia, Zeba Kurji, Jacob Lopez and Daniel Morales contributed to this story.