Buying gifts for college students and uni students can be a tricky situation all round – it’s difficult to find the perfect gift when you’re a limited student loan budget, and it’s difficult to know what to buy students when you’re not sure exactly what they need or what they don’t. Do you want a fun gift or something nice for the dorm room?
Student Discount Squirrel knows a thing or two about shopping while scrimping; and there’s no need to let monetary constraints curb your purchase of thoughtful, tasteful gifts for other university students.
We’ve written and researched this guide to give you lots of great ideas and options for every budget.
Find out more about the best gifts for students:
Best Presents for Uni Students
Before we begin our in-depth guide, here is a summary of the best student gifts.
Best Gift for Students who like to Read
Best Gift for Pizza Loving Students
Takeaway Pizza from Dominos
Best Gift for Students who like to Travel
Best Gift for Personalised Student Gifts
Personalised Doorstep Delivery Gifts from Funky Pigeon
Best Gifts for Next Day Delivery
Amazon with FREE unlimited next day delivery!
Best Gifts for Apple Tech Lovers
Best Homeware Gifts
Best Gifts for Skincare
Best Experience Gifts
Best Ethical Gifts
OK, so you’re not made of money right now, but you’re still expected to buy gifts as appropriate for birthdays, Christmases and special occasions. Fear not though, there are lots of things you can buy for others without spending too much cash unnecessarily.
Next time the opportunity arises and you need a thoughtful present for someone else, consider the following suggestions.
Audible Membership for Great Audiobooks Every Month
Audible is the UK’s biggest audiobook company and through an app downloaded on a smartphone gives access to thousands of audiobooks, podcasts and interviews.
Just about every title you can think of (bar textbooks) can be found on Audible, and membership usually works through a monthly membership subscription which grants the user one or two credits to download the book of their choice each month; with lots of discounted sales for cheaper book purchases in between.
There’s a 50% student discount on Audible for the first three months, so you can gift three months to someone super cheap! Whatever they’re into and whatever they like to read or listen to, there’s bound to be something to keep them occupied.
It’s the perfect present for those uni students who don’t have the time or appetite to read physical books.GET GIFT >
Delicious Takeaway Pizza, Drinks, Sides and Desserts from Dominos Takeaway Pizza
Dominos pizza isn’t known for its value, but offers a hefty 35% student discount which definitely makes each slice more reasonable!
Posh pizza is a great gift for pre-night out birthday boy or girl and best when you’re going to be with them… so you can tuck in too!
There are lots of flavours to choose from so you’re bound to get it right.GET GIFT >
Get Out and About with National Express Coach Cards, Tickets, Excursions and Days Out
Plan a trip away or a day out with National Express, the country’s leading coach company.
If you’re buying for another student you can link with others to plan a whole itinerary of fun, or if you’re buying for a friend or loved one at home, why not book a coach trip for them to come and visit you?
Personalised Doorstep Delivery Gifts and Cards for Every Occasion from Funky Pigeon
Funky Pigeon is home to thousands of customisable cards and gifts that are posted directly to your desired recipient without any intervention from you other than a well-crafted gift message and your card details.
There are some great discounts and sale events available throughout the year, as well as plenty of tailored cards for every occasion you can imagine.
Next day delivery is available for some cards, but if you’ve got more time, you can save further by hitting the first class post.
Funky Pigeon is home to thousands of customisable cards and gifts that are posted directly to your desired recipient without any intervention from you other than a well-crafted gift message and your card details.GET GIFT >
Gifts in a hurry – anything from Amazon, because you get FREE unlimited next day delivery!
Amazon Prime can be an expensive business but works out good value if you buy from Amazon a lot.
However, it’s not exactly suited to a student budget. Thankfully, there is a better way! Amazon Prime offers a student discount that gives FREE Prime access for £3.99 a month for six months, then £3.99 a month thereafter.
Amazon Prime gives you unlimited access to free next day delivery, so when you’re in a hurry or, ok, let’s be honest, you’ve forgotten to buy a present on time, you can rely on Amazon to have it with you sharpish.GET GIFT >
Buying Gifts For Students, College Students, University Students and School Pupils
Buying for students can be a tricky purchase process to navigate if you’re not around the person in question all the time. You need to avoid anything too pricy so as not to make them feel they need to reciprocate, but also nothing that may require further purchase and cost them cash they just don’t have. Fear not, though – we’ve thought of all of this and can help!
Apple Vouchers For That Apple Tech Loving Student
Everyone loves the sleek lines and bold simplicity of Apple products, but let’s be honest – they’re not exactly friendly on the old purse strings!
However, uni students are able to access better value on Apple products and services through their ‘Education Pricing’ scheme.
This means that everything from full desktop computers to phone accessories work out cheaper for students, so buying Apple vouchers means that the gift recipient will be able to get more bang for their buck than usual.GET GIFT >
Stylish Furniture from Dunelm for them to Update their Student House and Bedroom
Dunelm is a high street staple, and their furniture and homeware ranges are unbeatable at the moment.
Students aren’t best known for having loads of room in their homes or rooms, but there are some small pieces that make thoughtful and eye-catching gift ideas. We love the Black Heart Light With Photo Plugs, ideal for them to display pics from their nights out, adventures or the friends and family they’re missing from home, which can be hung on a wall so won’t take up any extra space.
The Eban Grey Table Lamp is truly a design spectacle and is a beautiful addition to any study desk.
And for something a little tastier, the Dunelm Basic Sandwich Maker is a simple but effective gift for anyone who has a limited kitchen repertoire but enjoys a quick homemade snack.GET GIFTS >
It sounds a little unimaginative but hear us out here because toiletries can be expensive!
Boots aren’t all shampoo and shower gels, and their student discount is often raised for special events and sales, so students are able to get really good value from their purchases.
What’s more, Boots vouchers can be spent on photo processing, electronics and homewares such as candles and other gift ideas.GET GIFTS >
Groupon Experiences for Uni Students
Groupon is a well-known discount website that offers a variety of goods and local experiences, and we believe the magic sits in the latter.
Wherever it is that your gift recipient is studying, there’s bound to be some gift ideas to suit them nearby – even if you’re a long way away! You’ll find the likes of days out, beauty treatments, spa experiences and concert tickets, all heavily discounted.
This allows you to find really great value experience presents that students can attend with their mates or roommates and isn’t just another product to stack on the present pile!GET GIFTS >
Gift Ideas Smellies from The Body Shop
In case you missed the memo, The Body Shop’s products are all now back to being 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so make a great gift for eco-conscious and animal-loving students!
The Body Shop’s range is a cut above standard high street toiletries and cosmetics so make a great gift as they’re definitely a bit of a treat!
We recommend the Glowing Rose Gift Bag (a great all-rounder), the Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Face Mask (a good gift idea wake up call after a big night out) and the Fuji Green Tea Conditioner (it can revive even the most tired of barnets!).GET GIFTS >
Tips for Thrifty Gift Buying
As with anything, present purchasing can be done cheaply if you shop smart. Follow these top tips to maximise value and avoid unnecessary extra spending next time you need to grab a gift.
- For big occasions like Christmas or Eid, set a budget – it’s all too easy to splurge and spend more than intended (and more than you can afford) for big occasions, so download a budgeting app, set your spend and keep track of everything you buy.
- Out of ideas? Send an IOU – if you’re really struggling for ideas or cash, be honest about it – and send an IOU! You can pick something up when you’re able and ready to, and when you find the right thing. Don’t buy something for the sake of buying something!
- Share out spend – if a few people are buying for one person, why not all go in together and buy a shared gift? It’ll avoid buying lots of little things that will only end up going astray and help you all contribute to something bigger and better.
- Plan ahead – if you keep dates on your calendar for birthdays and occasions, read ahead and work out who to buy for ahead of time. That way, you’ll have time to shop sales and pick things up in advance without having to scrabble and spend lots last minute.
- Google voucher codes – if you’re shopping online, of course, use your student discount, but also: search for discount codes! There are sites that literally just collate codes and even some browser plug-ins that automatically ‘apply and try’ every available one. Who knows? You may save some extra cash on top of your usual money off without even trying!
- Re–gift – everyone has a couple of gifts lying around their house that they received and have never made use of – so make use of them now and give them away! Just make sure you’re not giving it back to the person who gave it to you though, of course…
- Keep informed of upcoming sales events and product must have optins– consumer champion websites (like Student Discount Squirrel!) are one of the most valuable reads online. Keep abreast of upcoming events retailers are hosting and save your spend until they happen; you may be surprised at just how wide-ranging discounts can be from day to day.
Gift Ideas on How to Pick the Perfect Present
Some people are just good at buying gifts, aren’t they? As you read this, you can probably recall a great gift-giver you know, but if you don’t feel that your skills are quite up to scratch, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Purchasing presents isn’t an in-built skill that can’t be learnt, and with these hints, you’ll soon be able to find the most superb souvenirs for all!
- Observe – paying just a little bit more attention to the things people say and do can uncover a myriad of hints toward their wants and needs. What are they sharing on social media? Which windows do they stop to look twice at when shopping? What colour scheme is their home? What items of yours do they lust over? Keep an eye and ear open at all times for ideas.
- Give for a good cause – if the person is into a particularly charity, current affairs issue or cause, why not give a donation in their name to something relevant? Or better yet, get involved yourself. Make up food parcels and take an afternoon out with them to sort them at the foodbank. Volunteering your time to people can be more impressive than physical gifts and really helps show how much you care and value them and their passions.
- Give an experience – if you don’t see someone often, there’s no point in providing a physical item that they’ll put to one side and promptly forget about; because it can come across as a little thoughtless. Instead, why not give them an afternoon in the sun at the park together with a picnic? Or a full morning of undivided attention with locked phones and good gossip over coffee? Or tickets to a concert or event you can both enjoy together? Making memories is priceless – gifts are not.
- Don’t be afraid of gifting consumables – we often discount people’s ‘favourites’ because they’re not long-lasting. If someone is a cheese freak, give them a nice cheese board. If someone is a chocoholic, put together a DIY choccy hamper. If someone enjoys a glass or two of wine, buy some little bottles of new ones to taste. If a consumable item is going to be really enjoyed by the recipient, then don’t hesitate to buy it just because it won’t last longer than a few hours. It’s still a treat!
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you get a student for Christmas?
First, decide on the budget you have for your gift for a college student. At the cheaper end you can still get personalised gifts which makes a thoughtful and unique gift idea. Check out Notonthehighstreet, Moonpig or Funky Pigeon which has lots of ideas.
If you’re looking to spend some more money then a tech gift is a great idea. Currys have some great tech options including headphones, tablets and laptops. And you can buy with peace of mind as they will price match the item.
What is the best gift for a college student?
We have some great suggestions for gift ideas for a college student. From day out experiences to personlised gifts there is something for everyone.
How can I give experience instead of gifts?
Experiences are great ideas instead of gifts and it is usually very easy for you to book an experience to give to another person. For instance on Groupon, there are options when you are paying for the experience where you can state that the experience is intended as a gift for another person and not for yourself.
What are good gifts for under £10?
There are some great options for good gifts under £10. On Notontheghighstreet.com there is a useful filter where you can put in £10 and under and lots of ideas came up including:
- Pocket heart token
- Personalised wire words
- Wooden train name
What are good gifts for under £5?
If you’ve got a budget of £5 or under for a gift then there are still plenty of great ideas. How about go to Poundland or B&M which always have great things like
What is a good £15 gift?
Moonpig has a great option on it’s gift page to filter by gifts by £15. For your £15 you can get presents such as:
- Letterbox hampers
Summary of Student Gifts
Gift-giving can be a minefield but it really needn’t be. Follow Student Discount Squirrel’s advice and you’ll soon gain a reputation for thoughtful, appropriate and interesting present purchases – no big bucks required.
We’ve shown you how you can use student discounts to buy gifts and presents, saving you some of that student loan, and some great gift ideas for students too.