Campus

CSI Students Struggle with Holiday Shopping Amid Inflation

One more daunting task has been added to students’ holiday to-do lists: staying on budget and managing money they barely have.

By Vanessa Apenteng

Money has tightened for CSI college students during the holiday seasons and the total cost of gifts is adding up. 

Photo Credit: Vanessa Apenteng

CSI students are struggling to stay on budget during the holiday season due to the rise of inflation.  

While a college education for students here at CSI paves the way to a better financial future, the demand of the experience generates financial stress for almost all college students, especially with the holidays approaching. 

Nine out of ten CSI students work while enrolled in school . The more hours they spend in school, the greater impact it has on their paychecks and overall finances. 

With inflation at a troubling high, students are witnessing the effects not only in the retail stores they plan on visiting for their holiday shopping, but also in their grocery stores.  

“I try to be more aware of how much money I’m really spending. Everything is so expensive so I wait and see if what I want will go on sale before I make my purchase,” said Jennifer, a student at CSI. “Every dollar counts, I barely have enough for the holidays.” 

One of the biggest issues students here at CSI face with budgeting is resource management and finding time. Most significantly struggle to effectively balance these two because students have so much on their plate to the point where budgeting doesn’t even cross their minds. 

During the holidays, students intensely feel the financial stress. Many of them are forced to limit how many classes they take during the semester or switch to part time or per diem at work, which elevates the cost of almost everything and leaves them with less money to allocate to their needs. 

Concerns over money among students accelerates to anxiety, depression, and serious mental health issues. They are worrying about paying off debts, whether they can pay those debts in time to be able to take classes the next semester, or simply if they have enough money left to get a meal.  

The National Student Financial Wellness study  found that 89 percent of students experience financial stress stemming from the fear of being unable to meet tuition costs. When mental health is impacted, the financial stress of students is inflamed.  

“I’ve spent all my money paying my tuition this semester to make sure I can register for classes next spring semester,” said John. “My family just might get a warm long hug for Christmas, or I’ll have to get creative because I’ve got no money to buy any holiday gifts this year.” 

Beyond the financial pressures that come with attending college, students may struggle to find a perfect gift for their loved ones with the little that they have. 

Most holiday shoppers go for electronic gifts like laptops, smart TVs, and various Apple products. But CSI students don’t have enough money to be able to afford these products and will ultimately have to make budget cuts to be able to secure their gift lists.  

Another alternative for students seeking to find gifts, besides making budget cuts, is putting together  a homemade gift. Students can get creative and put their skills to use with homemade crafts or simply spend quality time with their loved ones this holiday season, which can often be more meaningful. 

“Homemade gifts are a big part of Christmas,” said Scarlet. “They are thought to be more heartwarming to the sentimental type.” 

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