How To Handle Holiday Shopping When You're Broke AF

illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Many of us have been there — holiday shopping starts off with the best of intentions, maybe even excitement, but can quickly fade into a feeling of unease over how much money we've spent.
This time of year can be stressful for many reasons, but it can be extra taxing when you're tight on cash. Whether you're in between jobs, or have already over-budget because of an expensive holiday flight, sometimes one look at your bank account balance is all it takes to get sucked into a vortex of stress.
No matter what holiday you're celebrating this season, it's easy to feel the pressure of gift-giving. It can often mean that we're financially over-extending ourselves because we feel obligated to show our love through an exchange of material goods.
But love and the holidays definitely doesn't have to mean going into debt: There are plenty of ways to navigate gift-giving on a budget, whether that's trying your hand at DIY, smart shopping, or redefining gifts altogether. We chatted with five members of our Money Diaries community to gain some insight on some gift strategies for the holidays that won't leave you feeling #brokeAF.
Read on to spark some budget-friendly gifting ideas of your own!

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.