Beacon Features: Black Friday helps the college student budget

By Christopher Hernandez
Contributing Writer

The holiday season is in full swing at West Palm Beach. From the snow falls at City Place to the peppermint mochas at Starbucks, Christmas is here.

Before any chestnut roasts under an open fire and after the turkeys have been eaten, the stores all over West Palm Beach will be flooded with shoppers of all ages on Black Friday looking for the best deals for Christmas.

For the college student, the black in Black Friday can mean death because of college expenses and lack of transportation. For those stuck on campus this Black Friday, there are affordable options just around the corner.

One of the scariest gifts to buy someone is clothing. My first tip when it comes to shopping under budget is to go designer. I know going designer sounds expensive, but I am not talking about Chanel and Gucci.

Collections from well known designers are hitting department stores. For Mom, you may find some elegant options within Macy’s Michael Kors collection. The collection is made up of solid colors, metallics, day wear, evening wear, shoes and jackets. Though the prices of some of these pieces are $150, these clothes are a steal at these prices.

Macy’s will be cutting down the prices on these expensive items during their Black Friday Sale, so this is the time to go designer. If you feel your wallet is pinching you at the idea of buying a $150 dress, Target’s Converse collection may be right up your alley.

Aimed toward the early twenties to early thirties brother and sister, the Converse collection at Target offers a variety of pieces that lean toward the trendy look; there is a lot of color, fun shapes and plaid as well as a variety of accessories from fedoras to scarves.

Although not tied to a designer’s name, the collection is very well constructed and, for a price range of $30 to $40, you can have your brother or sister anticipating the next time they receive clothing for Christmas.

Being the coffee nut in my family, I love the taste of Starbucks in the morning, afternoon, in between classes and at night for those long studying sessions. Since PBA is a few blocks away from a Starbucks, a gift from there is a convenient option.

A gift card doesn’t say, “I didn’t know what to get you,” as much as it says, “I know exactly where you like to shop and will let you find what you love.” With a lot of emphasis placed on Black Friday, there is a lot taken away from the after-Christmas sale.

During this time, many places are overstocked with items and need them to disappear. With low prices due to this sale, a $15 gift card can go a long way. It is good for five tall white mochas, a CD or a few bags of coffee that can last months after purchasing.

A great way to save money on Black Friday is to purchase items that are on clearance. Items on clearance already are marked down and are eligible for the 20 percent off sales, making these items extremely affordable.

Another great inexpensive gift option is music. CD’s range from $8 to $80 box sets. With Target and Wal-Mart near campus, you can get your Britney Spears’ obsessed sister the new singles collection; the rapper in the family Jay Z’s “The Blueprint III” or Lecrae’s latest; and for the friend in love with Switchfoot, their new “Hello Hurricane” record.

A great place for music, if you don’t feel like traveling to Target or lack a car, is Barnes and Noble in City Place. While there, you can get the reader in the family the latest from Francis Chan, Stephanie Meyer or Dan Brown.

Barnes and Noble also sells classic books such as “Persuasion” by Jane Austen and “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly. Music and literature open up a new tip for low budget Christmas shopping: buy low and create a memory.

For best friends and close family, a mix CD full of songs that remind you of “that one time” or a cheap gag book that takes you back to “that one day” will tell a person you thought about them this Christmas.

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