17 Incredibly Useful (But Cheap) Gifts for College Students

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Practical gifts college students totally want you to buy

college student Christmas gift wrapped with a red bow

Deciding on what to give a college student is never as simple as it seems.

What will they actually use at school?

Well, for one: food.

It’s something that will always be met with a smile. Broke students aren’t hard to please.

In this post, I have more cheap ideas (like food) that will hit the nail on the head.

Here are 17 useful gifts for college students that will make them wonder, “how did you know I needed this??”

Super Useful Gifts for Students in College

1. Outlet Extender With USB Ports

Multi Plug Outlet Extender with USB Wall Charger and Night Light, 3 Electrical Outlet Splitter 2 USB Phone Charger Wall Plug for Cruise Essentials, Multiple Power Outlet Expander with Charging Station

buy on amazon button

Kids in college have lots of gadgets that need charging. Yet dorm rooms never seem to have enough outlets to plug everything in.


An outlet extender can help them make the most out of limited socket options. Make sure to pick one that’s surge protected so nothing expensive gets fried!

2. Rapid Ramen Cooker

red rapid ramen cooker - gift idea for college kids

buy on amazon button

For better or for worse:

Ramen noodles and college students go together like peanut butter and jelly. A microwave-safe cooker is a handy little tool they’ll use often.

3. Easy Eggs to Go Microwave Egg Cooker

inexpensive gift for a student in college example

buy on amazon button

Most dorm dwellers only have access to a microwave and a mini-fridge.

Which is why egg cookers are awesome practical college gifts.

They make cooking faster and easier. As I’m sure you know, making healthier choices is so much easier when it’s convenient!

4. Feather Shaped Metal Bookmarks

gold colored metal bookmark shaped like a feather - practical gift idea

buy on amazon button

Printable bookmarks only last so long. They’re easy to bend and they don’t stand a chance against spilled beverages.

However, metal bookmarks can stand years of abuse. Even at the hands of a student flipping through endless textbooks.

5. Organizer Bag for Cables & Electronic Accessories

practical college gift idea

buy on amazon button

College students own an average of 7 tech devices according to a 2013 study. I’m sure that number has gone up by now!

A pouch for organizing it all is a big help for sorting out the jumbled pile of cords in their backpack.

Video: Gadget Organizer Review

6. 1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know

useful book for students in college

buy on amazon button

You can’t go wrong with a book packed full of wisdom.

1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know delivers that with a healthy dose of humor.

7. French Press Coffee Maker

12oz french press coffee maker gift idea

buy on amazon button

College students go through a lot of coffee and caffeine in general.

Keurigs are popular but they aren’t the end-all, be-all for coffee makers.

Making a perfect cup of joe is just as easy with a French press. It’s miles cheaper than paying for k-cups, too!

8. Cute Sticky Notes Tabs

sticky tabs shaped like cute dogs and birds

buy on amazon button

Students always have pages to mark in their textbooks.

Cute animal sticky note tabs can make homework time a little more fun.

9. Easy Access Pepper Spray Keychain

college girl holding blue keychain pepper spray

buy on amazon button

It’s best to be prepared for the worst, even if they never need it.

College girls will appreciate a gift of keychain-ready pepper spray.

10. Convenient Lap Desk

college student using a practical lap desk for working on a laptop

buy on amazon button

While you can use a laptop almost anywhere, it’s not always comfortable to do so.

That’s where a lap desk comes in. It’s an ergonomic solution that students are sure to appreciate for Christmas.

11. Cordless Handheld Vacuum

example of a gift that's useful for college students

buy on amazon button

A small handheld vacuum is really nice to have when a small mess or spill happens! Chances are he or she doesn’t have a regular-sized vacuum anyway.

12. Cute & Functional Laptop Backpack

pink laptop backpack useful college gift idea

buy on amazon button

Is your college kid’s backpack looking a little worse for wear?

A sturdy laptop bag is a welcome sight for weary shoulders.

Related Post: The Best Cute Backpacks for College Girl

13. Minimalist Bedside Shelf

BedShelfie The Original Bedside Shelf - 9 Colors / 4 Sizes - The Perfect College Dorm Room Essential (Minimalist Size, Natural)

buy on amazon button

A convenient bedside shelf will get endless use in a college dorm. They’ll finally have somewhere to set stuff!

14. A Stockpile of Razor Refills

useful gift for college guys example

buy on amazon button

Razors are pricey in general, but they are especially so on a college budget. You’re sure to hear a big THANK YOU if you give them refills!

Here are some nice inexpensive options:

15. Portable Blender for On-The-Go

Portable Blender, Personal Size Blender USB Rechargeable with 6 Blades for Shakes and Smoothies, Mini Blender with 13oz Jucie Cup for Sports,Travel,Gym,home and office Blue

buy on amazon button

Smoothie lovers will really like this next idea:

It’s a blender and travel bottle all in one – talk about convenient!

16. The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook

The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide for Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness - example of a useful present for college kid

buy on amazon button

College life and living with on your own can be a big transition-especially when you get sick for the first time!

A good book can help them with navigating everything from homesickness to hangovers.

Related Post: 19 Books for That Are Perfect for College Freshman

17. Snack Filled Care Package

snacks are always practical college gifts

buy on amazon button

Remember – college students can always find a use for food.

When in doubt, go with a gift of snacks!


Final thoughts on practical gifts for college students

There you have it. Those are the most useful Christmas gifts for college students that are cheap. You can be sure that these ideas are perfect for the college guy or girl in your life.

What’s the best helpful gift you’ve received?


save these Christmas gift ideas to Pinterest

useful Christmas gifts for college student Pinterest

Useful Gifts for College Students (That Are Cheap)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *