Fort Collins shopping guide for the broke college student

Ashley Potts

It feels like Thanksgiving was just the other day, but over two weeks have already passed. That means the “I’m going to get my Christmas shopping done early” ship has sailed. In the midst of dead week and studying for finals, many college students may have simply laughed off gift buying. It is time consuming and costs money many of us do not have. But fear not Ramily, the stores of Fort Collins might have something for you yet, even on a student budget. Here are five places to check if you still need gifts for the fam or for that white elephant party you got invited to:



This store is definitely a favorite of many CSU students. It is a quirky local store located just behind Old Town Square at 242 Walnut Street. This is the store where your best friend got that funny mug or silly pair of socks. Their website describes the store as an “eclectic and funky gift store (that) has something for everyone.” Some of their products are on the more expensive end, but there are definitely frugal options. Mugs, socks, stickers, posters and the like can all be found for under $20. And they have a whole wall full of funny cards, some even designed by local artists, if you are really tight on cash.

White Balcony

Another locally owned store with some great options White Balcony is located at 146 South College Ave. While a lot of their merchandise may be out of a college kids budget, they have so much in stock there is no way you can not find something. They offer many of the same quirky gift options as Curiosities alongside things your mom will love. Their website describes their specialty as “unique and edgy merchandise,” which is spot on. There are lots of options to be found for under $20, including books, wallets, jewelry, accessories, cards, etc.

The Right Card

Yet another shop in Old Town, at 17 Old Town Square #135, The Right Card has a lot to offer. As the name suggests, there are cards galore. This is also a great place to find the perfect paper to wrap all your gifts. According to their website they offer “an enormous selection of crazy and zany, or beautifully handmade greeting cards to help you express your every sentiment.” They do also have a gift section offering journals, coloring books and all the pens to go along with them. The smart shopper will definitely be able to make $20 go far in this store.

Bizarre Bazaar

This local consignment store has an incredible amount to offer for the book or music lover on your list. The only downside is that you may need to spend a while looking through their shelves and crates to find what you’re looking for. They have books stacked to the ceilings, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and cassette tapes lining the shelves. They offer a whole room full of record crates to fit every taste. This is a great place to shop for you hipster friends and family members. Most books and movies are under $10 and records usually under $20 depending on the artist. You may even be able to sell some of your old things back for extra Christmas cash. Definitely do not miss it. It is located at 1014 South College Ave.


While this is not a local store, it is still a great place for college kids to shop. Their website describes it as a “trendy clothing chain stocking hip new, used, vintage & one-of-a-kind pieces for men & women.” It is where the cool kids in your classes get their stylish outfits you know your younger siblings would love. It is also the perfect place to pick up a sweater for that ugly Christmas sweater party. And their prices are reasonable. You can find them at 228 South College Avenue or online at