Christmas can feel quite stressful as a student and when you’re a bit strapped for cash it’s easy to panic and get into expensive debt. Here are some top tips on how to spend less this Christmas.
Create a budget
Look at your bank balance then decide how much you can realistically spend on Christmas without breaking the bank. Ideally, you’ll have saved a little bit over the previous months, but if this hasn’t happened remember to be realistic. It’s the thought that counts not the cost of the present and people will understand you’re having to cut back this year – students aren’t known for having loads of money.
Make a list
Write down who you need to buy for and try to keep it as concise as possible. Rather than buying individual presents for everyone consider buying something for a couple together. If you’ve got a large group of friends suggest everyone does secret Santa rather than having the pressure of buying for so many people. Once you have your list and budget, assign an amount to each person and try to stick to it.
Make your own
If you want to make the most of the long Christmas holidays, get creative. Use sites like Pinterest to get home-made Christmas present ideas. Not only will this save you money but it’s also a really thoughtful way to let someone know you care about them.
Set a limit
If you can, try to get everyone you normally buy for to agree a spending limit of £5 or £10. Ultimately, it’s the thought that counts and finding meaningful presents for as little as a fiver can be really fun – it will save you a lot of cash too.
Bail on brands
If you’re buying for children, they’re very unlikely to be brand snobs. You don’t need to splash out on the best-known make, get a cheaper alternative they will find just as fun.
This can be the same for adults too – especially for smaller presents, bargain shops can do just as good a shop as a posh one.
The last thing you should do is get yourself into debt over Christmas. You’re in a really expensive stage of your life, your friends and family are going to understand if you don’t spend quite as much as them on presents – and frankly they probably won’t want you to... Don't go into an unauthorised overdraft or use a high interest credit card unless you know you can afford to pay off the balance fully at the end of the month.
If you’re really struggling, look into a 0% purchases credit card which allows you to borrow interest free for a number of months. Just make sure you make a note of when the interest free period is and be absolutely sure you can pay off your balance before the interest kicks in. You can check if you’d be likely to be accepted here.
Get money off
Black Friday is just around the corner and in the run up to Christmas you’ll find a lot of retailers offer big discounts so keep your eyes peeled. You might not be able to do all your shopping on one day but you’ll get it for cheaper. When shopping online always do a quick google to see if any online retailers are offering any discount codes and signing up to newsletters will often mean you’ll get discounts sent to you too.
Look for seasonal work
Lots of retailers, pubs and restaurants are looking for extra staff in the run up to the busy festive period. Keep your eye out for a temp job which will help you cover the cost of Christmas. Don’t sign up to so many hours that you won’t get your revision done – but if you could spare a few evenings a week then this could be a great way to have a very Merry Christmas.