Every student and graduate knows the struggle. Christmas arrives, and your bank balance is as pitifully low as ever, only now you’ve got a lot more to pay for than the usual bumper pack of pasta and value toilet rolls.
So how do you make it through Christmas on a budget? There are a few great tricks you can use to minimise your spending and enjoy the festive season, so try these out:
It sounds obvious (and dull), and it’s usually the thing that parents badger you to set up all year, but having a solid budget for the Christmas period really does help. Not only does it help you block out how much spare money you have available, but it can also help minimise all that stressing, as you’ll know exactly where every penny is going, so long as you stick to it. Here’s a great budgeting tool you can use.
Most of us leave everything until December, which almost certainly results in a maxed-out overdraft by January. Of course, if you’re purely relying on a student loan, this is much harder to do. However, if you’re one of those savvy students or post grads with a part time job, this is where the staggering trick comes in handy. It may seem like madness, but if you keep an eye out for potential gift ideas as early as October/November, you can start buying some of your gifts sooner rather than later, and split the cost over several paydays.
Try it, and enjoy that super smug feeling of watching the rest of the world dashing around on December 24th while you put your feet up.
Hidden Student Discounts
Duh. If you’re a student, you obviously don’t need telling to use your discounts. But there may be loads of places where you can take advantage of your discounts that you’re unaware of, including food outlets, restaurants and transport for cheap Christmas nights out. Here’s a list of 30 discounts you may not even know you had. It’s worth checking, otherwise you’ll be kicking yourself.
Don’t forget to make use of Black Friday as well. Rarely are prices so hugely slashed as they are on Black Friday and Cyber Weekend, so if you’ve got ideas for gifts by the end of November, keep an eye out for deals and discounts on them just in case.
When you’re in university or recently graduated, most family and friends will understand and empathise with your lack of funds, and won’t expect gifts anyway. But if you feel compelled to get gifts for some people, then going down the DIY route is the ideal cheap Christmas gift option. Foodie gifts like homemade chocolates, sweetie jars and baked confections always go down a storm, or you could make photo gifts for an extra personal touch. If you’re really canny, you can sort out everyone’s gift for less than a fiver each by taking this approach.
Keep it close to home
We all need at least one Christmas night out with friends and colleagues at Christmas, but often these can start to stack up until you’re faced with three or four separate festive parties that you’ve suddenly got to find funds for.
The solution? Try and suggest house parties for the smaller ones with friends, rather than a full-blown night on the town. House parties are cheaper, largely thanks to the general BYOB rule and lack of entry fees, and bed isn’t far away when you’ve had enough.
You’ll be amazed at just how much you can save if you implement these five key Christmas budgeting tips this year. Give them a try and see for yourself.