The festive period is truly upon us students, as the decking of halls and trimming of trees have been put on hold to finish up assignments and hit the town. But are we just stalling to stop ourselves spending? Here’s some tips on how to get into the holiday spirit without spending a fortune.
If you’re the sort of person who, like me, gets far too excited at the prospect of buying (and, yes, receiving) presents, you’ll probably be aware that this can be a costly hobby. It sounds obvious, but a Secret Santa with your housemates or friends can be a really good way to avoid spending too much money, because as much as I’m sure your friends will appreciate your effort, there’s always going to be that one person who, after you spent months pondering the perfect gift for them, opts for some soap. And, let’s be honest, we don’t have time for “it’s the thought that counts” – we’re students! So just agree a price limit with your friends, whatever you all think you can afford. This way you can all keep the cost low but choose the perfect present for one friend rather than several mediocre ones for all.
Cheap Christmas Dinner
It might feel like you can’t even afford to have more than baked beans on toast sometimes, and so you might not think you and your friends could actually have anything more than some pre-sliced packet turkey for Christmas dinner, but it is possible to have a slap-up meal that, yes, may not be as good as your mum’s, but which is cheap and fairly tasty.
As well as Asda, obviously infamous for its low prices, don’t forget Aldi and Lidl. I myself only recently discovered the delights of these German Supermärkte. As well as the prices being , the food is actually really good! Put some money in a pot with your flatmates and go together to one of these stores and you should be able to get a pretty cheap meal that you can all cook and enjoy together.
Vouchers and Discounts
Make the most of that 2 for 1 offer voucher you’ve been hoarding since May, and keep an eye out for deals wherever you can. I would say that you should try to buy in advance of December, before all the shops hike up their prices, but all I can hope is that you’ve already done it and/or will listen to my words of wisdom for next year.
Don’t forget your student discount! So many shops nowadays will offer student discounts and it’s simply a waste if you don’t use them – you can easily save a couple of hundred pounds a year from my experience, just use it wisely. There’s also Unidays online, which offers the same thing, so don’t forget to whip that out on sites like Asos.
You wouldn’t think this is a particularly big money-eater, but every little helps. When it comes to saving money on wrapping paper, there are things you can do. Now, it may be a bit of a cheapskate move, but recycle wrapping paper – don’t necessarily use the same bits of paper with the same person more than once, but if you’ve bought some nice wrapping paper and it remains mostly in one piece after having been opened, then flatten it out and use it again for someone else. It’s not actually doing anyone any harm, and they’ll never know unless you tell them.
You can also use alternatives to wrapping paper. For example, use the Financial Times pages as wrapping paper – newspapers can look unique and retro, and is probably cheaper and less obvious than brown paper.
Friends and family might be just as happy with something you’ve made as they would with something expensive but meaningless. Being a hard working student is time consuming enough, but if it can save you money and look more meaningful – there’s only one right answer. Don’t get me wrong, if they’ve told you/if you spot in the shop some perfect idea for a gift, go ahead and get it, but thinking about presents can be as equally important than the amount you spend on them. Things like cheap picture frames that you can spice up are really easy to make and something they can always use.