‘Tis the season to spend money?
Winter is everybody’s favourite season; there’s just so much going on- Halloween, Bonfire Night, the lead up to Christmas, the slow descent into unbearable debt…
You don’t want to miss out on all the festive fun but sometimes the lack of festive funds means you have to. Here are some top tips, courtesy of the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, on how to budget effectively and make the pennies last in the lead up to Christmas, so you don’t have to miss out on any of it.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without them, but dear me can they get expensive. To cut down your spending:
Make home-made gifts. As twee as it sounds this can seriously cut down your spending. Think of some nice ideas that your family would love or use any skills you have. Good at knitting? Everyone loves jumpers- whole family sorted in one go. Your family will love any gits from you, especially if you have put thought into it and made them personal. Make them all a stocking and fill it with cheaper presents like their favourite sweets. True, it’s no Xbox but play on the sentimental side of Christmas rather than the materialism of it all.
Secret Santa. Fair enough if you feel too embarrassed to crochet your mate a scarf; some things are acceptable for family but not for friends. To save money buying your friends presents, suggest secret Santa. Everyone gets a gift but everyone saves money- perfect! Set a reasonable budget that everyone can afford and you’ve saved yourself 50 quid. Brilliant.
An inevitable part of Christmas is shopping, but it doesn’t have to cost you the Earth.
Budget your present allowance. If you have a set amount per person then you can monitor your spending and make sure you don’t go over that for each person. Browse around the shops first before you buy so you can get the best, cheapest present for everyone.
Take cash out. Don’t use your cards to buy them- before you know it you’ve racked up a huge credit card bill. If you have cash once it’s gone it’s gone so you can’t buy anything else, especially if you leave the cards at home!
Try online shopping. That way you aren’t tempted by all the lovely things on the shelves around you. Use websites and shops that you get student discounts on- it’s stupid not to utilise such an opportunity! Also, check out voucher websites- there are loads out there and they can really save you some money.
Food! It’s lovely to have a group Christmas meal with your friends before you all go your separate ways for the holiday. Allocate a dish per person then bring them all together on the day. You are only responsible for one dish giving everyone food poisoning and a shared cost will make your wallet much happier. Economise on presentation- kitchen towel does the trick just as well as fancy napkins, and do you really need crackers?
Decorations. Think priority- a tree and baubles yes, but fairy lights? They can put the electricity bill through the roof so before you get carried away by it all put your money-saving head on. You can still turn your home into Santa’s grotto, just use tinsel or other decorations to get the Christmassy feel.
Written by Anna Pitts