It’s that time of year again where decorations are hanging, festive lattes are taking over coffee shops & the TV is bombarded with emotional adverts. Consider it officially Christmas.
However, among the happiness and magic there is the stress of finding the perfect gift for your loved ones. Put being a student on top of that and it’s enough to make you want to cancel Christmas altogether (actually, not quite).
So here are my four tips on how to budget yourself so that you’re not left completely penniless by the 25th.
It may seem harsh but you have to be realistic. If you physically cannot afford to buy a present for everyone in your group of friends on top of your family then don’t. Like it or not, family are pretty much obligated to come first in the season of giving so if you have a huge group of friends why not suggest a Secret Santa? If your friends are fellow students then they should 100% understand your reasoning behind it, and they may also welcome the idea with open arms. Also, in terms of family, don’t feel as if you have to include that aunt and uncle you never see and their dog. You may feel as if it’s expected to buy them something especially if they’re giving you something, but if you realistically can’t afford it then they will understand (hopefully) – they’d have likely been students themselves at one point! If you do have a bit of extra cash to spend on those distant relatives, then you can buy a joint present.
I feel like this is a pretty obvious one, yet so many people forget about it. It’s easy to get caught up in the gift buying leaving you strapped for cash when you realise that you’ve still to buy for your parents. Set an amount that you’re willing to spend on each person. The average I usually spend on gifts are £10-£15 a person. Don’t feel as if you have to give each person a huge pile of presents. You have that to look forward to when you’re older and playing Santa for your kids.
3) BE ORGANISED – START EARLY
For the love of all things good and holy, DO NOT START BUYING PRESENTS AT THE LAST MINUTE! I have never understood why people do this. I think I get my Christmas organisational skills from my parents – they started buying presents in the summer. The sooner you start, the less stress you will feel. Starting early also means that you may have a bit more money to spend on people especially if you’ve taken out a student loan. Start in October and by the time December comes around you’d already have had other two loan payments. Also, in terms of staying organised, keep a list. This means you can easily see who you still need to buy for and who is already sorted.
4) COMPARE PRICES
If you’re trying to manage your money for anything, not just Christmas, try not to jump at the chance of buying anything at any price. Spend some time browsing the internet and going into different shops. Chances are that you will find the exact same thing or something similar that you saw in the first shop for a lot cheaper. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve told friends to look online before they make a purchase. Amazon is a great site that usually sells stuff for a lower price. Just make sure you also check the postage.
Hopefully you guys found these tips helpful. I’m thankful to my parents for drilling these budgeting tips into my head from a young age. They are literally the rulers of hunting out good deals.
Don’t let the best time of year turn into one of chaos and stress.