Christmas is an expensive time for everyone, and students have to be especially careful during the festive season when funds are limited. Spending at Christmas parties and events whilst trying to buy special gifts for your nearest and dearest can easily escalate into a debt problem.
Step away from the credit card and read our top tips on keeping to your budget this Christmas, without compromising on the lovely gifts you give:
You probably want to give gifts to your housemates, but with so many of you living together, it could get expensive! A ‘Secret Santa’ (where everyone’s names are put into a hat and you pick one out to buy a present for at random) is an enjoyable way for you to all get a gift without spending too much, and avoids the awkward situation of deciding who to buy a gift for and how much to spend.
You can set a budget for each present, and the stress is taken out of present buying as it becomes a fun game, where no-one knows who has bought for them until the day you exchange your gifts.
One of the best ways to save money is with home-made gifts, as spending your time creating a gift for a loved one yourself shows just how much you care. This adds a personal touch and saves you a lot of money! You can draw on your areas of expertise – if you are good at drawing, needlework, photography or cookery, there will be a great way to utilize your talents.
Use your Skills!
If you can use a sewing machine, you could make your loved ones gifts this way; for example a cloth doll for a niece would be a gift to treasure, or using a vintage pattern to create clothing would be a great gift for a retro-loving friend.
If you like to draw, or even just fancy a little craft project, you can save a lot of money by creating your own cards.
If cooking’s your thing, making your own jams or chutneys is a nice touch; putting it in pretty jars decorated with ribbons and a decorative label will make for an attractive and tasty gift.
You could also think about making chocolate truffles, which are easier than they look, but impressive. If your cooking skills are very basic, making cookies and using festive cookie cutters, then decorating with coloured icing could work well.
If you’re not crafty or much of a chef, don’t worry – there’s still ways for you to give a personal gift. Try compiling a photo album of your happy times together. This is lovely and personal without requiring much skill on your part!
For a friend that loves vintage styles and quirky gifts, scouring charity shops can be a great way to find fun nick-knacks at a low price. Buying a new item created in a vintage style will be far more expensive, so why not buy the real thing!
Going to charity shops in or near to wealthy areas is a good idea to get better quality items, and for larger items, scouring EBay could turn up some wonderful bargains.
Browsing your favourite websites regularly is a brilliant idea in the run-up to Christmas – Asos, Urban Outfitters and more run regular offers such as free shipping, or discount days. Keep your eyes peeled!
Ultimately, the key to saving money at Christmas is putting extra time and thought into your gift giving. Whether this involves hunting down the best deals online and in the shops, or creating a gift yourself, keep in mind the interests and personality of your recipient and you’re sure to give a gift they will appreciate, whatever the cost.
ABOUT AUTHOR: Emily Bradbury is a blogger and fashion lover at The Jewel Hut; home to over 40 big-name jewelry brands at brilliant prices, and now available in the US.