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Christmas on a student budget

Christmas on a student budget

It’s December so I think that means we are officially allowed to mention the C word.  That’s right it’s only 24 days to Christmas!

Now I love all the festivities around Christmas, hearing all those familiar festive songs and of course, tucking into those Christmas treats, but what I don’t like so much is the havoc that Christmas wreaks on my bank balance.  I try not to go overboard but seeing all those sparkly, shiny decorations and finding presents that I know my family and friends will adore just sends me into a seasonal spin.

As a student with little money, Christmas can be a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be that way – here’s a few tips on how to have a great Christmas on a student budget.

1.  Plan

Probably the best tip when it comes to spending money on anything, not just Christmas, is to plan it out.   

Work out who you need to buy presents for from your close family and friends and how much you can realistically afford to spend on each gift. 

Don’t forget about other expenditure as well – Christmas is a huge social occasion so you’ll need to budget for nights out, parties, Christmas meals and any new outfits that you need to get.

2.  Suggest a Secret Santa

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you only had one present to buy?  Well why not suggest a Secret Santa?  This is a particularly good idea if you are looking to buy your housemates or a group of friends.  Even families are getting in on the action these days to save money. 

It’s simple to do too.  Set a budget of £5 or £10 (or another agreed amount), input all the participants into a Secret Santa Generator (Elfster is a good one as this also allows each person to suggest ideas of things that they might like) and you’ll be anonymously matched with someone. 
It’s also a great part of the fun trying to work out who your present is from!

3. Make use of student discount

Have you got an NUS card?  Using your student discount is a great way of saving money at Christmas time.   Sites such as PrezzyBox and IWOOT offer students 10% and are ideal for gifts and gadgets, plus there are hundreds of other discounts available on beauty and fashion products, technology, as well as experience days. 

4. Think creatively

If you’re struggling to find a unique gift for someone without blowing the entire budget then why not think about making something instead?  I love receiving handmade gifts that have had some time and thought put into them. Food items such as preserves, sweets or flavoured vodkas are a good starting point or scour the likes of Pinterest for hand-made gift inspiration. 

5. Don’t panic

Don’t forget the old adage “It’s the thought that counts”.  It’s absolutely true – your family won’t be thinking about the gift you bring them, they will be looking forward to spending some time with you after being away from home for the last few months.

What's your best money-saving tip - see our latest video on Facebook and let us know in the comments!

About the author

Heather Collin

Heather Collin

Heather graduated from University in History and English and has spent the last ten years working in Marketing, PR and Events.  She currently works in Digital Communications at Wrexham Glyndwr.

To get in touch with Heather please email