This article was written by an external contributor. Connor Gotto has some life-hacks for any students who are looking to keep the spends down over the holidays.
With the holidays upon us and the end of the year just around the corner, it’s that time of year where it’s make or break money-wise. It’s been a long time since the loans hit the bank accounts, thus students across the country are living off baked beans and instant noodles in an effort to save enough money to fund the festivities.
Christmas is, without a doubt, the most expensive time of year. Everyone is lured in by Black Friday deals and seasonal outings with friends suffering from festive fever. And, while it’s definitely a lot a fun, it can be a financial strain. Especially for those of us who just can’t bear to miss out.
The good news is you’re not alone, which is something that you can definitely work to your advantage. The key is to rope all your friends in and agree on some fundamentals to help cushion the blow of Christmas. So, here are some simple ways to celebrate with some more affordable festivities.
The gift situation
Of all of the many things to do over the holidays, it’s the exchanging of gifts that can have the most significant effect on our financial situation, with the average British household spending around £500 on gifts each year. This figure (in theory) should be slightly less for students, but will build up nonetheless.
It’s important, therefore, that you speak with your friends beforehand and figure out just how you’re going to approach gifts this year. And that means everyone too – no one likes to have an extravagant gift sprung upon them when they agreed to a £10 limit.
There are two ways that you could approach this, depending on your situation and what works best for you:
- Spending limits: One way to approach Christmas spending is to set limits within your friendship group. As we say, this could be anything and, whether it’s £5 or £50, the important part is that everyone has to stick to it.
- Secret Santa: Another popular (and cheaper) approach is a Secret Santa situation between friends. Pull names out of a hat, set a spending limit, and buy only for that person. This is great because you only have to buy for one person, and that person doesn’t know that it’s you who bought for them. So, if they don’t like what they receive, then you don’t have to say it’s you!
Give me time
Yes, we all love to give and receive gifts, but how much joy do they really bring us? Think about it – how many gifts can you remember from last Christmas? Not all that many, we’d hazard. But, we bet you can remember the times that you saw friends over the festive period and what you were doing when you exchanged gifts.
So, why not cut out the unnecessary expenses and just give the gift of time over the holidays? Of course, we’re not talking about sitting in your room with people and not spending a penny, but an afternoon in the pub or a day trip to the Christmas markets will create far more precious memories than a G&T gift set from Sainsbury’s.
But remember; talk to your friends and agree on this first. There’s nothing worse than being faced with a bag of goodies when you’ve only come armed with the gift of time!
A festive feast
The Christmas feast is without a doubt the highlight of the holidays. But if you dine out, it can quickly be the most expensive part too! Throw in a couple of pub roasts and you’ll have blown your monthly food budget on three meals alone.
The answer? Eat at home. Sounds boring? Nah. Have everyone buy and prepare a dish. Then turn the festive music loud, pour the Prosecco and indulge like you should do at Christmas. The best part – you can do it all in your slippers!
Ok, we’ll admit that the whole cooking side isn’t our favourite thing ever. However, the satisfaction of throwing together a meal for all of your friends to enjoy will soon distract from the momentary inconvenience of etching crosses into the bottom of brussels sprouts.
The true meaning of Christmas
What we’re really trying to say is that Christmas isn’t all about spending money. It’s about bringing people together, having a good time and making some long lasting memories. So, whether you celebrate Christmas or just want to join in with the holiday fun, everyone can enjoy, no matter how many pennies they have in the bank.