With lectures and studying taking up the majority of your time, and rent, food and your social life taking up the majority of your money, it may be difficult to work out how you’re going to afford those Christmas presents for your loved ones.
Despite the grants and loans given, you’re still a little strapped for cash when it comes to gift giving, seeing friends, family and cooking up an amazing Christmas dinner with your house mates. However there are ways to lower expenses!
1. Get joint family presents – something that would suit lots of family members. For example, a single present for your Mother and Father, or Grandparents, or Aunts and Uncles. This may help split the cost instead of giving each member individual presents. You can also team up with a sibling and buy present together, this makes your budget less limited and so enables you to buy better presents.
2. Secret Santa with Friends – This is a must with friends, I will never buy individual gifts again! If you don’t know what ‘Secret Santa’ is, it’s where each individual taking part puts their name in a hat, and each person goes round picking out another person’s name – without looking, and that is who you buy a present for. This allowed us to have a decent budget (between £10-£20) to spend on one friend, instead of giving each one a small, less thoughtful present.
If you are buying presents online then there are a lot of ways you can save money that you probably didn’t even know about. Check them out here!
3. Get cheap but good quality food for your uni Christmas dinner – something that is always memorable about Christmas is the food. Christmas dinner, cake, mince pies, shortbread; everything that you would want. But again, being a student, it isn’t exactly easy. However, within most large stores (Tesco, Asda, Aldi) you can buy fresh or frozen vegetables rather cheaply that will still be good quality, whilst having some left over to use for other dinners too. Gravy, if necessary (which I always think it is) is usually sold for under £1.50 at a good to great quality.
Now, for Yorkshire puddings. Tesco sell decent quality packs of 12 for under £2, which could provide for you and other flatmates. Finally, the meat. Meat is usually expensive, and unfortunately if bought too cheaply can be disappointing. I’d suggest to buy a whole chicken as it is far cheaper than Turkey (but still has great taste), however chicken breast fillets would also work fine! Also, Aldi is your best friend. People may be put off by the idea of buying meat here but honestly I’ve tried the chicken and it’s better than any other shop! That also goes for the sweets and snacks, same exact products but different names and half the price.
4. Organise visits – One issue is seeing friends over the winter break. You all come from different corners of the city or even country and transport can be pricey. Make sure you travel outside of peak hours. Also, this may be obvious, but try to arrange a day where you can all meet up, preferably on a week day where it’ll be less busy and each of you may have more time to spare (especially considering some may have part time jobs on the weekends and cannot meet with you then). You can simply buy one drink in a café or pub and spend hours in there instead of paying to do an activity. This will give you all time to catch up about University without really spending any money.
Also, you’ll probably have a lot of Christmas meals to attend which can rack up quite a bit of cash. Make sure when suggestions of where to go are being made you mention some cheap alternatives, and that instead of splitting the bill you all just pay for your own food. Or, even better than that, have everyone round your house for a night-in where you can buy a cheap takeaway or bring your own food.
Got any tips for surviving Christmas on a student budget? Comment below!