If you're living on a student budget, the cost of Christmas can be stressful. Here are some top tips to stop it hitting you too hard financially.

Woman wrapping Christmas present


Christmas is an expensive time of year for the best of us, so if you’re already trying to get by on a student budget it can be especially hard to find the pennies and pounds you need to treat your nearest and dearest.

Here are some top tips on how to have a brilliant Christmas without the money struggles you expect.

Pick up some Christmas shifts

The festive season is the busiest period for lots of businesses, especially retail stores and restaurants. If you’d like to make some extra money to help tide you over, check what temporary jobs are available in your area; while these jobs might not pay too handsomely, it’ll be a nice little bonus which you can put towards food, gifts or anything else you need. 

Take part in Secret Santa

If you’re part of a big friend group, suggest doing a Secret Santa and set a sensible budget. This will save you from having to buy a present for each friend, and you can all gather for the gift exchange and make the most of each other’s company, maybe for the last time this year!

Make the most of the sales

Okay, so Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great for all the people who can plan that far in advance, but even if you miss these opportunities to bag some major bargains, there are usually lots of deals running right up until Christmas. If you do have it in you to plan ahead, it’s well worth checking out all the cut-price Christmas items in January and saving them for next Christmas.

Ditch the cards

Sending out Christmas cards to your friends, family and colleagues is a lovely gesture, but the reality is cards can cost a small fortune and most end up in the bin once the festivities have passed. Instead of sending physical cards, opt to spread the Christmas joy via WhatsApp or email instead. It’s a great way to reduce waste, as well, so instead of feeling guilty for not giving cards, feel good about doing your bit for the planet.

Switch Christmas dinner for a buffet

If you’re planning to organise a Christmas dinner, don’t take on all the expenses yourself – instead of a traditional roast dinner, have a buffet. That way, every person can contribute an item and everyone can pick and choose as they please.

Save some Christmas money year-round

If you know from previous years that you struggle with money in December and never have as much to spend on Christmas as you’d like, why not try putting a little bit of money away each month all year round? By squirreling away £10 or £20 a month and saving it for Christmas shopping, you’ll be able to treat the ones you love without it having too big an impact on your bank balance.

Book your travel in advance

Lots of students travel over the festive period. If you’re one of them, make sure you book your tickets as soon as you know the date you want to travel – it’ll be a lot cheaper than booking last-minute. For those more strapped for cash, try opting for coach instead of train; the journey may be longer, but you’ll probably save yourself a fair amount of money.

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