Tips for Surviving Christmas on a Student Budget

Last Updated: 20 December 2019

A happy student during Christmas

The festive season is a hectic time. Besides, it is also the most expensive period of the year. As you review some of the commitments you made at the beginning of the year, the worry of how to spend Christmas as a student can kick in. Without getting too spendy and being cognizant that you are on a student budget, we have some tips and tricks that have helped many students spend their Christmas and spend January never worrying about where the money went. Oh! It is also an end to the long term and your student loan could be on the cliff to completion.

You have to be frugal with your spending lest you get into more debts that will severe your financial stability. Instead of making mistakes we made as students during Christmas, we have compiled some top tips for shopping on a student budget. You can thank us already because, by the time you are done, you will be happier than any other student on the planet! Read on.

Have a Budget

Before committing your money into something, you should plan with what you have. After all, you cannot spend what you do not have. Planning your Christmas budget helps you understand what to spend where and what to avoid when shopping.

Budgeting for Christmas does not have to be hard if all along with the term you've been planning your finances. If you are one of those who spend as per need basis, you definitely should begin budgeting this Christmas; it will do you wonders!

The moment you have a budget, you can then sensibly account for all your finances. It will also limit your spending goals and restrict you from stretching out of your financial boundaries.

Starting on a budget, this festive season also helps know how to plan for the New Year! Besides, if you are trying to save some money this Christmas, probably it is time to cut on a few luxuries or find some part-time jobs for college students to make quick bucks.

Be Wise with the Gifts

Gifting on Christmas

So, you finally have the budget, which then limits you to what sort of gifts you can purchase for friends, roomies, and anybody else you please. If you are those that believe that you should exclusively be driven by the value of the gift rather than the price, your budget can help change the perspective this season. The truth is that every person appreciates a gift, however small it is. Gifts are a gesture of care and love or appreciation. Therefore, if you are on a student budget, do not use the gifts as a chance of making a statement.

To reiterate, do not fear picking cheap gifts. When selecting a gift, do not attach too much emotion to what the other party would think. If they care enough about your status as a student, they will appreciate anything. Until you get that feeling off your chest, you are likely to overspend on gifts and strain the cash meant for other purposes.

Another option with the gifts is to opt for the sentimental value of the gifts. Some little gifts can be more memorable compared to others. For instance, you can pen a letter from the bottom of your heart and accompany it with a bottle of wine. You have to use your creativity and imagination to achieve the best.

Exploit the Secret Santa Exchange

The pressure during the festivities can be too much. To ease the pressure of gift-giving, you can organize a secret Santa exchange for your friends. So, you will have to invite all your friends to participate in an online free secret Santa generator. With this in place, you will spend a modest amount from your budget on a handful of presents rather than overspending.

If you are wondering what the best present is for Secret Santa, there are a range of gifts you can purchase. They can range from personal items that can easily be transported to friends to electronic devices or cards. If they are friends, you are close to or live with, going for personalized gifts can be a great move! So think of personalized tees, pajamas, notebooks, phone covers, laptop bags, key holders, mugs, plates, bracelets, or even earrings and necklaces.

Keep your Eyes on Student Discounts!

Student Discounts

So, your status as a student is not bad out here, after all. If you are on a tight budget, you can make the most of student discounts. Your student ID will help you get discounted gifts for your family members and friends. Imagine getting 10% or more of many deals from the popular stores, what else could be more appealing for the season of jolly?

Again, this can help you budget some money for some other stuff or save it for the New Year. Even though the margins of the discounts are small, it eventually counts as money you've saved during the Christmas holidays.

You can utilize platforms like UniDAYS, Savethestudent, Studentbeans, and WiseBread.

Use Online Shopping Channels

buy online products

As a student, you understand that e-commerce has proliferated the market space. Therefore, there are many advantages to shopping online. First, you can compare prices and discounts for different products and sellers. Also, you can read reviews from buyers who have experienced the products or services. Unlike the offline shops, there are very high chances of getting free delivery to your door. You can also avoid impulse buying because you are objective about what you are looking for. Then, you can also buy everything online without being shy, unlike offline shops. When you are searching for those gifts online this season, go for items that are not fragile. You can also search the internet for discounts to specific stores online. The online platforms are also safer in terms of payments and checkouts, so boil down your fear and shop online for Christmas.

Sell your old University Text Books and Stuff

There is stuff we always want to hoard. However, they can fetch you some good money. They can be your clothes, your books, your electronics, or even beddings and furniture. There is someone out there who can get it at a price that can raise funds for you. There are many platforms such as eBay or Amazon, where you can sell your products and get buyers from almost everywhere in the world.

Austerity Measures at Parties

During the festive season, you are likely to get invites to many types of parties. It could be a birthday, pre-Christmas day, or Christmas day celebration. Whichever party it is, know that hosting and attending can be expensive. Hosting a Christmas party can be costly given that you need to plan for drinks, food, security, and other logistics.

With a proper budget and austerity measures, you can save some money on the party. Budget for everything in the party, fundraise for the party or cohost the party to save on costs.

With a proper budget as a college student, everything else falls into its place.

Planning how to Purchase Food

The topic of food brings some joy to everyone. Since it is Christmas, everybody gets to eat something sweet for the memories. While you can save pretty much on your groceries, you need some essential tips and tricks:

  1. Take advantage of coupons: even though searching for coupons can be time-consuming, it beats the regret of spending so much, yet there was a better deal. The use of coupons helps save some money that you can direct elsewhere. When shopping for groceries, always pay attention to the stickers. Even though a brand might not be that well known, as long as it is in the shelves, it meets the standards.
  2. Make a pre-purchase price comparison: various factors define the pricing strategy of companies. If you are on a strained student budget and would like to get some food, you can search the internet and offline for pricing differences. There are higher chances that you can get something from a different store at an affordable price. Besides, always ask for student discounts at the stores to save even further. You can use the MySupermarket app to compare prices.
  3. Shop in grocery stores with deals: this is the chance to make use of your school ID. It can save you some dime. While shopping for Christmas foods, it is wise to shop at stores that offer discounts. Always ask the attendants in the stores to be sure so you can tweak your shopping list accordingly.
  4. Stick to your shopping list: sometimes, a visit to the grocery store can send you down the trap of impulse buying. That can make your already strained budget even more strained. Therefore, before heading out to shop, make sure you have a list of what you are going to purchase. If you are shopping together with your roomie or friend, only go for stuff that both of you like. Unilateral purchases equal a waste of money!


Christmas decorations

It is not a dispute that Christmas comes with the feeling when you decorate. Nevertheless, when you are on a student budget, limit your decorations to the most basic and affordable alternatives. You can get glitters, Christmas trees, candles, cards, and other handmade decoration stuff from the budget stores. You can also use DIY decoration strategies, which makes it easy to customize your decoration. You can get creative with cans, bottles, books, and papers that you no longer use.

Travelling Arrangements

If you are heading home to celebrate Christmas with your family at home, consider if traveling would be a better option or staying. Besides, find the cheapest and affordable mode of transport to use. Many people are traveling and so you can get discounts on air tickets. It would be wise to book your air tickets in advance. If that is not the case, take public transport if it is a remote area where you cannot drive. However, if you are driving home, service the car and ensure you have legal documents when traveling. Plan on your fuel based on the average consumption of your vehicle. Also, you can carpool with a friend to save on costs and use the savings to purchase presents for your family.

It is also a great saving strategy as a student to limit travel during the Christmas period. Traveling is quite expensive. Instead, you can leverage technology and frequently communicate with your loved ones. Notable also is the fact that during these periods, trains delay too much, so instead of wasting much time, you can chill and watch Netflix as you unwind the busy semester.

Parting Shot

If you must spend, make sure you evaluate every purchase you make as a student this Christmas. We have shared some useful tips on how to spend Christmas on a student budget. Do not compete with others on extravagance, January is also a money intensive month. As long as it is a gift, it is enough a gesture for friendship, love, and care than nothing. So, do not bother about the costs but the ultimate purpose of gift-giving. Prepare your meals at home and budget for everything to stay within your student budget.