When Andy Williams sang ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’, he forgot to add it can also be the most expensive. Lynne Condell, Student Finance Manager, shares her top money-saving tips on how to enjoy Christmas on a shoestring.
Here’s how to save this Christmas without looking like Scrooge:
- Buying a gift for every one of your friends can add up. Instead, suggest a Secret Santa with your friendship group. Make sure you all agree to limit the budget to £5 or, even better, do a pound shop pressie challenge
- Make as many presents as possible. Homemade sweets and biscuits always go down a treat and aren’t too expensive to make. If you’re not feeling crafty, put together a food hamper with your recipients’ favourite things
- Instead of buying presents, offer to gift your time instead. Your grandma may love you to take her out for the day or your sister may appreciate the offer to babysit your nieces
- Don’t forget to look in charity shops for books or records. You can often find vintage gifts at a discount. It’s also a great way to be green at Christmas
- If you’re shopping on the high street, check to see what shops accept the NUS student discount card
- Follow LJMU Student Opportunities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@LJMUstudentopps) to be the first to find out about festive things to do at discounted rates for LJMU students
- Before you head out on your shopping trip, write a list of food and gifts and stick to it – remember it’s just one day of the year
- Keep track of your spending by using cash instead of credit cards. Remember to avoid using a cash point when you’re alone and don’t carry large amounts of cash around with you
- If you have unused items try a swapping network like Freecycle – if you want something different to wear try arranging a clothes swap in your flat or halls
- Don’t forget that you still have to pay your regular bills such as rent, utilities, credit cards, etc.
- Be honest – tell people you aren’t buying expensive presents this year. You’ll be surprised by how relieved everyone is. Christmas is not about how much you spend
For more tips on how to manage your bank balance, check out our money matters section.