If you are like me, you love Christmas but loath the pressures of a student budget to cover the lavish gifts that you wish to buy to spoil your friends and family.
Last Christmas I (pretty successfully) bought all the presents I wanted for everyone and kept within a reasonably tight budget. I mentioned this in a post or two a while ago and many of you guys were interested to see how I did it and any tips I had for other people find Christmas a real attack on the bank balance rather than any fun. So without further ado…
Where you Shop
- If you shop in department stores like Debenhams and are interested in a Burton item, check their website for any offers they have on & they often provide free delivery to store.
- Books. People frequently covet a book or two for Christmas and the only problem is that Waterstones and other book shops often charge a small fortune. Check out Wordery or Book Depository for cheap deals with free shipping.
- Avoid websites like Notonthehighstreet. I constantly see people raving about it but honestly, if you search eBay you can find the same things for half the price. They had engraved shot glasses on there for £15 once, and I picked one up for £8 on eBay instead.
- Poundland is fantastic for sweet treat stocking fillers!
When you Shop
- As much as this is easier said than done, always think about Christmas gift ideas. It doesn’t matter if it is February, April or June. Don’t wait until November and December to start buying presents. When you start early, you spread out the costs a massive amount which is much nicer then everyone’s presents coming out of one month’s salary. Also – prices generally creep up in the few months before Christmas so it is just better to grab it early on!
- Time it around sales. Black Friday recently started appearing in the UK and electrical presents especially are massively discounted around this time. There are also mid-season sales around September and October in many clothes stores, giving you ample opportunity to pick up those slippers your sister loves for half the price.
- If you are going to be a last minute shopper – many sales now start on Christmas Eve… It just isn’t something I totally recommend!
How you Shop
- Shop around. Many people trust Amazon for DVDs and the reliability of Amazon Prime but just Google what you’re looking for and it will pop up £3 cheaper in TESCO, for example.
- Lists, lists and more lists. By the time we reach December, I update my list every week on what I need to buy, how much it is and what I have already bought. This prevents panic buying when you forget what it is they wanted, you buy way too much for someone, or pay more than you wanted for a particular item.
- Check out price matches. John Lewis, TESCO and Currys frequently offer this. If you Google the item and find it cheaper elsewhere, it is worth querying to get the best deal.
- Use student discount, cashback, discount codes, anything! You will get tonnes of emails this time of year of companies desperate for you to buy from them. A quick Google search often picks up on any offers that aren’t being shared on their website and Quidco is great for getting cash back when ordering lots of presents online.
What you Shop For
- Can you make a gift yourself? DIY presents can sometimes be the most thoughtful. I recently took up cross-stitching and I made my mum a black cat for her birthday. You can buy pre-made kits for as little as £4.99 and they make a very sweet present for a parent or grandparent, for example. I have also made canvases this year for people – inspired by the Scrabble ones on Pinterest (here)
- If you can bake, sweet treats are perfect gifts. My friend once made me a selection of different flavoured brownies and they were amazing and I had great fun guessing which was which.
- There are some people in life that are very hard to buy for. I often keep a note on my phone throughout the year for people like this. Whenever they mention something in conversation that they’re interested in getting (e.g. a book, film etc.) write it down so you are ahead of the game on Christmas. People also love it when you remember what they have said!
I hope this helped a little bit with budgeting around Christmas!
What are your top tips?