Being on a student budget can be a challenge but that challenge gets harder when it comes to Christmas time. November/ December tend to be the time you have the least money but need it most. There is nothing better than decorating your room/ flat/ house for Christmas and buying presents that you know your friends and family will love. Here are my ideas of how to cope with Christmas decorating and present buying on a budget.
First, think about who you really want to buy for! This might sound mean but don’t be tempted to buy for every single person you have ever had a conversation with. Not only does this mean you have a lot of presents to buy but also the people you buy for will feel obliged to get you something back making it more expensive for them.
Once you have your list of people to buy for, write a list of what you are going to get each person and where you might get it from. If you go shopping without a list you can end up buying several things for the same person and nothing for someone else but you have spent all your money. When you are shopping for the presents start with the cheaper shops and work up to the more expensive shops because you might just find the same thing in the cheaper shops for a lot less than you might have paid.
Think about making your presents. If money is tight but you are an artist then maybe you can draw something that you know means a lot to the receiver. Or you could put together a baking kit for somewhere where you weigh out all the dry ingredients and put an instruction sheet in. Another idea for flat mates is a gift certificate to do their share of the cleaning for 2 weeks or something similar.
For decorations I always stick to the cheap options and shop for them in B&M, Primark, and Poundworld or Poundland. I mainly do this because I don’t have the money to spend a lot on decorations which will be up for less than a month but also because in student accommodation there is a very real chance that they can get damaged and in the year between having them up the chances are they will get lost or broken. I have recently brought some new decorations because the ones from last year got damaged in the move during the summer. Tinsel is a wonderful way to make your room festive and keep costs low. Another way to avoid overspending is to DIY some decorations. I wanted to make something cheap and unique this year for my flat so I brought some festive string/wool which had little snowballs attached to it and then some mini baubles and hot glued them on.
Finally remember much as a winter wonderland in your flat is lovely, it is likely that you will only have the decorations up and enjoy it for a couple of weeks taking into account spending the Christmas holidays at home.