Find ways to economize when you are on a limited budget
Living on a student budget can be tricky during the holiday season. You might want to buy gifts for friends and family members, and you might want to attend holiday get-togethers with friends. These things can add up quickly and put a pinch on your wallet. Here are some tips to help you hold back on your spending during the holidays.
1. Look for sales and coupons
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good days to save money on gifts, and there may be other sales and coupons too. But beware—make sure the discounted price truly is a good price before you buy something. And make sure you aren’t paying too much for shipping. Also, don’t fall into the trap of buying something just because it is on sale. Make sure it is something that you planned on purchasing anyway.
2. Try not to buy anything with your credit card
Credit card spending can go through the roof over the holiday season. To avoid getting yourself into credit card debt when January rolls around, try to limit yourself to paying in cash or by debit card.
3. Give homemade gifts
Homemade gifts can be less expensive than store-bought gifts, and can also be more meaningful. Something as simple as baking cookies can be truly appreciated by your friends and family. Check Pinterest for creative ideas, such as upcycling old picture frames or using greens to make your own holiday wreaths.
4. Hold a Secret Santa gift exchange
Rather than buying gifts for every family member, hold a Secret Santa instead. In a Secret Santa gift exchange, everyone puts their name and wish list in a bag. Each person draws one name and is responsible for purchasing that person a gift anonymously. This way you only have to buy one gift. Keeping it anonymous adds a fun element to the giving.
5. Re-use holiday gift bags
Holiday gift bags are a quick and easy way to wrap presents. Be sure to save any that you receive so that you can re-use them next year. This is good for the environment and good for your pocketbook.
6. Stay away from holiday parties at restaurants
Having holiday parties with friends can be a great way to enjoy the holiday season. If you are on a budget, avoid the parties that are held at bar/restaurants. Alcoholic drinks can get expensive quickly! Instead, try meeting friends for a coffee instead. Better yet, arrange a get-together that doesn’t cost anything, like having friends over to watch a holiday movie together or doing a fun physical activity like a kickball or a touch football game.
7. Look for help if needed
If you are having trouble making ends meet and are concerned that you won’t be able to put food on the table or purchase gifts for your children, there may be help available. You can sign up for a Toys for Tots gift for your children. Or you can contact a food bank to see if you are eligible for free or low cost food items over the holiday season. Once you get on your feet and settled in a career path, you can pay back the favor by donating items to these organizations.
We hope these 7 tips have helped you see how you can make it through the holiday season on a student budget. Here’s wishing you a happy and safe holiday!