Saving money as a student over the festive season
22 November 2023
This piece was written by BA(Hons) Graphic Design student Daisy Cunningham about their experiences of budgeting during the festive season.
Saving money as a student can be a struggle, especially over the festive season. With gifts to buy, hot chocolates to be drunk and Christmas markets to visit, it can feel like money’s just disappearing from your bank account. But here are some of my top tips to help during this time:
1. Cook and freeze meals
One of the best ways to save money is to organise yourself food-wise. Do a weekly food shop and plan meals that can be made and saved for the week ahead. In these colder months it can be especially tempting to just order takeaway rather than cook. While this is great occasionally (always remember to treat yourself!) in my opinion this is one of the main culprits in over-spending. So, by having meals prepared you can just chuck one in the microwave and it's done!
2. Handmade gifts
Buying Christmas presents for everyone can really add up, and even make Christmas feel stressful when it's meant to be a time to relax and enjoy. So why not try making some gifts yourself! From crochet to artwork, cooking to photography, there are loads of things you can make for those close to you, and I’m sure it’ll mean more to them to have a handmade, personal gift. This can also be a great way of showing off your amazing uni work. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have your own creations displayed in the real world. If you feel like you're not creative enough for this then try making something simple, like putting together a photo album.
3. Get selling!
It’s a great time to sell online as everyone wants to buy presents, whether this is simply putting your clothes on a resale site like Vinted, Depop or eBay or selling your own creations, now is the time to start! This is also beneficial in many other ways: it discourages fast fashion and instead encourages people to shop second hand. And it's also great to have a clear out ahead of the new year.
If you’re making items or art, Etsy is also a great way to get your work out there, so why not set up a page and list your creations or start a Redbubble account and add some designs on there. If you're looking for a sign, this is it!
4. Budget and keep track of your expenses
It can be so easy to lose track of what you're spending and go into your next few months' budget without realising, so by keeping track and sticking to a budget this stress is significantly reduced.
However don’t be too strict with yourself. I find that if I try to stick exactly to my budget it can lead to me thinking about money all the time and becoming totally overwhelmed by it, but having a general idea of how much you can afford to spend each week and make sure you’re not over-spending too much can be extremely helpful.
I hope this helped! Most importantly remember to make sure you enjoy this time! The festive period is a great time of the year. Too many people see Christmas as a time when you have to spend loads of money, but you really don’t have to! It’s more important to spend time with your loved ones and relax.