It can be tricky to do Christmas shopping as a student. You want to treat your loved ones and show your appreciation for their support. But you’re getting by on a student loan and whatever part time jobs you might have been able to get!
Here are some great ways to do Christmas shopping for students...
The first thing is to choose a budget. There’s no point in buying a spa day for your bestie then realising that everyone else is getting a selection box. It’s ok to restrict presents to immediate family and close friends, and to stick to token presents. With friends, Secret Santa can help you save cash, and avoids putting people in an awkward financial situation. Resist the urge to splurge using credit cards. It’s just not worth it.
Plan carefully. Write a list of the items you plan to get, with a basic budget per item. Remember to include wrapping paper, cards and postage costs in your plan. Have a look online for any (genuine) printable coupons you can clip out for discounts. See if any free papers - such as Local Choice - are offering any vouchers or discounts. Finally, check your loyalty cards for any points you can spend or special offers you can use.
Shopping in Town
Remember your plan and take sturdy bags with you. You should withdraw cash rather than paying on your card. It will feel more ‘real’ and help you stick to your budget. You can do this throughout the day if you’re concerned about safety. If something is sold out, make sure you buy something similar in price as well as style. It’s worth doing your Christmas shopping a few weeks early so panic buying doesn’t ensue.
You’ll have to be quick on this one, but you can get some great deals online. You can use discount finders, online coupons and comparison sites to chip away at the cost of Christmas gifts. Just make sure that the retailer specifies that they do pre-Christmas delivery. If you’re ordering from somewhere like Argos or M&S it might be better to go for click-and-collect. That’s where you buy online and can pick it up in person from your local store.
Offer Services (or Food)
How many times a year do you help your dad fix his computer? Babysit your younger cousins? Help your housemate with revision? You can offer people printed vouchers as a gift that they can cash in when they need it. Otherwise, if you can bake, then a prettily wrapped gift box filled with truffles (surprisingly easy to make), jam or cookies can be a fantastic present.
If you can’t afford anything at all, you must do Christmas cards. You can get cheap ones at places like the Works or even pound shops. It’s the gesture that counts.