Christmas on a budget?

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Christmas is a student’s worst nightmare when it comes to money. Budgeting goes out the window after you have presents to buy, social events to go to and of course the Christmas Market. To make this period more bearable, it is all about being tactical so you can enjoy Christmas without the stress of not having money.

 For gifts, why not try making homemade ones? Make a photo album or scrap book with your best memories, or a piece of art - parents love sentimental things. Secret Santa is always an effortless way to save money by cutting down the amount of people you have to buy for and having a set budget. 

Another money saving hack is shopping in Charity shops or second-hand online stores such as Depop and vinted where you can find high quality stuff for more than half the price. Aside buying gifts, Christmas tends to be a very social time of year for catching up with friends and family and going to festive themed events, but it can all be very expensive. Bournemouth offers many cheap nights out such as Halo, where drinks are only £1.50 on Mondays, or Buffalo with £2.50 pints and doubles on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Turtle Bay and Slug & Lettuce also do 2-for-1 Cocktails on selected days.

Last but not least - food. The Christmas market offers a wide variety of festive food; however, it does cost quite a bit of money, so an alternative is just to simply try and make it yourself or buy replicas in supermarkets. Of course, you can treat yourself sometimes, but limit this to once a week if you can. If you are also planning to go out for Christmas Dinner at any point, a cheaper way is just to organise your own with a few friends and split the costs of the food - it’ll be more fun this way too!

For tips on how to budget better, my first suggestion is to set a limit for each category you want to spend money on, such as food, gifts, and social events. By having a set budget, you will be more obliged to stick to it and not be tempted to go over. Another tip to not going overboard on your budget is to buy a money box which cannot be opened. This will be useful if you are planning to do all your Christmas shopping on one day as you can use the money box to add spare money to and smash it open when you’re ready to shop. My last tip is to try and work out exactly what you want to buy and stick to that list. For gifts, it is so easy to go shopping and pick up anything you can when you have left it too late, but this will add up in terms of costs. Knowing what you are going to get someone in advance will help your budgeting as you know you won't go overboard.

In summary, Christmas is an extremely expensive time of year, so I recommend trying these tips if you feel stressed about not having enough to spend. Do remember, however, that overdrafts are temporary, and memories last forever.

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