Christmas Presents on a Student Budget

I’m sorry, the old Santa can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because he’s broke.

We all know the feeling. The September student loan has nearly been depleted. The Black Friday offers seemed to have everything you had been holding out to buy. The money from the part-time job has mysteriously been spent on food (and maybe alcohol depending on how your month has been). With Christmas looming, here are a few tips on how to make your money stretch until you can resume your normal programming of destitution in the new year.

  1. Keep it a secret, Santa, they’ll never know.

The festive gift scheme of Secret Santa is great for friendship groups and flatmates, giving you the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone (or five or seven or ten birds depending on how many people tolerate your existence). Usually everyone sets a budget, so as long as you’ve got the receipts, you can nicely eliminate a large group of people. Even better, if everyone keeps tight lipped you might get away with going underbudget.

  1. I could get that for cheaper on eBay.

I recently discovered the joys if eBay when searching for my brother’s Christmas present. If you can get inventive with what you’re looking for, and the recipient doesn’t mind something second hand, eBay is great for some rock bottom prices. Even better, you can discover the thrill of getting into a bid war 10 seconds before your item is about to go. Exciting!

  1. Here’s one I made earlier.

If you’re feeling arty, and you seriously have run out of money, it might be time to create something from scratch and assure the recipient it was made with love and thought. There are countless Christmas themed YouTube tutorials if you’re lacking ideas. If you have the capability, a framed drawing or painting could go down a treat if you’re good enough. Keep it classy though: no-one wants to receive a spatula made from a tin can.

  1. Planning is everything.

It’s well known that after black Friday, supermarkets will hike up their prices in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This means it might be a good idea to get your Christmas gifts while prices are still cheap, even if it does mean stockpiling presents like there is an impending Christmas-based apocalypse.

  1. Christmas is postponed this year.

Similar to the last point, retailers will drastically reduce the prices of Christmas gifts and specialty merchandise in the weeks after Christmas, so if you manage to see relatives and friends late, you might want to consider leaving your shopping beyond the last minute.

  1. Upmarket regifting.

Nothing is quite like the feeling of forgetting someone’s birthday and seriously considering finding something you own as a gift. Well, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. Say if you’re friend borrowed a top and struggled giving it back because they liked it so much. Surprise them and bestow them with a gift you know for a fact that they will like. It shows thought, and if you write them a nice card, can show them you care, especially if it was expensive. The only problem is now you need a new top.

Hopefully this has given you a few ideas for that special gift this year. As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts, a phrase that quickly becomes useful when shopping on a. budget.  And, if worst comes to worst and that someone special doesn’t appreciate your gift, leave them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life anyway.

~ George Eldridge 

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