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Deck the halls with boughs of money

Christmas is near and ‘tis the season to be jolly. Are you planning on splashing out and spoiling your loved ones, or are you so deep into your overdraft that this year your presence is a present?  With Black Friday behind us, the Christmas shopping frenzy is upon us, so how will this year affect your bank balance and what do we really spend our money on…

Every year the average household splashes over £2000 in the run-up to the big day, but is the high street losing out on the money? In the 6 weeks running up to Christmas Eve we will spend £79.7 billion, up 1.2% on last year, but High Street sales are down 2%. The US tradition of ‘Black Friday’ is turning into a week-long event with huge discounts, changing the way Brits are shopping – bagging bargains in November and spending less in December. Household names, such as House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, are fighting to avoid going bust amidst a year of Brexit uncertainty and low consumer spending. Is Christmas the magical wand needed to help these retailers survive?

The average 25th December dinner and drink costs just under £200

So, what are we buying this season and how much will we have to fork out for it? For most students the prospect of going home and having a proper Christmas dinner after months of ‘bung in the oven’ meals is a bright one but, according to Coople and Quidco, the average 25th December dinner and drink costs just under £200. So, it’s less of a surprise that, according to the British Heart Foundation, us Brits gain a collective 8.85 Million Kilograms by New Year’s Day – might lay off the mince pies after hearing that figure.

Then there’s the parties. There’s a reason that Xmas is the party season of the year – with your Christmas balls, Aunt Deborah’s Christmas party, and your boyfriend’s awkward work-do, but how does all this partying affect your pocket? It’s the perfect time to be glam and dress up so we tend to splash out more money on Christmas party outfits, on average spending £60 for the look. Insurance company ‘Back Me Up’ also say that travelling home after the big night will cost us more money than we bargained for, since one in ten of us, one in four if you’re in London, will fall asleep on public transport on our ways home, adding more to the cost of your boogie. Add drinks and you’ve got yourself a very expensive party season.

According to Netmums, the average stocking costs £71 and only rises as the children get older

Now to the most fun, and most expensive part of Christmas: the gifts. The ‘keeping up’ culture that is encouraged by social media is making us spend more and more to treat our loved ones and show our followers how much we really love our friends and family. According to Netmums, the average stocking costs £71 and only rises as the children get older, and that’s not even their main presents. Are we spoiling the ones we love too much or is it just the Christmas spirit to give?

Theses finances seem to make the season of joy rather bleak, but here’s how you can save money and sleigh Christmas:

1. Budget

As students it’s often hard to make a budget and stick to it, but Christmas is the perfect time to hone in your skills. The industry is devoted to making you overspend, and we can’t deny sometimes we are suckers for it, but wait 24 hours before you buy that gift to make sure you really want it and it’s worth your scarce pennies.

2. Go online

Go online and check out different stores to see if you can grab a bargain or find a discount voucher. And don’t forget that precious student discount, arguably the best thing about still being in education in your twenties. Also, check out the website ‘CamelCameCamel’ that tracks Amazon prices so that you get the most bang for your buck.

3. Stretch Christmas

Let’s be honest, Christmas day is only a short 24 hours, but boxing day means SALES! Put off seeing some people until after boxing day and buy some presents in the post-Christmas mayhem. Cheeky, yes, but much better for your wallet.

4. Cashback cards

If you’re intent on spending a lot of money over the Christmas break, then it may be worth investing in a cashback card. You get some money back simply for paying on the card! Who can turn down a deal like that?

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