Christmas Gifts/ Pexels
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Managing a budget during Christmas

As I’ve grown older, each Christmas season has caused more stress due to me becoming more financially independent and meeting more people I have to factor into my Christmas gifts and events budget. In my case, I have a lot of relatives to buy presents for and plan events with. There’s exchanging gifts among friends, and now there’s my partner and his family to think about, too. Then there are also birthdays surrounding the Christmas holidays to contend with. The point is that the hustle and bustle of the festive season comes with many considerations and can be exhausting. 

The festive season can be extra stressful when you are living away at university. Besides having to plan out when to find the time to buy gifts among all of those deadlines you have, and trying to coordinate going out for Christmas dinner with friends (because Christmas pub dinners are hard to find at a reasonable price), there’s the matter of figuring out a budget that works with your loan or any wages you’ve managed to scrape together. All of this is without accounting for the constant rise in expenses due to rising prices of groceries, transport, and rent. For many of us, it’s overwhelming trying to find the time and the mental capacity to plan this all out, and morale at this time of year is particularly low when we hardly have any daylight.

Here are my tips and tricks for managing your budget during Christmas. They’re not perfect by any means, and I am still trying to implement these tips to make my own life easier. 

1. Agree in advance who you’re exchanging gifts with
You’ll likely find that gifts are a much lower priority for some friends who value spending time with you. Deciding who you will be exchanging gifts with saves some of the aforementioned stress and prevents having a long list of potential gift receivers. You know exactly where your money is going and who will be reciprocating.

2. Sign up for Secret Santa
Whether for a close-knit group or many people, Secret Santa is an excellent way of ensuring everyone buys and receives a present without worrying about a big budget. However, I have realised that it’s always good to expect the unexpected with Secret Santa. The responsibility of maintaining secrecy and organising the gift exchange often falls on one person. 

3. Factor in birthdays
Within two weeks of Christmas, I have the birthdays of most of my immediate family, my partner, and a close friend. Obviously, Capricorns deserve the same love and care as your non-birthday/Christmas loved ones. It is important to factor all these special occasions into your December budget.

4. Consider student discounts and Black Friday deals
Student discounts and other deals earlier in the year are a great way to stretch your budget, especially for gift-giving during the festive season. For your bookish friends, watch out for the double stamps on your Waterstones loyalty card. 

5. Buy in advance
Making purchases in advance makes it less overwhelming and helps spread savings. I think it’s helpful to keep an eye out for anything that catches the attention of people close to me throughout the year to make it easier during the festive season. 

6. Be cautious of Christmas markets
As much as I love many of the food and crafts that the Christmas market stalls offer, I have ended up being disillusioned whenever I attend Manchester’s Christmas markets. There are too many people crowding around to navigate easily, and the stalls (particularly the food) are expensive. I try to steer towards participating in non-seasonal activities with friends, opting to prioritise catching up with them after coming home from university.

I hope these tips motivate you to stick to your budget! What are your tips and tricks for managing your budget during the festive season? Comment down below. I personally love to hear other people’s advice. In the spirit of Christmas, it’s important to support each other.


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