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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

5 Ways to Make your Cash Last over Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and doesn’t your wallet know it! The festive season is the most expensive time of the year- presents to buy, food to get- not to mention the practicalities of the cold weather like a heating bill gone through the roof! Here are some handy tips from The Graduate Recruitment Bureau on how to keep an eye on the pennies over the holiday season.
1) Buy a jumper. Or two.
It can be a nasty shock when your heating bill for December comes through! Whilst it would be silly to not put on your heating in the middle of winter there are ways to cut down the bill. Dig out the jumpers, blankets, thermals…anything warm, then layer up when you’re inside! Don’t have the heating up quite so high and just put on an extra layer. A few degrees might not seem like much but it will make a difference over the 12 weeks of constant heating that is needed in winter!
2) Do overtime
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone. The chances are that if you have a job, whether it is in a shop, restaurant or office, they will need people to put in extra hours over the holidays. Sign up for some extra shifts to get some more money and use the busy-ness to your advantage. It might be annoying when all of your friends are out partying and you are stuck at work but just think how much better off you will be in the New Year!
3) Bring a little mystery to Christmas…
Is it really necessary that you get all your friends a present this year? A sneaky way to still indulge in some festive spirit without it rendering you bankrupt is to do Secret Santa. Everyone has an allocated person to buy a gift for and a reasonable budget is set. That way you only have to buy one person a present but nobody gets left out! There is also the added element of excitement of who has who…
4) Hand- make your gifts!
There are some groups of people that Secret Santa won’t cut it for- like family. In this case why not give personal presents this year and hand- make them? It doesn’t matter if you aren’t the most creative person; people will be touched that you have put time and effort into the present. It doesn’t have to be a naff, paper mach├ęd figurine- think carefully about what each family member likes and could use. For example a hand painted mug, knitted scarf or personal bracelet.
5) Utilise your student discounts
There is no point being a student if you are not going to take advantage of your student discounts! Be wise with where you shop- go to shops that offer the best discount and buy your food and presents from there. Also, around Christmas voucher websites go crazy- check out the latest online offers or deals which could be useful presents or money savers.

Christmas Costs the Average Student £161

Students at university are planning to spend an average total of £161 on Christmas this year according to a recent survey by student money site savethestudent.org.

This is less than one-third of the national consumer average, as found by a poll for the Money Advice Service last month.

Still, 8 out of 10 students surveyed said they struggle to find the money but feel pushed to spend more than they can really afford during the festive period.

The typical student plans to buy gifts for 6 people, totaling an average of £108. 1 in 5 think they’ll spend over £200 on others, with 70% being spent on family members and the remainder on friends.

There is also a clear divide between the sexes. Female students tend to buy more presents for friends and spend 25% more than their male counterparts.

One female respondent is gearing up to spend a total of £400 on Christmas presents this year, £160 of that being on other students.

The seasonal spending doesn't stop there. Students are set to loosen their purse strings by an additional £53, putting £8.50 towards group Christmas dinners and the rest mostly on alcohol, decorations and travel. Less than half of students said that they budget for Christmas, with a quarter admitting to receiving additional money from parents.

Save the Student editor Jake Butler observed: “it’s not much of a surprise that students find money hard to come by at this time of year and more so than the general population. Student loans are running dry at a time when students feel the pressure to buy presents and attend countless Christmas parties.

Money saving ideas such as Secret Santa, joint Christmas dinners and homemade decorations are just a few of the ways that students have been resourceful this year in curbing overspending around the festive period. As always, I would encourage students to think carefully before spending large amounts of money, without being too much of a Scrooge!”.

Save the Student surveyed 810 current university students in December 2012.