Christmas Budgeting for Students

Days are getting unreasonably short, coursework deadlines are rapidly approaching, and signs of Christmas are appearing everywhere. Time for some Christmas Budgeting for Students.

Piggy Bank

In all the excitement, it can be easy to get carried away and overspend (if you have an overdraft facility or credit card), or to run out of money and spend the last few days (weeks?) of term wondering whether you can supplement your no-food diet with soup made from textbooks.

To help you avert disaster, here are some handy tips and websites:


  • Organise a Secret Santa arrangement with your friends / housemates, with an agreed maximum spend, so no one thinks they should buy individual gifts for everyone. Don’t be afraid of limiting the spend to £1 or £2. With a bit of thought and effort, it’s possible to find great gifts on a small budget.
  • Don’t buy ‘joke’ presents. It’s a waste of money and can backfire and cause disappointment rather than amusement.
  • Have a look around The Works for books, arts and craft materials, DVDs. Check out the weekly specials at Aldi and Lidl. Don’t spurn Poundland / Poundworld / 99p stores either.
  • Make presents yourself – your time is free, and it can be more personal and thoughtful than buying things. Have a look at the DIY gift ideas below.
  • For your family, consider giving them photos (as a calendar, album, or other creative work) – they will love to see what your university life is like (provided you pick the right, family-friendly pictures!)
  • Don’t buy gift vouchers. If the shop goes bust the gift cards become worthless. (If you get gift cards, don’t forget about them / leave them for long).
  • In the run-up to the Christmas break, start using up any cupboard and freezer foods you’ve stored away this term.
  • Organise a student style Christmas meal for yourself and your flatmates before everyone splits up for the Christmas break.
  • If you want to give to charity, you can actually give to charities for free on certain websites – every day of the year.

DIY gifts

  • Secret Compartment Book
  • Fizzy Scented Bath Bombs (perfect if the recipient has a bathtub & you happen to know their favourite scents)
  • Photo gifts – especially useful for your family!
  • Make button canvas art (google for instructions – it’s easy!)
  • If you’re a bit of a whizz in the kitchen and your friends aren’t, and if you have neat handwriting, you can make your own recipe books (just buy an A6 notebook and write down recipes and instructions)

Foodie DIY gifts:

Useful Links

And in January…

Start the new year by making a new budget, taking into account what you’ve learned about yourself in the first term at university!