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The easiest way to afford Christmas without using your overdraft is to have a budget and stick to it. You need to be realistic about how much money you have and remember that students typically struggle financially so no one will complain about how much you spend – it’s the thought that counts. There’s no point in overspending around Christmas, all it does is make January harder.

Seasonal Work

If you really need money over the festive period, then temporary work could be the answer. Retailers, pubs and restaurants are always advertising for extra staff around Christmas. You might even be kept on after Christmas if this is something you have time for and would like to do. Just remember to save time for university work and have fun with friends and family.


Decorating your home is one of the many joys of Christmas but you never realise just how expensive it can be until you do it as a student. Second-hand decorations are an excellent way to keep the costs low.  Try asking friends and family if they know anyone who would be willing to sell some decorations – don’t worry if nothing matches! Another option is to make them yourself. This is a great way to spend time with housemates without spending a load of money. It also gets you in the Christmas spirit if you find you aren’t already.


One of the easiest ways to keep costs low in terms of present giving is by running a Secret Santa with a small budget as a method of sharing gifts amongst large groups. There is also the option of clubbing together to give larger gifts from multiple people.

Planning ahead with present buying is essential if you’re trying to save money, you could aim to buy gifts in Black Friday sales or when you have vouchers. Buying them early when you probably have more money is another method if you can be organised enough to do so.

It may also be wise to ask for practical gifts which means you have nothing essential to buy in the New Year which you’d have to budget for ahead of Christmas. I remember asking for a toaster which was one less thing I had to buy for myself!


Creating your own Christmas dinner with housemates is a great way to spend time together whilst saving money. Having everyone bring one dish avoids the expensive food shop and saves time whilst reducing the stress. A top tip would be to shop at discount stores like Aldi and Lidl and look for alternatives. Chicken is a great stand in for Turkey which tends to become more expensive around the festive period. Remember that more people = lower costs for everyone.


The best way to cut costs at Christmas is to remember what its really about – spending quality time with friends and family. There is no competition about being the most extravagant or spending the most money.

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