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Survive Christmas on a Student Budget

Christmas is undoubtedly the most wonderful time of the year. Home Alone is on the telly. Christmas classics are playing everywhere you go. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be a white Christmas. You’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends, eating way too much food, and maybe struggling to find your way home after a winter warmer in the pub.

It’s a time of the year that hits in all the right places, but the last place you want it to hit hard is your bank balance. It’s all too easy to get in the habit of spending huge amounts of money on presents for your loved ones, getting the fanciest decorations, and all of the tastiest of food. With things getting a little spenny these days, we put together a little guide on how to enjoy a Christmas you’ve always dreamed of, without the money ‘mare.


Christmas Gifts on a Budget

We can appreciate money is tight, but if you do want to give people more than the gift of Christmas spirit itself, we have a few ideas to give help you give people a treat without crippling your bank balance.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a great way for all your friends and flatmates to get together and enjoy your presents together. The great news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune on everyone in your group. You all put your name in a hat, and each draw one name out at random. This is the person you’re getting a present for. But keep this name secret, nobody can find out. Set yourselves an affordable budget, and have fun. Buy funny presents, meaningful ones, whatever you feel like. It’s all about having a laugh and a good time with your friends at Christmas. When you have your get together and open the presents, you all have to guess who it was that got you your present, and figure out who was your Secret Santa.

Christmas Hampers

Christmas hampers are also a great way to give your loved ones or closest friends a super fun time opening lots of presents, without breaking the bank. Set both yourselves a budget, and then get as many presents as you can, big or small, within that budget. The more the merrier with this one, so be creative. Fill a box or a gift bag full, and give a lovely big bumper Christmas gift.

Buy Pre Loved Grail Finds

Scouring the internet for second hand items is a brilliant way to find truly unique gifts, without spending the price tag on something new. Try websites & apps like Depop or Ebay. You can find all sorts of gifts, from vintage clothing and accessories, old school polaroid cameras, super high quality vintage jewellery, and homeware, you never know what you might find. Also check your local deals on Facebook Marketplace, there is always someone looking to get rid of something before Christmas, and local deals are ideal to pick something up super quick. Buying pre loved gives you the bonus that you’ll find something that nobody will be able to find elsewhere.

Make Use of Student Discounts This Christmas

When buying your presents this Crimbo, don’t forget to make use of your Student Discounts anywhere you can. Check out Student Discount Hub and grab discounts at all your favourite stores, some of them giving up to 40% off! With such good deals to be had on the run up to the 25th, it would be rude not to really.

Buy A Little Less Gifts

Gifts for all your loved ones is undoubtedly going to be where you’ll spend the most this Christmas. Many people are in the frame of mind that you can save a lot of money by cutting back on your gift giving. Have a think about it. If money is really tight this year, it might be worth cutting back. Your loved ones who you care about will totally understand, it’s really no biggie.


Christmas Experiences 

Cutting back on gifts, doesn’t mean Christmas can’t be fun. You can still get together, and enjoy experiences together. Head on down to your local Christmas markets for a mulled wine with your pals. Get the ice skates on. Put together a group Christmas Dinner and split the cost. There’s so much to do that can make your Christmas more memorable.

Christmas Movie Nights

Get yourselves locked in to Christmas movie nights. Everyone loves a Christmas classic. Get the blankets out, find someone with a big screen, or even better, a projector, and set up your own home cinema for a cosy night in. Get yourselves on the heart warmers like Elf or the Grinch. A tear jerker like The Holiday, or action thrillers like Die Hard. There’s millions to choose from, so we won’t get stuck into it, we’ll let you fight over that one yourselves.

Christmas Pub Quiz

If you love a Pub Quiz, Christmas is the ideal time for you to get in the Christmas spirit, and embarrass everyone else with how intelligent you are… Or embarrass yourself with your general knowledge failures.


Save Money on Christmas Food

Christmas Feast With Flatmates

Christmas Dinners and get togethers are a must, and they don’t have to break the bank. Get a load of you together, and if everyone chips in and brings one item each, or split the entire shopping bill, you’ll get so much more for your money, and have one to remember. Time this up with your Secret Santa gift giving, and you’ll have one to remember.

Head on down to your local Aldi or Lidl for some really high quality finds for less. Love a Christmas Pud? Check out the luxury selection to get a super tasty treat, for a less than luxury price. Check out our other ways to save money on your food, check out our Budget Friendly Student Food Guide.

Save Money Eating Out at Christmas

You’ll get a lot of invites to eat out over Christmas, and that’s brill! But before you choose a place to go, check out any deals in the area, especially for group bookings. Plenty of restaurants offer student deals with huge discounts, check out our Restaurant Student Discount Hub and get your fav foods for less. If you’re back home and there aren’t any national restaurants in the area, Groupon might be worth a check for some more of those local deal finds. Then when you’re out, see if you can split starters or sides with a friend. Get a feast, split it between the group, and you’ll eat like a King or Queen while keeping the cost down.

Make Use of Christmas Leftovers

Have a few Christmas leftover recipes ready for when you can’t quite finish the big Christmas dinner goodies. Cook up a curry, a stew, or bang the leftovers in your sandwiches to have a lunch time of golden standards that’ll make anyone jealous. The opportunities are endless.


Budget Friendly Christmas Decorations

Budget Christmas Wreath

Get your wellies on, it’s time to go foraging your local parks or woodland for everything you need to make Christmas a little more cosy. Look out for holly, pine tree snippets, pine cones, herbs, sprigs and twigs, before getting home to twist and turn them into something to be proud of. It’s a budget way to make your home that much more Christmassy. And it’s free!

Foraging for Festive Feelings

So we know you can make a wreath from foraged trinkets, but you can go so much further. You can make your home beautifully Christmassy by placing foliage in vases, on garlands, or on your dining table. Snippets from pine trees and pine cones, mixed with holly berries make everything so much more cosy. Wander around, have fun, and be creative!

Budget Friendly Christmas Trees

Budget supermarkets like Aldi & Lidl, or Homebase & B&Q always have Christmas Trees available super affordably. If you can hold out a little bit longer, the closer it gets to Christmas, real trees get significantly reduced as places try want them gone to save waste, so you can pick up a real tree at an absolute bargain!

Christmas Fairy Lights

Everyone loves fairy lights. There’s no better time than at Christmas to get them all set up. Hang them around your picture rails, or lay them around your Christmas tree, or any sort of indoor plant you have. Who says you can’t have a Christmas Cheese Plant eh? Try this Fair Lights String we found on Amazon, or maybe get yourself a Fairy Light Waterfall to cover your wall with good vibes only!


More Advice on Student Life

We hope this has helped you! If you’re looking for more advice and information on how to make the most of your time at University, check out our Uni Life Advice Hub!