1. Book your travel in advance
Just last week, most major rail operators put their Christmas advance tickets on sale. According to Trainline, advance tickets will save you an average of 61%. And you can save even more if you have a Railcard or split your ticket. Check out MoneySavingExpert.com’s advice on cheap train travel for more information.
If you’re travelling by coach, book in advance for cheaper fares, and remember you get a 15% student discount with National Express and a 10% student discount with Megabus.
2. Make a Christmas budget
Before you start spending, work out how much cash you have to play with and base your plans around that, not the other way round. Save the Student’s handy budgeting tool can help you get started. If you need extra cash, you might want to explore part time work, or selling old clothes on Vinted or Depop.
3. Try ‘Secret Santa’
An easy way to spend less on presents is to do ‘Secret Santa’ instead. This can be with your family, housemates or co-workers. Put everyone’s name in a hat and ask everyone to pull one out (or use an online Secret Santa generator). People only buy a gift for the person they draw, and you can agree a spending limit with your group.
4. Give the gift of time
You don’t have to spend loads of money on presents; why not gift your friends or family with an experience, or your time? You can use Money Saving Expert’s free Christmas gift cheques to pledge to do something nice, rather than spending money on presents.
5. Buy second hand clothes
You can save money and be more sustainable by buying second hand clothes as gifts. There’s loads of great charity shops in Manchester, including some very close to campus. And there are some incredible deals you can get delivered to your door on Vinted. Check out our article on staying stylish on a student budget for more information.
6. Take inspiration from these ‘festive fivers’
If you’re struggling for cheap present inspiration, check out Money Saving Expert’s ‘festive fivers’, which lists lots of gifts that cost £5 or less.
7. Make use of your student discount
Your student card is an extra tool to help you avoid breaking the bank this Christmas. Use it when planning your budget. You could try to only get gifts from stores that offer a discount, or if you have a specific item in mind, shop around to see if you can get 10% of 20% off. A little discount goes a long way!
8. If you’re shopping on Amazon, use their warehouse
If you were planning on buying gifts through Amazon, check if they’re cheaper in the Amazon Warehouse. The Warehouse offers discounts on thousands of products that are “like new, open-box or pre-owned”. And you can get an extra 20% student discount.
9. Don’t go mad in the sales
Discounted items in the boxing day or January sales can be tempting. But before making any purchases, ask yourself – was I going to buy this anyway? If so, go ahead. If not, maybe consider whether you really need to spend in the sales.
10. Reach out if you’re in financial difficulty
If you’re struggling, get in touch with us. Our Cost of Living support doesn’t stop with our one-off payment to students. We also have a support fund that gives non-repayable grants between £250 to £2,000 (depending on your circumstances), an Emergency Loan scheme through the Students’ Union and mental health and wellbeing support if you need some extra help.