How to have Christmas on a Student Budget

I know I don't write these post really regularly which is why it's been two months since I wrote my last one but they usually end up been quite long so I don't want to bore anyone! If you're new to these posts they're basically money saving tips aimed predominantly at students or anyone looking to save a bit of money. I like to try and include everyone which is why these posts usually do include general money saving tips but I'm afraid this one is much more geared towards students due to the use of student discounts, there are a couple of general tips though. Anyway I'll get on with it.

How To Do Your Christmas Shopping On A Student Budget

So as the title suggest I'm going to be offering a little guidance on how to buy presents on a student budget. When I moved to uni at the end of September 2010 I was already thinking about Christmas presents and I really didn't think I would be able to afford anything but there are means and ways of doing it even if you don't have a job. Basically I've never had a job whilst at uni and the money I have between my first loan in October and my second loan in January has always been  a smaller amount than what I have from January to Easter and from Easter over the summer this is because of how my accommodation fee's are worked out meaning I pay a large amount of money for my accommodation in this time period. So for three years in this time period I've lived on a very small amount of money but still managed to buy Christmas presents for everyone which is amazing as I'm buying for 9 people this year! So here are some tips on how to do this:
  1. Save, save, save. Ok I know this one is perhaps a little too late now but hey you'll remember it next year! Seriously though if you have lots of people to buy for the most important thing to do is save. I consider myself quite sensible with money and I know exactly what I'm getting and when and how much I have a week to live on so I know I need to start saving in advance for Christmas. Chances are you'll move back  home over summer so you'll be spending a lot less money so save it all up for Christmas.
  2. Most students have to pay some sort of damage deposit for their accommodation at the start of the rental period, you usually get this back when you move out. You've not missed the damage deposit all those months so don't fritter it away put it away and save it to buy presents. I don't get my damage deposit back until October (this is my third year living in the same accommodation so I just get in back when I move back) so recently I got a nice little bonus of £120 back, as easy as it is to think 'oh I'll just pop out shopping now' I felt much better setting aside for Christmas presents knowing that I could buy lovely things for my family.
  3. Take full advantage of your NUS card. You can get discounts on many presents online using your NUS. For example, Asos offer students 10% off everything as well as clothing they sell beauty, jewellery and other Christmas gifts for men and women, also Amazon offer students 5% off books, music, groceries, jewellery and watches, health and beauty, kitchen and home and 10% off clothing (you can only get the discount on the categories mentioned), you need to redeem the promotional code from the NUS website then enter it at the checkout on Amazon. 
  4. Ebay is your best friend. A lot of stuff can be found on Ebay for a lot cheaper so it's really worth shopping around on there. I always buy from sellers in the UK to ensure the item is delivered but if you like to buy from abroad that's fine. A lot of popular items can be found brand new on Ebay but be careful because they are often on bids not buy it now as the sellers know they can get a lot of money for popular items meaning they often end up selling for a lot higher than the RRP or for a lot higher than what they would be on somewhere like Amazon so have a price in mind before you start bidding and don't get caught up in the moment. Another top tip is don't put a bid on until the last few seconds as you'll have more chance of winning, putting a bid on a lot earlier will drive the price up quicker. There are definitely bargains to be found though.
  5. Buy as much as you can online, I can't tell you how much money this will save you. For the sake of this blog post (and to prove that Amazon really is one of the best places to shop) and to prove how much you can save I'll tell you that I currently have £119.68 worth of presents in my Amazon basket this is without the 5% discount  I told you about as I haven't added it yet and with the free delivery option. I looked around and found prices of all the products in my basket in various other shops and the total comes to a huge £157.92 so that is a saving of £38.24 and the saving will be even bigger when I add the 5% discount. Wow.
  6. Finally don't stress out if you can't afford the biggest and most expensive gifts while you're at uni, no one expects this. People know you're living on a small budget and to be honest your family will just be glad to have you home for Christmas, just make sure you write them a nice card!
So they are my tips for affording Christmas presents on a student budget. I know a lot of them such as the saving up money require a lot of forward planning but there's still some stuff here you can put into action now. 
Do you have any tips for Christmas shopping on a budget? Let me know!

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