It’s late November with Black Friday just around the corner. The malls are packed to the brim with frantic parents and grandparents ready to open their wallets to buy gifts during the last home stretch of the holidays for their loved ones. Among them, a young woman walks into a store to gather a few things for her girlfriends, only to check her bank account on her phone, hang her head and slowly put the items back. If she buys these gifts now, she won’t have gas money to get to school the next week.
This is the reality for a lot of college students. After the cost of units, books, gas, food and probably a lot of coffee, there isn’t always much money left to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Here’s a list of money-saving tips that will help make the season of giving a lot more generous.
1. Create a budget and stick to it – Making a budget can be simple but making sure to be strict about it can get difficult. Setting a certain amount to spend per person is sometimes better than having a general number to spend as a whole. Make sure that if the budget per person is $10, it doesn’t turn into $11 or $12 because that can add up quickly. Set limits and stay with them.
2. Set a spending limit amongst friends – Along with creating a specific budget per person, talk with friends and have everyone agree to a certain spending cap. This way, no one feels bad when a friend gets you a nicer gift than you gave them. This gift-giving process is guilt free!
3. Save loose change throughout the year – Hear that sound? Those aren’t sleigh bells, it’s change! Right after the holidays, put any loose change into a jar for the next year. Name it “The Holiday Fund” and watch it slowly fill up month by month. If done right, the change jar should be the perfect instrument for the Christmas caroler’s rendition of “Jingle Bells.”
4. Online shop – Most of the time, online shopping can save a lot of money with numerous Online sales and sites like Amazon that offer free shipping through Amazon Prime. This way, time and gas money are saved browsing Online instead of driving around store-to-store searching for the perfect gifts.
5. Make homemade gifts – For all of the creative people out there (looking at you Fine Arts majors), nothing says, “I put thought into this” more than a homemade gift. Buying materials to make friends and family personalized gifts can save up to $50 depending on the craft.
6. Agree to not give gifts – If worse comes to worst, instead of giving gifts, set up a day with friends close to the holiday being celebrated to just enjoy each other’s company. Have everyone bring over food or things to make a dish, listen to music and watch a movie. This way, money isn’t an issue with anyone and the day becomes what the holidays are all about, spending time with loved ones and being happy.
Following these tips can help you have a fun-filled and joyous holiday season, without the plummeting bank account. Cheers to that!