Stephanie Parrott shares her 5 top tips on how to buy your Christmas presents this year on a student budget…..
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. December has begun, the student budget is, as usual, suffering and along with Christmas dinners, parties and the all-important socials… this month you also have to fund Christmas presents (oh dear). We all know that it’s literally the best feeling when you see someone open a present that you got them with sheer delight on their face and feeling so thankful that you spent all those hours stressing trying to remember what they like and to know that this year, you got it so right.
So with limited student funds in our pocket and a trusty student card in our hand, how do you find a gift that’s actually worth giving this Christmas, while on a very tight budget?
It’s actually quite simple…
- Secret Santa
This hilarious, festive game could be your sneaky way into only buying one present for your friends this Christmas. It’s easy enough and coincidently, the lower the budget, the more fun the game becomes! With a group of friends all writing their name on a piece of paper and dropping it into a bag of some sort, everyone takes it in turns to pick a name out, and this is who they are ‘Secret Santa’ for. Then, within the budget (normally something around the £5-10 marker), a present is bought by each Secret Santa for his or her selected person and given to them anonymously on a selected day. Everyone then opens their present in turn, attempting to guess who their Secret Santa is as they do. Silly / joke presents turn it into a funny guessing game, with hilarious surprises, lots of laughs, and a very small dent in the bank!
It is such a cliché to say that homemade presents are the best kind, but it is actually true… if done correctly. These need to be homemade presents with a purpose, and ofcourse, something that people will actually be happy to receive, as opposed to an old shoe box with the words for special things painted on the lid (I’ve done this and trust me, it didn’t go down well). If you are planning on going full out with the homemade, then
make sure you do it properly, get creative and get busy! Use your talents to perfect a truly special Christmas present… if you’re an artist, design something spectacular, if you’re a musician, record an original and make it the first time anyone hears it. Use your inner chef and cook up your own brand of jams and jellies, turn your kitchen into a brewery and create a personal label wine or even make your own scented soaps and candles. Then, if you’re feeling extra generous, throw all your talents together and make up hampers for each of your friends, allowing them to experience all of your handmade gifts.
The next step in budgeting with presents is to make it sentimental. Normally this won’t involve spending a lot of money, if any, but will steal the heart of whoever is receiving it, and maybe even move a few to tears. For sentimental presents, a good starting point is to use photos. This could mean photo albums of memories or collages of photos from a favourite holiday or event, something personal that you shared with this particular person. Before coming to University, I received an album from one of my best friends with a photo from each year of the 14 that we’d been at school together, such an emotional and thoughtful present and one I’ll enjoy looking through in years to come. An alternative and maybe more modern route to take could be making a home movie, a personal video that will last forever. It could be lots of clips of different people giving their own personal messages, or a medley of home videos, someone growing up, a funny memory – whatever it is, these are such personal presents and will definitely be loved by anyone receiving them.
- More for less
If the gift this year is something that actually does need to be bought, there are lots of different ways of bagging a perfect present without breaking the bank. Ebay and Amazon are two main methods and with bidding options you can be sure not to spend above a certain amount. Plus, on websites like these there are millions of different items, sizes and styles so it’ll be easy to scout out an idyllic gift. The same applies to charity shops and vintage stores, although these clothes are sometimes labeled ‘second hand’, they are good quality, good condition and one of a kind, not to mention a lot cheaper. However, if a normal store is the only place to find the perfect present, then make sure you make the absolute most of vouchers, offers and discounts – take that student card everywhere!
- It’s the thought that counts
The key is that whatever you end up doing for your ‘present on a budget’, it needs to demonstrate how much you care. You’ve got to show that you’ve spent time and effort perfecting this present, prove that you’ve really given it some thought and that this isn’t just a present, it’s a personal gift, specifically created for this particular person. That way, the gift will be received with the same amount of love and care that you put in to giving it and it’ll be a Christmas of presents to be remembered… after all it’s the thought that counts.
Stephanie Parrottbookmark me