5 College Money Saving Tips for the Holidays
The holiday spirit is in the air! Christmas carols are playing almost anywhere. Christmas trees and lights adorn the streets, houses, malls, and almost any other spaces. Ginger breads are being baked. Christmas presents are being wrapped. Indeed, it is the season to be merry! But for someone who may be financially broke, a person who does not even have enough money to get through the holidays, the celebration may not be as joyful. Well, accept it or not, you need to have money for Christmas.
During this time of the year, a lot of people, especially college students, may fail to manage their finances wisely. It is easy to be lured with Christmas sales and be tempted to buy things that are beyond your means or those that you do not even need. It is easy to give in to the temptation of buying expensive gifts, even if you know that you cannot realistically afford them.
We sought Ms Lorra Brown’s expertise on celebrating holiday season without going broke. Keep on reading and learn from our tips on what you can do to manage your money and spend intelligently during the holidays.
Maximize the Use of your Student Discounts
What’s one great thing about being in college? Student discount! This is a privilege that you won’t be able to enjoy for the rest of your life, so make the most of it while you still can. Your college ID can prove to be powerful. Just show it when you shop in select stores and voila, you are entitled to enjoy a discount. The discount will vary from one store to another. Even if it is not as big as what you might expect, when they accumulate, it can be tantamount into saving a huge amount.
Your student discount can be used when shopping gifts for the holidays. Whether it is for consumer electronics, clothing, transportation, and even live entertainment, you can save money by maximizing your student discount. Make sure to do your research well. If Store A does not accept student discounts, be ready to visit Store B. Patience is the name of the game. Be ready to go through different stores. Spend time online to know which ones will accept your ID as a discount. Ask around from fellow students. Also, do not be afraid to ask the representative from the store if they have student discounts. You might end up being surprised!
Find a Seasonal Job
Saving during the holidays should not just be all about minimizing your expenses. It should also be concerned about finding the opportunity to earn additional income. If you are on a break from school, you might want to use such as a chance to look for short-time jobs that will allow you to have money. You do not need to have a full-time job, especially because you are still a student. You can ask around from your friends, neighbors, and even your family if they need something to be done in exchange of a minimal fee. With extra cash in your hand, you do not need to worry about where to get the money that you need for buying gifts.
So, how exactly do you find a job to provide you with extra earnings? The answer – the internet! Just go online and look for opportunities that can be grabbed. Websites like Craigslist, Fiverr, and Freelance, among others, will post a long list of jobs that will require as little as an hour to complete. You can even answer online surveys or be part of a team to test a new website or mobile application. You can also use your creativeness to be crafty and sell handmade gifts for the holidays. Earnings may be small, but when taken collectively, they can be significant.
A seasonal job during Christmas will not only provide you with extra income, but it can also be an excellent opportunity to gain experience, which can help you later on once you enter the employment world upon graduating from college.
Choose Your Gifts Wisely
The holidays will not be complete without gift giving. In fact, this is the essence of Christmas for many people. It does not matter how cheap or expensive your gift is. As they say, it is the thought that counts. More often than not, however, because we want to make others feel that they are loved, we make sure to give them gifts that they will appreciate, even if they can be expensive. One of the most common tips on saving money during Christmas is to be intelligent when shopping for gifts. Yet, there are many people who fail to follow this. After all, it is easy to give in to the temptation of binge shopping, especially when you see markdowns in different stores. These deals seem to be too good to be true, and in many cases, you will find yourself buying more than what your finances could realistically handle.
Keep in mind that you are a college student. Your family and your friends will surely understand if you give them cheap gifts, or even if you do not give those gifts at all. If you really want to give them something, why not make something on your own? A handwritten Christmas card will be a thoughtful present. A homemade fruitcake will also be nice. If you have more time and patience, a quilted Christmas sweater will also be a good idea. Here are 41 holiday gift ideas for every budget .
Celebrate without Spending Big
During the holidays, it is common to have get-together parties with people you have not seen for a while. For instance, if you are studying college in a state different from your home, Christmas may be all about seeing your high school buddies or childhood friends. More often than not, this would not only mean fun, but this would also mean having the need to spend. The endless partying can accumulate into a burden on your wallet, considering that you still have to take out your gift budget from your allowance. With this, another thing that you should do to manage your finances wisely is to curb the entertainment based on what is practical. For instance, rather than going out on a club and spending huge on table and drinks, why not spend the party at a house? Play video games, have a barbecue enjoy a pool party and play party games. Rather than buying food from restaurants, you can also ask someone to cook, such as your parents.
If you really want to go out with your friends, you can save a lot of money by looking for discounts. Again, take advantage of student discounts if possible. You can also shop for deals, such as from Groupon.
Make a Budget & Stick to it!
You have been repeatedly told about it. If you go online and look for tips on how you can save money during the holiday season, you can see that a lot of the experts are pointing out to the importance of budgeting. Yet, there are many people who do not follow the simple principle of creating a budget.
One of the things that should be done when it comes to budgeting is to note it down. Do not just budget mentally. There needs to be a tangible output, such as writings in your notebook or records from an Excel file. Consider how much money you have and how much you can possibly make by having a side job. Break down your expenses into relevant categories, such as gift, entertainment, travel, and food, among others. Input every amount you spend, regardless of how little it is. Monitor how much is still left. The best thing about having a budget plan is that you can easily have a glimpse of your finances. You will know if you can still spend more or if you have gone too far, and hence, it is time to stop.
In sum, managing your finances during the holidays can prove to be a challenging feat. You need to have the discipline to stick with what you can afford. Always keep in mind that you are a college student, and you are not earning heaps, and hence, you should not be spending heaps. Always be realistic when it comes to buying gifts. Take advantage of opportunities to earn additional income. Be practical. Be merry and create holiday memories without having to end up being financially doomed. No one surely wants to have an empty wallet after the holiday break!
We would like to thank Ms Lorra Brown for these cardinal rules of financial well-being to enjoy Holiday Season without burning a hole in our pockets. Lorra has authored several articles providing financial advice for college students.
Happy Holidays Everyone…