By Stephen Walsh
It’s that time of year where every coffee shop gets out the Christmas album and you have to sit through the torture of Cliff Richard’s ‘Mistletoe and Wine’.
If you’re lucky your SU will run a few Christmas events to give you a chance to let off some steam before the dreaded exam period.
I’m the sort of guy who would rather be watching a match than going out shopping. But when Christmastime comes around we all have to brave the crowds on the high street. If you follow these five steps, you should be able to get through the whole ordeal without snapping and tearing your hair out.
Plan, Plan, and Plan
Before going out shopping make sure you have a plan. Who are you going to buy presents for and how much you can spend on each individual? Many houses will want to get presents for each other — a cheap way of getting around this is to set up a Secret Santa. Set the maximum gift price at a tenner and you should save a bit there.
If you are planning to spend big on one special person, make sure to set that money aside when budgeting so you don’t go broke before you’ve bought everyone a present.
Most shops have special offers in the run-up to Christmas, if you do some bargain hunting you can save a bit of money while getting your presents. Bookshops are usually good with 3 for 2s. If you look online you will find that eBay and Amazon have cheaper products than many on the high street. Just make sure to check the delivery dates, you don’t want your present stuck in a post office on Christmas day.
Buy and Sell pages
Every town or City has a local paper in which they have a free ads section in the middle of people buying and swapping a variety of goods. You can pick up the perfect gift for a fraction of the price. In particular, it can be very good for electrical items. Freecycle is another good option, check online to see who wants to get rid of old phones, TVs and laptops, you might be able to find a special gift for someone.
Remember you are a student on a tight budget. Don’t go into your overdraft for Christmas presents. Your family and friends aren't expecting massive presents. There is no point getting into debt over Christmas as it will affect the next term of Uni. You don’t want to worry about money, when you could be worrying about exams instead.
Lastly, if you have any other points of knowledge that you think would benefit others then please write them in the comments section below. Enjoy the festive season.