Student tips for tackling financial pressures at Christmas

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Health Assured team

20 October 2022

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, especially if you’re a student. And you might be particularly worried this year given the concerns around the current cost of living crisis.

But the festivities don’t have to break the bank. There are ways you can stay on top of your budget and keep the Christmas costs low. We’ve included some top tips below to help you tackle financial pressures over the festive season.

Set a Christmas budget

It can be hard to find the time to sit down and take a good look at your finances. But this step is essential to ensuring you don’t overspend. If you haven’t set your budget already, Christmas is a great time to do so. Once you’ve settled on your budget it can calm your financial worries as you know how much cash you have to spend and where.

You can also try to boost your budget by cutting back in some areas, picking up extra shifts at work or see if you can make any extra cash by selling clothes or claiming cashback.

Agree to opt out of gifts this year

If there are others who are also running low on funds you might want to agree to opt out of gifts this year. Maybe you could spend a night in together or go for a walk instead. By both choosing to opt out this year it doesn’t mean you’ll never exchange gifts again. But it does mean you’ll both have one less outgoing to worry about.


Pick what’s most important. Maybe you can’t afford to attend every social occasion this month, they all add up. If you know your funds won’t stretch that far, don’t put extra pressure on yourself to say yes to everyone. Maybe you could try other compromises such as skipping out on the meal and meeting friends after or see if you can invite friends over for a get-together instead. Not that bothered about the Christmas decks? Save money by going small so you can spend it elsewhere.

Cut back on the presents

It’s the thought that counts! Most people will appreciate a thoughtful gift over an expensive one. So use your imagination and try to think of a present that really means something, that still fits into your budget.

Another option is to arrange a secret Santa exchange between friends, classmates, co-workers or siblings. This way you cut down the number of people you have to buy for and set a limit on the budget too.

Student discounts

Try to make use of your student discounts as much as possible. Seek out the deals available and plan your presents around where you can benefit from some savings. It might only be 10-20%. But if you save this much every time, it adds up to a big chunk of your budget.

Speak up if you’re struggling

Remember that Christmas is a time to spend with those you love most importantly. If you’re worried about making your money stretch then speak to friends or family about how you feel. When you bottle up worries in this way it can lead to overwhelm and poor mental health. Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, support is always available through your college, university, or Student Assistance Programme if you have one. 

Financial wellbeing and your mental health

Watch our podcast video on Financial Wellbeing for more tips and advice on how you can balance your mental health, wellbeing and finances.

How can an EAP help you support your students with financial wellbeing?

We know that wellbeing can have a huge impact on how your students engage with their lives, especially if they are experiencing a challenging time during the cost of living crisis. Supporting them throughout life's challenges helps both your students and organisation.

In our latest guide, we cover how improving access to support with an EAP can help students cope in times of difficulty. Click the button below to get your guide now.

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