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Worried about budgeting for Christmas? Follow NUS extra's money-saving tips

11th December 2013

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Yes, you have no money, and no – it doesn’t mean you can hide under your duvet and ignore completely the fact that Christmas is now only two weeks away.

This time of year can stretch the student budget more than ever, but luckily the team at NUS extra have put together a few tips to help you get through. Read on for happier shopping...

Set a budget. This is the most important tip! Look at how much you can afford to spend, set a budget and stick to it. Why not agree a spending limit with your boyfriend/girlfriend or siblings to make sure you don’t get carried away? And your dog or cat will just be happy you’re home - maybe sneak them a bit of turkey on Christmas day as an extra treat.

You don’t have to buy for everyone. Make a list of who you really have to buy for. If you have a group of friends or siblings that you really don’t want to cut from the Christmas list then why not do a Secret Santa? Set a £5 or £10 spending limit then you only have to buy one small gift instead of a few… and you can have fun guessing who got whom. 

Get creative. The best presents aren’t always big and expensive. Homemade presents are really personal, and parents and grandparents will love them! So why not make some jam or chutney, go retro with a mixtape or take that up-to-date picture of you and your siblings that your Mum’s been after for ages and put it in a nice frame?

Think outside the (gift) box. Decorations don’t have to cost a fortune. Take a look around the house - there will definitely be bits and pieces that can be used in a resourcefully festive way! Make paper chains out of old magazines and wrap presents in newspaper or brown parcel paper for a real vintage vibe.

Discounts and offers. If you already have a NUS extra card then take a good look at all the discounts available using the website or via the free smartphone app. There will be some discounts that you probably don’t use in your day to day spending as they’re not relevant to you, but they may be relevant for the people you’re buying presents for so make sure you take advantage. And no matter which shop you’re in, don’t be shy - ask if they give student discount!

Christmas is meant to be fun and you’ve told us that it is family that is important to you, so don’t let financial pressure ruin the festive season. If you can’t afford to buy gifts then tell your family - we’re sure they’ll understand. They will much prefer having your presence to your presents!Plus you can help out at home with some fab NUS extra discounts, including 10% off at Co-op for all those tasty Christmas treats!

NUS extra cards are available to all students over 16 years of age, including distance and vocational learners. It costs just £12 for a full 12 months of saving. You can find a full list on,  or download the free app to keep up to date with discounts whilst you’re on the move.

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