It may be tempting to go a little spending-crazy when you head home from college this holiday season. You’ll be seeing some of your childhood friends that you haven't seen since the summer or you might feel the need to buy some gifts for loved ones that could put you in the red. Just keep in mind that you have one more semester left before the school year is over and there is nothing worse than being a broke and starving college student. Here are some ways that you can cut down on spending too much cash around the holiday season.
Sorry, but avoid the bars
Bars will be the easiest places to reconnect with friends and also to take refuge from your nagging parents, but they will also drain any money you have saved up from your on-campus job in a split second. If you want to drink and catch up, find a space big enough where you can all pitch in on some cheap beverages.
If you are planning on going to a New Year’s Eve celebration, don’t feel like you need to spring for an expensive bottle of bubbly. According to Lauren Greutman, a savings expert at the budgeting app Flipp, there will be tons good quality bottles for cheap.
“Expect deals through New Year’s, but don’t limit yourself to champagne,” says Greutman, “naturally, only sparkling wines produced in that specific region of France can earn the ‘Champagne’ label, making it more expensive. So consider less expensive sparkling wines like prosecco or cava.”
As long as you can pop the cork at midnight, no one will know otherwise!
Keep a tight gift budget
Even though you are in school full-time and possibly spending all of your time out of class working a part-time job to support your ...fun weekend habits, you still have a long list of relatives to buy gifts for this holiday season. So before you send your savings account back to zero, take a deep breath and make yourself a realistic budget.
According to Greutman, keeping your gifts as simple as possible will save you in the end. By staying away from elaborate gestures and looking for deals on things like toys and board games (hey, they can be fun for adults too!) you can sneak out of the gift-giving season’s clutches relatively unscathed.
“Prices on toys get slashed in the month of December,” she explains, “even some hot gifts are available in December at a discount thanks to restocking.”
Keeping this kind of budget may be a tough pill to swallow, but it will be much better than having to live hand to mouth during your spring semester. You’ll thank us later!