The John Lewis advert was released this week, which for most people symbolises the beginning of the Christmas period. However, for students, this is the time where deadlines are fast approaching and along with the pressure and the cost of Christmas it makes for a stressful time.
Katie Mundy, a Fine Art student at Falmouth University said: “I think it’s hard for students to afford Christmas. It’s not just the presents, there are lots more social events around Christmas. We spend more money on food, but cook together in our student house so that saves money.
“The stress of deadlines is made worse by the added stress of not having enough money to afford to buy Christmas presents but you have to be sensible about it, everyone understands so there isn’t too much pressure.
“In our house we do secret Santa so we don’t have to buy everyone something and it’s still fun, we are all students so we understand that we can’t spend too much on each other. In my family we don’t spend a huge amount on each other, they don’t expect much from me as they know I’m the ‘poor student’ of the family.”
Save the Student, a money advice organization, carried out a survey with 830 students in 2013 and it suggested that the average student spends £161 at Christmas, with females spending 25% more than male students.
Contemporary Crafts student Ailish Kelly explained how the stress of assignments can effect Christmas spending. “Deadlines usually mean me buying copious amounts of food so I often spend a lot more.
“The train back to my family home is the worst cost though. I can end up spending £150 for the train.
“I just sort of hope for the best. That’s what overdrafts are for.”
Ashleigh Swan set up a Facebook page called Ashleigh Money Saver in June 2013 after she was made redundant. It has since gained almost half a million Facebook followers and generates up to 300 messages daily to her Facebook account. She has also set up a separate website to make it more accessible to people.
She said that: “A lot of people are starting to panic because they don’t have much spare cash for Christmas presents after their bills are paid and want to know how they can make their money go further.
“One thing I always say to people who want to save money at Christmas time is to be prepared, very prepared. Start buying for Christmas in January, whether that is gift sets which have been reduced in the sale or maybe next year’s Christmas cards and wrapping paper.”
She also gave advice to people who are looking for short term solutions to affording Christmas. “Decide on a budget and stick to it. Bargain stores such as B&M, Home Bargains and The Range have some great value gifts. Or why not do a family secret Santa?
“Get the rest of the family involved and you can all pick a name out of a hat and buy a gift for that person. That way everyone gets a gift but you don’t have a full family to buy for.”
You can check out money saving deals and advice from Ashleigh Money Saver at https://ashleighmoneysaver.co.uk/.