Good Morning Green Panda Readers.  It’s Monday December 5th and that means there are only 20 days left to shop until Christmas. The holidays can be an expensive time of the year for anyone, but if you are living on a student budget the holidays can be a financial nightmare.  Green Panda is here to give students some financial hope and provide some tips on how students save money during the holidays.

Stay on a Budget During the Holidays

I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holiday season.  I also know from my own personal experience that getting in the gift giving spirit can be uplifting; it is very easy to get carried away while shopping during the holiday season.  Every single year I always make a Christmas List along with a shopping budget.  When I go into a store I always tell myself that I have to stick to my budget, but then while I am shopping I just get carried away in the spirit of giving during the holidays.

I never stick to my budget during the holidays and I always regret it later.  I always tell myself that it’s only an extra $20 or $50 so that is no big deal, after all I am giving gifts to my family and friends.  However, $50 x 10 gifts can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars in overspending.

Buying Gifts on a Budget During the Holidays

When shopping for the holidays we should always try to stay within our budget.  As a student people are not expecting us to give several expensive gifts. They know that we live on a (very little) fixed income and they will appreciate any gifts that we give.

Some great gift ideas under $25 are a 4×6 or 5×7 photo of you and your family in a nice photo frame.  Gift baskets are a great idea, we can purchase pre wrapped gifts to save time; but it is definitely a lot cheaper to buy the items individually and wrap them ourselves.  Assembling a scrap book of our family and friends over the past year or a recent family vacation is another great gift idea that we can assemble on a budget of under $25.

Using Your Credit Card During the Holidays

I try not to use my credit card during the holidays for several reasons such as potential fraud and unauthorized charges.  However, the main reason that I try not to use my credit card during the holidays is so that I can control my spending. I try to always remember that my credit limit is available to spend, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire amount has to be spent.

If we use our credit card during the hectic holiday shopping season we may be charged the wrong amounts by stores.  I am not sure if you have ever tried to dispute a charge on your credit card, but it is a very long process to try and get your money back.  The more we swipe our credit cards the more of a chance we have that our credit card information could fall into the wrong hands and we could become a victim of credit card fraud.

It is definitely safer for our budget if we use cash or our debit cards instead of our credit cards while shopping during the holiday season.

Photo by HikingArtist