Christmas is Coming! Don’t panic, we’re all penniless together.

Here’s some handy tips for how to survive on our lowly bank balances.

First of all, not all presents need to be bought – they can be made. We all love a present that touches the heart more than yet another Lynx Africa set, or a Bubble Bath kit that will never be touched thanks to my strict aversion for baths and love of showers. So if you are super broke, think about making up a memory book for your intended recipient. I did this for my best friend last year and it basically works out as next to nothing, all you need is a scrapbook – have a look online at Paperchase, who also do 10% off, find your favourite photos spanning the entirety of your friendship, glue them in with cute quotes and hey presto – it’s probably going to be their favourite present because it means more than the consumerist nightmares that cost into the hundreds.

If you’re currently living with all your best friends but don’t have the money to buy every single one of them a gift then there are only two words for it: Secret. Santa, If you all set a specific budget, and all agree to play along then it works out as the perfect ending to your fake house Christmas before everyone trails back home for the real thing. To save the embarrassment of pulling your own name, or the inability to hold a poker face I’d advise using – all enter your names and emails and then once you’re all set up it will email you the name of the person who you have to buy a present for. It even has the option to create a wish list, so if you’re a difficult person to buy for you can give your Santa a few ideas to save you being given cute novelty socks, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Secret Santa is the perfect time to introduce what is a long standing tradition of university life: the House Christmas. Organise who is buying what or all chip in and go to the shops together and make yourselves a roast your Mama would be proud of. On a budget, Aldi and Iceland are a student’s best friend. So, lucky for you if you live near Kirkstall/own a car. We fed a house of 6 on one large chicken last year, made enough pigs in blankets to feed an army, and basically sent ourselves into a food coma until Christmas day.

If you’re rolling in dough by the time December comes, or you just want to go out for a meal because you can’t face the washing up, then Leeds has a lot to offer in the way of Christmas dinners. The Picture House Carvery in the Merrion centre may not look fabulous, but the food is amazing – £7.59 for a regular carvery  or £9.09 for all of you on the Christmas gains train every Sunday. Plus you get to choose what meat or vegetarian option you want, because let’s face it – no one actually likes Turkey do they? A bit more up budget, but equally as delicious, why don’t you apply the innate edginess of us Leeds students and go for a roast in The Tetley for £12.95 on a Sunday.

Now for the most important part for us ladies: a Christmas ball dress. Ignore that temptation to spend £10 on a dress from China in the hope that it will turn up looking like the pictures, hint: it never looks like the pictures. Depop is a God send, download the app and shop away, your dress may be second hand but nobody needs to know. Plus if you’re like me and buy a dress, wear it once and never again, then you may as well keep that expense to an absolute minimum. Alternatively, it’s black Friday on 25th November, so if you can hold off that long until all of the prices are slashed, then that is definitely something to wait for.

So there you have it, from one broke student to another – Christmas can be easy if you know where, and when to look for deals.



Rianna Julian

(Image: Dala Ramsey)

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