Christmas has always been my favourite holiday. I never grow tired of the twinkling lights, the abundance of chocolates, and the time spent with friends and family. The Christmas season is magical.
But as I’ve grown up, I’ve realized how consumer-driven this holiday is. As much as I enjoyed buying gifts for the people I care about, I couldn’t help but cringe every time I handed over my debit card. With every purchase, I knew my reputation as a thoughtful gift-giver was going up, but it was also painfully evident that the amount in my bank account was going down.
As university students, money is a huge deal. I’m sure many of us are recovering from the mass amounts of money we spent on gifts, food, outings, and other expenses over the holidays.
Now that we’re in the middle of January and fully in recovery mode, here are some tips to help with saving money.
Stay home. Staying home can be a very helpful deterrent to spending money. Instead of going out for dinner, invite your friends to your place for a night of homemade pizza and Netflix. No credit card required.
Pack your lunch. Food in general can get pretty expensive, and you may not realize it as you pick up a quick lunch on campus every day. Take the cheaper route and pack a lunch from home. This may sound like elementary school, but trust me, the savings will add up.
Pick up some extra shifts at work before your schoolwork starts piling up. This may be difficult for those who work in retail, as the frenzy of December shoppers dulls to a sort of calm. But those of you who’ve proved your ability to handle all the crazy customers last month may have gained recognition from your managers. Hopefully your contribution to your workplace translates into larger paycheques.
Lastly, practice restraint. This may be the hardest but most essential tip of all. It’s so easy to fall into the role of consumer. But it’s important to recognize the difference between the things you want versus the things you need. Once you make this distinction, saving money could get a lot easier.
However you choose to save, best of luck to everyone dealing with any sort of holiday debt. Make a plan for yourself, no matter how difficult it seems. Your wallet will thank you.