Advice this Christmas on travel, work balance, gift-giving, and finding deals!

Written by: SU Advice

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Hopefully, you will have booked your travel early to take advantage of cheap fares. If not, think about car sharing to save money to get home. If travelling by train, consider travelling at different times of the day to get cheaper tickets and using ticket-splitting websites to reduce fares. Megabus offers low-cost travel to many areas of the UK, and if you’re not sure of travel dates, booking in advance is not always necessary.

Check out our travelling home for the holiday update for hints and tips regarding your festive travel later this week for more advice!


Working over Christmas

Christmas is an excellent time to earn some money to pay off some of your student overdraft, pay for Christmas presents, or just to put some money aside to see you through next term.

Some of you may be able to take up temporary work at previous workplaces over the Christmas vacation. If not, see if you can arrange some part-time work for when you get home. You could also consider registering with an agency that may have occasional work over Christmas or check out the University of Plymouth Careers Service to help you find work.

Tip: make sure you sort your taxes and get a rebate if you are eligible...

Did you pay tax over the summer when you worked? If so, you can apply for a tax rebate if you have not earned in excess of £11,000. You will need to fill in a form and send it off to HMRC here.


Buying Christmas presents

Tips to keep the cost down this Christmas when buying gifts: 

  1. Consider giving Christmas “IOUs” instead of Christmas presents, e.g. I we you an evening of babysitting, a car wash, a manicure, etc.
  2. How about undertaking Secret Santa amongst family and friends? Instead of buying for everyone, everyone selects one or two names from a hat to keep costs down.
  3. Consider buying second-hand – you can find a whole host of amazing gifts in charity shops and on sites such as Vinted, Depop or eBay. It is a great way to shop less expensively and more sustainably!

If you are going to buy new Christmas presents, you could consider doing so through a cashback site and earning yourself some money simultaneously. There are two main sites, Quidco and Topcashback. You can register with them and then search their database for the shop you intend to use – so, for example, if you’re going to buy your mum some perfume from Boots, you plug in Boots and follow the link to their website. You will then be awarded with some cashback; it may only be 5%, though it can be 20% or more. The other great thing about cashback sites is they also have an in-store option when you register your card. Quidco is best for Visa, and Topcashback mainly has Mastercard deals. So, you might even get cashback on the sneaky coffee you have while shopping for Christmas!

Although it’s not always easy, try to avoid getting into debt to cover the cost of Christmas. Whatever you do, do not borrow money from payday loan companies to buy expensive gifts – if you cannot repay the debt, interest will spiral out of control.


Be honest about christmas presents that will help you out

Be honest with friends and family – if a supermarket gift card would be more beneficial to put toward your food bills next term rather than a set of toiletries you will never use or another three packs of novelty socks you don't need, let them know!


Christmas Deals

It's no longer necessary to wait for the Boxing Day/January sales, as numerous money-saving offers are often available throughout Christmas.

It’s worth keeping an eye on sites such as Money Saving Expert for information about upcoming deals.


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