Christmas shopping on a budget

Halloween gone, bonfire night over with, we are truly in the season of all things red, gold and snowy white. All major shops have their jolly yuletide displays firmly in place and it appears impossible to escape the frosty grips of Christmas. It’s about time to start thinking of presents. As a student relying on a student loan, this annual exchange of gifts could not come at a worse time of year. The vacant and dusty desert between the September loan drop and the January installment never felt so long and punishing. The basic necessity of food and alcohol is becoming a struggle, let alone a whole hoard of presents for your family and friends which you know they deserve. However, the truth is, if you put in time and effort and make it look pretty, no one will care or even consider the price you paid. Equally, if you’re a student like me, your family won’t be expecting you to spend much and will appreciate the thought. My main issue and downfall is that buying presents and treating my family to gifts which are personal is my favourite part of the holiday, so there is a few tricks that I use to keep down the costs.

  1. Charity shopping
Dorothy house is a hospice local to my home in Bath.

Back home I have a part time job working in a chain of charity shops around my local area. This has opened my eyes completely to the amazing bargains you can find there. A mint condition limited edition vinyl, brand-new books and pristine clothes from high end brands including Burberry, Levi’s, DKNY and Armani. The best thing about these finds is that they often come at a fraction of the price in which they were originally bought. Equally, in buying these, you are able to contribute to worthy causes which help millions of people. Similarly, if the charity is on a smaller scale, like Dorothy House Hospice, the donations are key to help it continue to support the many patients who need their urgent care. Not only does charity shopping carry all these benefits, it’s completely environmentally friendly. It allows you to turn away from fast fashion to look favourably on recycling clothes, reducing all the ails of quick and unethical production.

The list of why to charity to shop is endless and there are so many shops located around the country, it would be crazy not to give it a go

2. Edible gifts

Delia’s cakes recipe includes icing names which add a personal touch

A personal favourite gift of mine has always been a personalised gingerbread recipe taken from Delia’s cakes (above). Making this for all my friends would prove to be a successful way to include everyone at a minimum price but with maximum effort. It meant that my gift was well received due to the clear time and thought I had put into it. Other cakes and biscuits can achieve the same effect and who doesn’t enjoy a treat at Christmas?

3. Framed photos

I have found a framed photo can be an extremely thoughtful gift due to the personal aspect of it. The idea of a friend or family member wanting you to own a specially printed photo of the two of you together can be heart warming and very flattering. Boots offer an online printing service in which you can select photos to be printed and delivered directly to your door for as cheap as 10p per photo. Then all you need to buy is a photo frame. Many shops offer decent prices for pretty and good quality frames. Easy!

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