how to budget your way through christmas

How To Budget Your Way Through Christmas

Posted at 10 November 2016 in Village Life

I’m no financier, but…

I’ve done a few stupid things in my life to blow my money before Christmas. So by that score, I have eternal knowledge when it comes to the student ability to spend money on things that have absolutely no meaning or importance to you whatsoever. We tend to go a little overboard after uni is finished – we have drinks with friends, buy takeout food, and indulge in the euphoric freedom of being released from the shackles of academic obligation. And while you definitely deserve to let loose, here are a few things worth remembering when you ponder your next impulse purchase.

Did you just finish exams?

If the answer is yes, put your wallet away. You don’t need a snowboard, this is Australia. You’re high off finishing exams, and money isn’t a concern for you right now. But trust me, if you buy that thing you’re gonna stare at it with resentment one day when you realise you’ve never been a snow sports person and try to sell it on eBay for half the price. Walk away.

Are you about to go to a party?

I’m speaking as a female, but I have a sneaky suspicion this applies to men as well (call it market research) – I like the feeling of having a new top to wear, or something different going on when I’ve hit a big milestone, like finishing exams. Did I need to cut my hair? No. Was I in dire need of that $249.95 playsuit? Of course not. But it’s pretty so shut up. My point is, you don’t need that stuff if you’re just buying it out of excitement, if you’re cashed up then go for it… But are you really cashed up?

Is there something I need to save money for?

Self-explanatory, I know. But I’ve spent money on a case of beer before I needed to pay my rent, and it’s not a great feeling when you can’t take an impulse decision back. Sure, the beer was great, and refreshing, and I deserved it, and I had fun… What was I talking about again? Oh right. I couldn’t pay my rent, and that’s bad. Buy a 6-pack.

Do I want to give everyone I-O-U’s for Christmas?

Don’t be that guy on Christmas morning (or evening, depending on what you’re into) that comes up short with gifts. If you’re not the gift-giving type of family then this section isn’t important, move on. If you’re family does give gifts, then they’ll probably raise their eyebrows when all you managed to buy them was a packet of Sultanas and a $3 iPhone case. Hint: if you’re low on funds, buy them a book, or an assorted bag of lollies and chocolates that you bought in bulk from Coles – no one complains about that.

Is your social life important to you?

Because if it is, lack of money is going to take a baseball bat to it. Wanna go halves on a pizza? Nope. Keen to see a movie? Sorry. You get to sit at home and eat ramen until you cry. One of my roommates once said “Wanna split a milk?” and it was possibly the most accurate reflection of how it feels to be a broke uni student. You literally can’t do anything with your friends if you spent all your money on something you didn’t need, so make sure you budget for a social life – it doesn’t have to be much. Just resist spending money on things you don’t need. Resist.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yo’self for finishing exams, definitely pat yourself on the back for getting through that noise. But Just reign it in, yeah? Chrissy will be way better if you’re not broke AF.

Good luck with the last few exams!

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