Written by Rhianne
BA (Hons) Communication & Media
Christmas is fast approaching, and as well as December deadlines and January exams, trying to budget over the festive season can be very difficult. But fear not – there are definitely ways to celebrate the holidays on a student budget! Each year my housemates and I find new and exciting activities that require minimum spending…
1. Christmas-themed movie night (with lots of snacks)
This is a tradition for us, on any occasion – be it Christmas, Halloween or even Valentine’s Day – we celebrate with a film night. The only money spent is on the abundance of snacks that we always bring, but even this can be determined by how much money you want to spend! We try to make our snacks themed so we spent last year with a classic box of Heroes, a lot of blankets and Home Alone playing. The perfect cosy way to spend a cold winter’s evening with your friends, and this year we will be doing exactly that!
2. Going to the beach in time for the sunset (which is a highly underrated winter favourite of mine)
Bournemouth is known for its beach, and it is definitely something that should be taken advantage of, especially when it’s so close to your front door. Spending the afternoon at the beach is great in summer, however I am a true believer that the beach is almost (dare I say) better in the winter. Yes, it’s cold. So wrap up warm! With it getting dark pretty early, my housemates and I are going to go to the beach in time for the sunset. Whilst this isn’t necessarily the most festive of activities, it’s a brilliant way to get out of the house, spend as little money as you want, and see Bournemouth at its best. Plus, it’s even more fun when there’s a big group of you going, and you can even stop off at Aruba to treat yourself after.
3. Liven up your student house with homemade decorations
Okay, hear me out on this one. I am well aware that paper snowflakes are something that you make in school, but that’s the fun part. They’re actually a lot harder than we remembered when we made them last year. We started out with the basic snowflakes but there are so many YouTube videos for DIY decorations that you can make with random items that you usually have laying around the house. This year we are challenging ourselves to try and make the most complicated ones we can find. The best part of doing this is watching your housemate struggle with it for half an hour before throwing their half-made snowflake in the bin – don’t underestimate how funny this is! Put some Christmas tunes on and you’re ready to decorate.
4. Have a Christmas dinner with your housemates by cooking it yourselves (or attempting to)
This one goes without saying and is something that most students do with their mates as a way of celebrating Christmas before going home for a few weeks. Still, there are ways you can make it a whole lot cheaper, and just as cheerful! This year we will be doing our roast dinner shopping at local produce stores where you can buy fresh vegetables for really cheap, which also allows you to buy single items rather than packs so nothing goes to waste. Aldi is another life saver when it comes to cheap food and drink if you want to get some wine or beer. If you’re wanting to buy meat, then Aldi and Lidl offer a big selection with a big price range meaning you can splurge if you want, or find a cheaper alternative. I would also recommend buying meat pretty early and freezing it, so you are able to get it even cheaper before prices go up nearer Christmas.
5. Bournemouth Christmas Market
Last year, my friends and I went ice-skating which cost £10.50 for a student ticket.
This year we are trying to make Christmas even cheaper, so don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the atmosphere of Bournemouth at Christmas. This year they are offering a deal on Tuesday nights, where you can skate for an hour and get one drink for £10.50, so keep a look out for any places that may well be doing student deals over the festive season. Even walking around the Christmas stalls in the town centre, or the Bournemouth Gardens (which are decorated so beautifully) is enough to get you into the Christmas spirit – so this is definitely somewhere you could go without spending a penny. They also do a “Live Advent Calendar” event each day that has various free activities around Bournemouth, so definitely check that out.