managing your money

Managing Your Money – The Key to Surviving the Holidays

By Ingle International

The holiday season sneaks up on us all, but for “poor” students, the financial burden of buying a bunch of presents at once can mean breaking the bank (your piggy bank, that is) and using up all those last pennies. You may want to consider some of the ideas below if you want to avoid a Scroogey season this year.

Suggest a Secret Santa.

It doesn’t matter if your friends celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or nothing at all, taking part in a Secret Santa is a fun (and cheap) way to get everyone together over the holiday season. Here’s what you have to do: Write your friends’ names on separate pieces of paper, throw them in a hat, and have everyone pick a name… in secret! Set a limit on cost (e.g., $10-20), and breathe a sigh of relief knowing you are responsible for one gift rather than ten.

Take advantage of sale season.

You probably aren’t thinking about December in August, right? Well, it’s time to start! As the seasons change, you’ll find tons of great items on sale. Did you see a pair of earrings for 70% off that your sister would love? Buy them and hide them! Did you come across a dish set in the clearance section you know your mom would die for? Get it before someone else does! It also doesn’t hurt to go shopping on Boxing Day — that means having your holiday shopping done a whole year in advance!

Re-visit ‘Arts & Crafts.’

We all know that the best gifts are those that come from the heart. And what says ‘from the heart’ more than something you made yourself? Ask an older relative for a knitting lesson and make your BFFs some matching mittens. If you love to draw, frame some of your favourite sketches or paintings. If you’re a poet, dedicate a piece of writing to a loved one. Hey, it’s the thought that counts. And these gifts are practically free!

Do a Group Gift.

Instead of spending a bunch of cash on gifts you’re not even sure your friends want or need, why not suggest a group outing to replace gift-giving this year? Ladies will love some girl time at the spa or singing together at the latest musical while gents might enjoy a night out watching a hockey game or going to see some live music at a local pub.

Be the Anti-Grinch.

Tell family and friends that instead of buying gifts this year, your plan is to donate a sum of cash (an amount you can afford, of course!) to the charity of your choice. Explain that you do not expect (or want) gifts from them, and suggest putting your money together to make a more impactful donation. As the saying goes, it’s better to give than to receive.

This article, written by Kathleen O’Hagan, is provided by Ingle International, specializing in travel insurance since 1946.  Ingle International has partnered with StudentAwards to provide students with the best travel health solutions for their overseas adventures. For more information, visit our partner site at