Christmas time. ‘Tis the season of merriment and generosity. In theory these are great qualities, but for students, this time of the year is a warzone of social expectations that just so happen tocome with a hefty financial cost. Lower your guard for a second and suddenly you are a part of five different Secret Santa’s with a £30 price range each, booked up for ten Christmas parties, fifteen Christmas meals and purchasing countless hastily bought bottles of wine and boxes of chocolate out of the social obligation to be your most generous self for the entire merry season.
So, how can we combat this annual Christmas money hell? The latest trend: no-spend November. The challenge: cut out excess spending, the things in your life that you know you don’t need.
We live in a capitalist world where we are constantly bombarded with advertising that entices us into craving the things we don’t need. Therefore, the challenge is, in fact, challenging. First things first, control your shopping! Write a list, don’t go to Lidl when sleepy or hungry, it will lead to buying the whole supermarket. Go armed with a prepared shopping list and challenge yourself to stick to it.
Cleanse your phone, delete your food ordering apps and fast fashion apps. It is time to prioritise. Stick to your list, it will help with an impulse buy of that lipstick that is just a slightly redder shade of red than your other three red lipsticks! I am Queen of impulse buying but also Queen of a good list. Nothing is more satisfying than ticking off the list with a smug sense of adulting.
Fun fact. Edinburgh has more coffee shops than any other city in the UK outside of London. We spend A LOT of money in these lovely but definitely not cheap coffee shops. I am currently sitting in a café as I type this, on my second bought coffee of the day, amongst the countless others I have bought from just this one café this week, this spending cut may be a hard one. This daily additional cost is definitely an unnecessary one, especially when I have perfectly good and pretentious cafetière and keep-cup at home. Before I realise it, I have spent £10 on coffee in a week — £40 a month — enough to get up to two secret Santa’s that have had the audacity to set a price limit higher than a fiver. Therefore, it is time to make use of the hot water tap in the library and in Teviot, my inner coffee snob is squirming, but instant coffee is going to be an ally.
The nights are getting darker, the temperature has dropped and going outside might mean a surprise drenching. The drowned rat look has become your latest fashion statement. The problem: Uber is enticingly easy and quick, perfect for our culture of wanting things done and now, with the help of a fun app. However, I propose that it is time to embrace the noble sport of walking to our destination this month! Delete the Uber app from your phone with the bonus benefit of being more environmentally friendly.
Autumn is, in my opinion, the best time to be outside. It is time to make the most of the city we live in where you can walk to the shops and have Arthur’s Seat as your skyline, where a castle is just another feature. Leave a bit earlier for your event or dinner and listen to your favourite podcast on the way (I recommend London, Actually). Let the leaves crunch under your feet before they are a decomposing mess, breath in the air that I encourage you to call refreshing, not hypothermia-inducing and get some good stress-busting exercise into your day.
Thus, to enter December ready for battle, No-spend November can relieve the guilt from the ‘treat yourself, it’s Christmas’ attitude that will take away all reason and sensibility from your spending. But maybe it can also install some perspective of what is a ‘need’ in our daily lives, setting better habits where our biggest enemy is ourselves at the mercy of a capitalist ‘more more more’ society. On that note, Merry saving and have a happy full purse!
Image Credit: Pixnio