Budgeting for Christmas as a College Student

Budgeting for Christmas as a College Student

Its going to be easier than you think!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The malls, Target, and Walmart are all filling with Christmas decorations. Companies are already advertising for Black Friday. Even though I believe society might have forgot about Thanksgiving. With the sign of Christmas near, its officially time to start thinking about what you plan to get all your loved ones for Christmas.

It seems like it should be a lot of fun- but when your bank account is low, it can make Christmas shopping miserable. As a college student myself, this is one of the biggest struggles I face when the holiday season sneaks up, so that's why this year I’m budgeting for Christmas! Yes I said it! I am not going to just buy exactly what I think people may want, no matter the price tag-I am going to make sure I follow a strict budget. Which is going to be terribly difficult, because I am a BIG Christmas giver (which is obvious in picture below). Having said that, I am going to key you in on some of my secret Christmas shopping tips-so that when you get home on Christmas Break you will have plenty of money in the bank to actually enjoy your whole month off of classes!

  1. Figure out who you are buying for:

For myself personally, I am in charge of purchasing for my entire family plus my boyfriends family(minus his dad and brother, because he likes shopping for them). So for me knowing how many people I will need to purchase for, is extremely important for the next few steps.

2. Start a budget for each person:

Your budgets may vary depending on the person. For example, my brother wants one thing but my boyfriend NEEDS more than just one thing, so I give him a bit more of a budget than I did for my little brother.

Also, think about what people have asked for in the past. I have some people on my list that ask for more expensive things, whereas I have some people on my list who just want ONE big thing!

You also need to be prepared for the little things that come up when budgeting for Christmas, for example the dreaded secret Santa's. It's inevitable that once a holiday season there will be one secret Santa you are apart of-so make sure that you budget accordingly.

TIP: Making homemade Christmas gifts, which I highly recommend if you’re crafty, needs to be budgeted for as well. Even though it's cheaper, it's still not free to do at-home crafts!

3. Make a list for each person or get a list from each person:

This will help you keep on track and make sure you do not veer away from your budget. Every time you purchase something-check it off the list. Once you make your initial list, do not add anything to it, unless it's within budget. For example, if you are done with all of your mom's gifts and then she tells you on December 8th that she would really love this one thing for Christmas-do not feel guilty and do not go buy it. It seems like every year I get everything finished, and then everyone that didn't give me a list starts having request that they didn't voice before. Don't give in. Whatever you bought for them originally will be great. Feel free to go return what you already purchased. But do not purchase what mom wanted on top of what you already bought her.

4. Shop Early:

Shopping Christmas Eve will cause you nothing but frustration and to spend more money! Therefore, I recommend shopping as early as possible! I purchased my first Christmas present in August. When you shop early, it helps spread the cost out over an extended amount of time. For me, it's easiest to purchase something for someone each paycheck-so I don't feel the pain all at once!

5. Don’t give into temptation:

If you're shopping closer to the holidays and you’re finished with everyone on your list; and you find something you think a friend/family cannot live without-don't give in! Just step back and think about how wonderful it's going to feel when you actually have money after Christmas, instead of pinching pennies!

Just remember the biggest part of Christmas budgeting is not giving into temptation! I hope with these five steps you can work with me to achieve the goal of not being broke after Christmas. Just remember we're in this together. Once we graduate we will be able to buy the biggest and brightest Christmas gifts once we have our ‘big kid jobs!’

Cover Image Credit: Elizabeth Miller

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.

Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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10 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Is Especially Awesome Around The Holidays

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.


A date for looking at Christmas lights is on the top of the list, for sure.

1. You have someone to do all of the activities with

He's like your built-in partner for everything. Wanna watch a movie? Take a nap? Need someone to help you clean your room? You've got your person.

2. You can steal his hoodies when its chilly outside

It doesn't even have to be cold for you to want to. Chances are its a size or two bigger than you need and his cologne is all over it.

3. Chances are he's more willing to drive in the snow than you are 

Guys typically have a little more of a heavy duty vehicle. If you've got a good man, he might even rescue you an hour away in a blizzard if you think you're tougher than the weather.

4. Christmas movie partner!!

Do I need to add more?

5. He can always keep you warm

Bear hugs. Cuddles. His trucks dual air 90 degree heat on your side. He'll find a way to keep you warm.

6. Your family holiday events partner

Multiple Thanksgivings and Christmas' are a breeze with your favorite person by your side. Plus, no one to ask you where your plus one is or why you're single.

7. Matching Christmas pajamas

I don't know about you, but my family has matching Christmas jammies every year. You can even get your favorite person in on them too for a cute insta picture.

8. Your errand running partner

He's your built-in Christmas shopping partner so you aren't bored standing in line forever or while you're still shopping and he can act as your place holder.

9. You aren't the only single one in your family on Christmas Eve anymore. 

It's awkward when all of your siblings are taking pictures with their others, but when you've found your person, you can do all the same things, including looking forward to your new year's kiss.

10. Making more memories

No better time of the year than Winter break to make all the memories with your honey freezing in the weather or sweating by the fireplace.

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