Money Saving Tips For The Vacation

someone wrapping Christmas presents

With the Christmas and Winter holiday fast approaching, it is all too easy to spend too much money whether that be it on food, winter clothing, heating, gifts for family and friends or festive decorations. In this blog we will provide you with some tips and tricks for managing your budget and saving money over the holiday period.  


Your biggest spend for the holiday period may be on gifts, especially if you have lots of friends and family to buy for. It’s important to remember that the spirit of the holidays is spending time with loved ones and that it’s the thought that counts.

Perhaps try to DIY/craft your presents to make them more personal this will be less costly, and it will show the thought and consideration that went into making it. For example, you could try a small crotchet project, knit a scarf, make a small animal out of felt, create some ornaments for the tree, paint on some wooden decorations or mugs, cook/bake some festive recipes etc.

Another approach would be to discuss Secret Santa for larger groups, as this means you still share the experience of gift-giving, but do not have to buy each person a gift. As the cost of living is rising, many of your friends and family may be in the same boat and might appreciate the suggestion.


Decorations for the holiday may also end up costing a lot of money, especially as many people have a large tree, plenty of ornaments, tinsel etc but you don’t have to spend loads on festive decorations.

DIYs and small craft projects can feel more personal and unique, especially if you make them with friends and family to create a fun experience and memories. You could decorate with small pompoms, make paper/felt garlands and light some candles to set the atmosphere. A simple yet effective decoration is putting up some warm coloured or rainbow fairy lights that you can find for cheap on Amazon or most supermarkets.


You don’t always need to go out during the holiday to enjoy the festive season. As the days are shorter and the weather is colder, it’s the perfect time to have a cosy night in, either alone or with friends or family. You could play some board games, watch winter movies, host a book club or curl up alone with a good book.

Another activity that you could try is cooking and baking winter recipes. Decorating bakery items can also be a fun and festive activity that is creative and relaxing. This can also help you cut down on food costs instead of eating out, and make your house or room smell delicious and feel warmer. Instead of going to a coffee shop, try to make your own hot drinks and decorate with plenty of whipped cream, festive spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) and chocolate/caramel drizzle.

If you enjoy going out, you can visit the town centre to just admire the winter decorations such as the large tree or the magical sparkling lights by the river. It’s always nice to see things in person and feel that winter magic and hear the holiday music. You can also take walks around the neighbourhood to see what decorations people have up, this will allow your to be more active. You can spend this time reflecting, listening to music or have friends or family accompany you.


Travel may be another large cost during this time of the year. You can aim to reduce the cost by either walking or cycling more. This will also allow you to enjoy the winter scenery, it keeps you healthy and active, and warms you up.

If this is not feasible, try to take a look at what travel passes may cut down costs for you, and find Student Discounts. Reading Buses offers plenty of deals for students which is helpful if you’re staying in Reading.

If you need winter essentials, such as some warmer clothing items, you can try to shop second-hand and thrift items as this is cheaper (and more sustainable) than buying new things.

Finally, if you want to make a bit of money, and are staying in Reading, you can try to find some Campus Jobs for the University on the Campus Jobs Website, or find a paid winter Internship using the Reading Internship Scheme. If you’re going home, it might be useful to see if any shops are hiring during the winter holiday period.  

The winter holidays are a time where consumerism is heavily promoted and this can make people feel as though they need to spend a lot to enjoy the festivities. However, it is important to remember that the spirit of the holiday is to spend time with loved ones (friends and family), and relax after a stressful exam period. Things such as making DIYs/crafts, cooking/baking, having nights in, socialising and putting on some winter music (for a festive atmosphere) doesn’t need to be expensive.

Find some warm and cosy winter recipes to enjoy with friends and family, discuss with friends/family what gift-giving options you would like to partake in, and try to make a budget looking up ahead for the whole month. To get yourself in the winter mood, you can also look up some DIYs/crafts on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram for inspiration.  

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