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Student Money Surveys

Christmas costs the average student £161

Christmas is an expensive time for most people in the UK, and according to our survey, students are planning to spend an average total of £161 on the festivities this year.

hand holding bag of presents

Credit: nito – Shutterstock

A survey by Save the Student* has revealed that students are set to spend a whopping £161 on Christmas this year.

While the figure is still less than a third of the national consumer average (most notably because the majority of students do not have to pay for a whole family Christmas) but, of course, the majority of students only have their loan to rely on.

In fact, eight out of 10 students surveyed said that they struggle to find the money but feel the pressure to spend more than they can afford during the festive period.

The average student plans to buy gifts for six people, totalling an eye-watering average of £108. One in five thinks they’ll spend over £200 on others, with 70% being spent on family and the remainder on friends from university and home.

There is also a divide between the sexes. Female students tend to buy more presents for friends and spend 25% more on gifts than male students.

At the more extreme end of the spectrum, one female respondent to the survey is gearing up to spend over £400 Christmas gifts alone this year, £160 of that being on other students (which is more than some plan to spend in total).

The seasonal spending doesn't end there. Students are set to delve into their accounts for an additional £53, putting £8.50 towards flat Christmas dinners and the rest mostly on booze, decorations and getting home for the holidays.

Less than half of students said that they saved for the festive period, with a quarter admitting to receiving additional help from their parents.

Save the Student's student money expert, Jake Butler, said:

jake butlerIt’s not much of a surprise that students find money hard to come by at this time of year. Student Loans are running dry at a time when students feel the pressure to buy presents and attend countless Christmas parties.

Money saving ideas such as Secret Santa, joint Christmas dinners and homemade decorations are just a few of the ways that students have been resourceful this year in curbing overspending around the festive period.

As always, I would encourage students to think carefully before spending large amounts of money, without being too much of a Scrooge of course!

Of course, if you are really worried about the cost of Christmas then Save the Student is here to help you. The best place to start would be with our Christmas gift ideas and Christmas budgeting article, full of tips for students on how to save money during this time of year.

And we wish you a Merry Christmas, however much you end up spending!

Spending big this Christmas? Check out these money-saving New Year's resolutions and get your finances back in order.

* We surveyed 830 current university students in December 2013.

Owen Burek


Owen is the founder of Save the Student, the leading student money website he started in 2007. He's passionate about educating young people about personal finance and ways to make extra money. Owen has appeared on BBC News and writes for major publications including The Guardian, Entrepreneur and HuffPost.
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