How to manage Christmas when you have student loan debt

student loan debt christmasToday’s guest post comes to us from Phil Bradford, a personal finance enthusiast with a passion for helping people with their money problems.

Getting headaches due to your Christmas budget and student loan debt? No more!

First, you can enroll in student loan debt relief programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, or Forgiveness with Income-Based Payment. It will help you to get rid of the burdensome student loan debt so that you can handle your Christmas shopping.

If this doesn’t help you, take a look at these ideas to save money on Christmas shopping while continuing to repay your student loan debt.

How to manage Christmas while repaying student loan debt

1. Cut down the gift list

First of all, slash your gift list to minimum. Since money is limited, try to limit your expenses. No one has sworn you to buy them gifts. So, keep it minimal. Buy gifts for your immediate family members and friends. If you can’t purchase gifts, inform your loved ones about it beforehand. Tell them that you can’t exchange gifts this year. I’m sure they’ll understand your problem.

2. Prepare a budget

If you haven’t set aside money for Christmas, don’t panic. Instead, cool down and take a close look at your wallet. Check out how you can manage your Christmas shopping without hurting your necessary expenses like paying utility bills, student loan debts, and grocery shopping.

3. Prioritize your shopping list

Once you have made the budget, divide your shopping list on the priority basis. Keep those gifts on the top that are very important, and those at the bottom which are not so vital. It will help you to figure out which gifts you should buy first; if you don’t have money, you can skip the less important ones.

4. Write down your gift list

Have you managed to take out some dollars for your Christmas gifts? If so, then make a list of the names along with the budgeted amount that you want to spend on each person. Moreover, jot down what gifts you want to give to each family member.

5. Homemade gifts are the best

Ahead of hitting the stores, check out if you can make something on your own. Homemade gifts always have that special touch, which will make your loved ones more happy. And it will make your pocket super happy. If you’re wondering what homemade gifts to make, check these out:

Teacup candles
Chalkboard mug
Homemade cookies and chocolates
Organic Chapstick
Homemade body butter
Homespun mobile and ipad covers
Handcrafted earrings

For more ideas, check out Pinterest or simply Google your thoughts. You’ll get a bunch of them.

6. Give gift cards

When you’re in a monetary crisis, gift cards are the best presents that you can give your loved ones. Go to Amazon or Ebay (or any other shopping portals that you like), purchase a gift card within your budget and give it to your friends, family or relatives. The best part is that they can buy what they like.

7. Give group presents

Don’t let money ruin your Christmas shopping. It’s okay if you have a student loan debt. Rather than crying over spilled milk, try to shop smart. Instead of giving individual gifts, shop for group gifts. Purchase something that can be used and enjoyed collectively like a tasty dish you made, handmade photo frames, or movie DVDs.

8. Spend quality time with your loved ones

Your time is the most excellent gift that you can present to your family or friends. So, this Christmas, instead of giving material gifts, spend quality time with your parents and loved ones. I’m sure they will cherish this gift of yours more than any physical present. If you can’t take out time for your family, this is the best time to show your love to them. And this won’t hurt your pocketbook.

These Christmas shopping and gifting ideas are perfect for your pocket. But, if you face further issues while handling your Christmas shopping along with your student loan debt, get advice on debt consolidation immediately. Debt consolidation can help, especially if you have private student loans along with other bills to pay, making it easier for you to manage your multiple bills with ease.

Phil Bradford is a financial web enthusiast. He is a regular contributor to He is also a reporter at His passion for helping people who’re stuck in financial problems has earned him recognition and honor in the industry. Besides writing financial articles, he loves to travel and cook. Questions? He can be reached at philbradford91 @

10 thoughts on “How to manage Christmas when you have student loan debt

  1. My family has definitely tried to cut down on the number of gifts we are giving. Each year we give a few less and it’s exciting to see the headway we are making with getting everyone on board. Student loans is definitely a contributing reason to us wanting to give less!

    1. I think, no matter what your financial situation, cutting back on the number of gifts is a good idea. Not only does it ease the financial burden, but the overall stress level. I like that it allows me to focus more on time spent with family.

  2. Christmas time is always a difficult time when it comes to paying off debt and trying to prioritize gifts.

    I’ve always had fun participating in white elephant exchanges stealing presents. That has always provided a ton of entertainment for me while low costs, we’ve normally done $20 or less, which has cut down on the number of presents I’ve had to buy for others and allowed me to allocate money in different ways.

    1. I actually really like white elephant gift exchanges! It is sooo entertaining to me. 🙂

  3. Great tips. I love the idea of homemade gifts (especially cards). I actually hadn’t thought about making chocolate and cookies to give out…I hope I get some this year now haha!

    1. Homemade gifts are the best. We received homemade wine, cookies and salsa from a friend last year. We polished it all off in 2 days – delicious! 🙂

  4. The day I paid off the last of my student debt was one of the happiest of my life! These tips are pretty great for anyone, actually. My sisters and I opted to have a special night out together instead of giving each other and our husbands gifts. Our husbands are not invited to our night out though. But too bad, it’s the women that get stuck buying most of the gifts!

    1. I love the idea for a night out instead of gifts, Linda! How fun! At least for the girls… 😉

  5. I often find that when we give gift cards we spend more than we would on another gift because 1) we often find a sale or a coupon, and 2) we want the card amount to be substantial.
    This is silly, though, because people can pool those gift cards, and there’s no obligation or standard for gift-giving or it isn’t truly a gift at all, just another requirement like a bill.

    We spent years trying to get our families to stop buying us gifts (we didn’t want or need what they usually chose) and finally succeeded! Not having to deal with this clutter is sometimes the best gift!

    1. I used to feel that way about gift cards too, but I give as low as $10 cards away now (usually to Amazon) because, like you said, I figure the recipient can pool cards or add a little money to get what they want or need. I guess I’d rather get a gift card than a gift I don’t need. We will get gift cards to the home improvement store from my in-laws this year – which we can always put to good use!

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