STUDENTS are asking for “practical” presents this Christmas as the cost-of-living crisis bites, including electric blankets, money towards energy bills and even toilet roll.
A poll of 1,000 undergraduates found they would much prefer everyday essentials rather than designer clothes and shoes this year.
And with 51 per cent feeling the pinch of the cost-of-living crisis, 49 per cent would rather have shampoo and tins of food bought for them, so they don’t spend the money on it themselves.
Others intend to ask loved ones to gift them underwear, bath products and hot water bottles.
However, 33 per cent are still hoping for an average of four expensive gifts from their parents this Christmas.
Alex Gallagher, chief strategy officer at UNiDAYS, which commissioned the research, said: “Priorities are changing for many students this year.
“With prices rising, asking for those more practical presents for Christmas provides students with financial peace of mind – as they won’t have to fork out for essential items themselves.
“Money is understandably tight, so it’s important that we help support cash-strapped students and give back to them over the festive season, so they can have the best experience possible.
“To help, we are sharing ‘Affordable Gift Guides’ on Instagram so members can get the best offers for their most-shopped Christmas categories – from electronics to clothing.”
The study also found a quarter of students plan to buy fewer presents for their friends and family this year compared to last.
Most read in Money
And while 38 per cent feel relieved at the thought of buying less, 37 per cent feel sad about it, while 25 per cent feel embarrassed.
PRACTICAL PRESENTS STUDENTS ARE ASKING FOR THIS CHRISTMAS
1. Laptop bag
2. Shampoo and conditioner
7. Stationery and planners
8. Study textbooks
10. Cosy jumpers
11. Cleaning products
12. Winter coat
13. Money towards mobile phone bill or contract
15. A dressing gown
16. Hair dryer
18. Bath products
19. A speaker or headset
20. Money towards energy bills
22. General study supplies
23. An air fryer
26. Electric blankets
27. Hot water bottle
28. Toilet roll
30. Money for rent and other bills
31. Money towards car insurance or rail card
32. Desk lamp
33. Normal blankets
35. Kitchen items e.g. pots and pans
37. Storage solutions
39. Voucher for supermarket
40. Prescription glasses
But 31 per cent have had to be more frugal with their spending since the cost of living crisis, with 47 per cent dreading Christmas because they don’t know how they’re going to afford it.
As a result, 29 per cent now class some items they used to see as ordinary essentials as more of a luxury since the price increases.
Food prices, petrol prices and bills are the top three things that have surprised students the most following the increases.
But it’s not just Christmas that has been affected, with a third claiming the cost of living crisis has had a negative impact on their university experience in some way.
And of those who took part in the study, via OnePoll, 73 per cent said they already work two part time jobs alongside their studies.
The spokesperson for UNiDAYS added: “There is no doubt that the word on Gen Z’s lips is ‘value’, and UK students will be particularly determined bargain hunters this holiday season.
“Despite their financial concerns, the holiday spirit is still going strong with students taking savvy measures to complete their Christmas gift lists, proactively seeking discounts to help make the things they want and need more affordable, as shown in our recent Holiday Report.
“You can still celebrate Christmas on a budget and there are lots of discounts out there that are available exclusively to students and graduates.
“So, it’s now more important than ever to make the most of these offers that are available, especially at this time of year.”
FESTIVE MONEY-SAVING TIPS
To help students and graduates have the best and most affordable Christmas experience possible, UNiDAYS has partnered with financial expert Ellie Austin-Williams from This Girl Talks Money to share her top money-saving tips and gifting inspiration for a fun, yet cost-effective Christmas.
Shop second hand gifts The best thing about shopping second hand? It’s far more sustainable for the environment than purchasing new items, and it can often save you money. Upcycling, regifting and reusing items is good for the planet, so shopping second hand for gifts can be a great way forward.
Get crafty Are you skilled in the kitchen, or a keen craftsperson? If you’ve got a creative side, make homemade treats to gift to your nearest and dearest this year. Whether you bake some mince pies or pour homemade candles, you’ll score points for the thought and effort as well as delivering unique gifts that, quite frankly, money can’t buy.
Make the most of student discounts Before you hit the stores, whether you’re shopping online or in person, don’t forget to make the most of your student discount, if eligible. Whatever your budget, your student discount can save you some valuable cash and you’ll be surprised how many retailers offer a discount. Even if it isn’t advertised, don’t forget to ask at the checkout and you might be surprised.
Give the gift of time Stressed out family members? For anyone short on time – in particular, anyone with small children – why not create a handmade voucher and give the gift of time? Offering to babysit can feel like the best present in the world to tired parents, plus it costs you absolutely nothing. Get some popcorn in, put on a film, and gift your family or friends a rare night off.
Organise a Secret Santa Organising a family-wide Secret Santa is a great idea to make Christmas more affordable for everyone. Collectively decide on a budget that suits all involved. That way, you know each person will get a gift of equal value and you can relax in the knowledge that you only have to buy one gift.
Compare to save Whenever you’re buying branded gifts, go online and carry out a price comparison before you head to the checkout. It’s easy to default to buying from the same retailer, but you might be missing out on discounts from other stores. Use Google Shopping to search and find the best price available right now, and don’t forget to check for additional student discounts that might be available too.
Use cashback when you shop You might not believe it, but you really can get paid for doing your Christmas shopping! Earning cashback when you shop is a great way to save. Simply set up an account, choose your retailer and when you complete your purchase, the cashback site will share the commission they earn with you and pay into your account.
Have festive fun with friends One of the best parts of Christmas is spending time with friends, but the costs can spiral when you head out for dinner and drinks with multiple friendship groups during the winter months. Get savvy and organise to EITHER go out for festive activities OR buy gifts for one another this year, instead of doing both.