Celebrating the Holidays with Student Debt

The holidays are a time of joy and giving, but for many of us managing student loan repayments, it can also be a season of financial stress. In fact, 28% of Gen Z and millennials say student loan repayments will make the holidays unaffordable this year, but we’re here to offer hope.

With a bit of planning, creativity, and focus on what truly matters to you this season, it’s possible to find holiday cheer without breaking the bank. Here are some practical tips to help you get started:

Craft a mindful holiday budget

Determine how much you can comfortably spend without affecting your essential expenses, like student loan payments. Once you have a set amount, prioritization is key, especially with a limited budget. Decide what's most important to you this holiday season. For instance, if visiting family is at the top of your list, you might need to scale back on other expenses like elaborate decorations or extravagant gifts. This approach keeps your spending in check and ensures that your money is spent on what brings you the most joy and value during the holidays. Read more on budgeting with student loan debt.

Embrace the magic of DIY

There's something incredibly heartwarming about handmade gifts and decorations. They're not just kind to your wallet, but they also add a personal touch to your festivities. From crafting unique ornaments to baking delicious treats, these gifts often hold more sentimental value than anything you could buy in a store.

Plan a fun gift exchange

Organize a gift exchange or Secret Santa with your friends and family. This way, you buy one meaningful gift within a set budget instead of multiple presents. It’s a fun way to ensure everyone receives something special!

Hunt for deals and redeem rewards

Keep an eye out for holiday and end-of-year sales! If you've accumulated credit card points throughout the year, this could be the perfect time to redeem them for gifts, travel discounts, or even cashback.

Enjoy free holiday events

Many communities offer free holiday events like light displays, Christmas markets, and carol singing. These events can be a great way to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit without spending a dime. Discover festive events and things to do in your community by exploring Facebook Events, Eventbrite, or Nextdoor – there’s something for everyone!

Host or attend a potluck

Hosting a holiday dinner can be a significant expense. Why not turn it into a cost-effective potluck? Inviting each guest to bring their favorite dish will lessen the financial load of hosting and create a feast filled with a diverse array of delicious treats. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy a variety of flavors while fostering a sense of community and sharing.

Start planning ahead for next year

Once this holiday season wraps up, start planning for the next. Setting aside a small monthly amount for a holiday fund can take a lot of pressure off your wallet next year.

We make it easy to save up for the holidays with our Savings* tool in Online Banking. To add a new goal, go to Accounts > Savings Goals. Set a target date and start adding money each month!

*Only savings accounts are eligible for setting up a savings goal.