Winter break can prove to be expensive, as traveling, giving gifts and activities with friends and family tend to add up. As a student, every bit of saving is an advantage that we often forget to appreciate. So in order to celebrate the end of the semester and beginning of the new year, here are seven tips on how to save money over break.

1. Set a holiday budget.

Determine how much you're willing to spend in total in preparation for and during winter break. The best way to reasonably set up a budget is to make a list of everything you'll be spending money on before you start a shopping spree. Will you be paying to travel back home? Are you planning on gifting everyone you know? These types of decisions will help you to visualize the amount of money you may end up spending and allow you time to set a budget to prevent any unnecessary purchases.

2. Pick up a seasonal job.

Extra income during winter break can make a big difference for a college student. Seasonal jobs are offered in abundance in almost any town during the winter months. Whether you choose to take a position in your college town for a few weeks before heading home or work during the break, this can be a great option for some extra cash. Besides, you may need an excuse to escape your family for a little bit!

3. Carpool home with classmates.

Traveling can come at a ridiculous cost. Airplane tickets can be ridiculously priced and so can paying to gas up your car on the trek home, and even bus or train tickets can get expensive. A great option would be to carpool with some friends who have a similar destination and split the gas price. Also, if you split the drive, everyone can sneak in a long winter's nap!

4. DIY gifts and decor.

If you love gifting during the holidays or splurging on decor, it can be hard to cut costs. However, decorating your home with winter cheer or spreading love to family and friends can still be accomplished. There are plenty of low-cost DIY tips and tricks you can use to create some amazing crafts. The Internet is a friend when it comes to DIY and it is heartwarming to give a handmade gift.

5. Choose free or low-cost winter activities.

This season has so much to offer activity-wise, but some of these activities come at a cost. Ice-skating, for instance, can be pricey when you take into consideration shoe rental and admission fees. Therefore, find some fun alternatives like driving around to look at lights or visiting a winter flea market.

6. Take advantage of sales!

Black Friday isn't the only sale at the end of the year. With the number of people purchasing in December, companies are bound to offer some incredible deals. Just make sure to research thoroughly in order to get your money's worth from your shopping spree. This is an activity that might utilize that graphing calculator for something other than calculus.

7. Turn to thrift shopping to get a new holiday party outfit.

There are so many reasons to party during winter break, like the end of semester celebrations, holiday get-togethers and New Year's Eve (NYE) festivities. It can be tempting to drop money on a sparkly new dress for NYE or a cute ugly sweater, but new doesn't have to mean full price from the store! Thrift shops offer unique pieces that you can add to articles of clothing you already own, creating fun and seasonally-appropriate outfits. You'll likely be saving more than half of the money you would have in stores, not to mention, you won't be caught wearing the same thing as another attendee. 

While the holidays can be stressful and seem like a money pit, there are plenty of ways to celebrate without breaking the bank. Before even breaking out the wallet, make sure you know what you're willing to spend and how it may affect your bank account for next semester. Don't forget that having fun doesn't require spending money.

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