How to answer the big holiday question

Dog on a couch wearing a Santa hat
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It’s that time of the year again. The pumpkin spice lattes are flowing, ornaments are covering store shelves, and people everywhere are starting to ask the question: What do you want for Christmas?

Does your mind instantly go blank too? Getting called on in class at 8 a.m. is easier than answering that question - especially when your brain is already crammed full of stuff to remember for midterms, and your place is just plain crammed full of stuff.

Who really needs more stuff, anyway? Everyone knows life is all about experiences. Experiences make us happier than things; science says so. They’re unique, they’re social and they stay shiny longer. They also make great stories and snaps.

Unfortunately, living on a student budget can seriously limit the types of experiences you can afford. So the next time your parents pop the question: Ask for experiences.

Here are a few ideas:

Gas card. Want to take a road trip for spring break? A gas card could help fund your adventure.

Concert tix. We all remember an epic show. Check your concert finder for upcoming must-sees, and let your parents know which groups you’d love to see.

Movie card. Secure your seat at the big releases this year. A movie card comes in handy when you need a night out but don’t want burden your budget.    

Trip fund. Backpacking across Europe. Ziplining in New Zealand. Street food in Thailand. Whatever your dream trip is, your parents could help you save for it by starting a Holiday/Tax Savings account for your trip fund.

TV or music subscription. Save on entertainment by asking your parents to foot the bill for Hulu, Netflix, Spotify or any other paid services you can’t live without.

Season pass. Think about the things you do a lot. Or want to do more of. There’s probably a season pass or annual membership that could you save you tons of money. For example:

  • Annual parks pass (for day trips)
  • Season ski pass (for winter fun)
  • Amazon Prime (for free shipping and streaming)

Now that you’re ready for the big holiday question, you won’t have to worry about opening a bunch of gifts you don’t have space for. Instead, you can create some epic memories with your squad. 

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