It’s no secret that Christmas attracts a whole lot of festive food and treats. Often marked as a season of indulgence when it comes to food and drink, Christmas dinner can be one of the most expensive meals of the whole year. According to Kantar, even though food inflation has seen a slight decrease of 0.1% from November, shoppers are expected to have to spend an extra £60 in December to buy the same items they did last year.
So, how do you get a delicious Christmas dinner when you’re on a budget? We will guide you through the process in this blog!
Christmas Dinner Planning
This may seem like an obvious point, but planning what’s going to be served on your Christmas menu is an effective way of reducing spend across your festive food shop. Planning in advance according to the amount of guests you are hosting means you can tailor your shopping to the correct number of people without overspending.
If you know how many people are coming, you could even allocate certain people to bring specific items such as desserts, sauces, drinks and so on. This splits the expense up between guests and alleviates a little bit of financial burden of the hosting family. It also means your guests don’t have to turn up empty handed!
This plan could incorporate a Christmas food budget too, which would inevitably help you to monitor and track the amount of money spent on festive treats. Going into a Christmas food shop with no plan and no budget simply sounds like a recipe for a December disaster! For advice on budgeting, you can check out our handy guide here.
Buying your Christmas Dinner
Opting for more budget-friendly supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl is a fantastic way of reducing your Christmas food shopping. Especially at this time of year, there are numerous special festive items at great prices, meaning you do not have to compromise on getting all your favourite wintery treats at lower prices. Starting your Christmas food shop early also means you can spread the cost over a few weeks, rather than being hugely out of pocket all on one day.
If you’re wanting to reduce your spend even more, choosing unbranded items instead of branded is a simple but effective way of saving money. More often than not, you won’t be able to notice a significant difference in quality. If there are a few things that you love which are branded (we all have our few favourites), you can still enjoy the things you love when you opt for unbranded choices in other areas.
For Christmas dinner items such as vegetables, there are many ways you can save money. Most supermarkets now have the choice of ‘wonky’ vegetables, which refers to produce which is deemed a little misshapen and out of the ordinary. These choices are usually a lot cheaper than ‘standard’ vegetables, and therefore will help you in your bid to save a few pennies. More shoppers are also buying frozen and tinned vegetables which are much cheaper than the fresh alternatives and of course, they last much longer than fresh produce.
Another surefire way to save your money on your Christmas food is by looking for the yellow reduced label on products. You can still get bargains on delicious food for a fraction of the price. Make sure to look out for the expiration date and whether it can be frozen before you purchase, as you want to ensure your products can still be consumed by the time you want to dig into them.
Cooking your Christmas Dinner
Once you’ve stocked up on all your Christmas goodies, it’s time to get cooking! Being organised when you’re cooking up a storm is essential to keeping electricity and gas costs low. If you’re set on using your oven, make sure you put all your items in as close as you can to one another. This way, you’re reducing the amount of time your oven is running and therefore reducing the overall gas usage.
If you have one, you could use an airfryer which has been proven to massively decrease cooking costs. According to Utilita, air fryers on average cost 14p a day to run and are one of the cheapest kitchen appliances you can use for cooking. You can use them for your Christmas turkey, your vegetables and so much more.
Similarly, microwaves are also much cheaper to run in comparison to a gas/electric hob or oven. Even more cost-effective than air fryers, microwaves are fantastic alternatives for vegetables without spending a fortune.
What’s more, is that you can make a conscious effort to make use of any leftovers from Christmas day. Whether you plan on simply making your leftovers into a soup, or construct them into a Boxing day sandwich, there are many ways you can ensure food is not wasted. And the best bit is, you won’t have to think about what you’re going to have for tea!
Your Christmas dinner should not have to break the bank, so make sure to follow our handy tips to keep festive costs low. Many of these tips can be used throughout the course of the year too, so they’re not just for Christmastime. If you’re currently struggling with the cost of living and have fallen into debt, please contact our friendly team today or use our free debt advice tool.